This is Lucy, our Goldendoodle. Before my husband and I had three children together, we had Lucy. At six years old, I’m told by the vet that we can now call her our “old girl” (technically in people years, she’s apparently 45, which I don’t think is old at all!) I absolutely love our dog.
Sunday night I walked into my bedroom to find Lucy had taken one of our twins’ bears, Paddington Bear to be exact, and curled up with him on our bed. This isn’t the first time she’s “borrowed” their stuffed animals to cuddle with either. Lucy has spent time with the Brave doll, a stuffed pig, a teddy bear that makes noise, and a Dream Lite Pillow Pet. As I stared at her, I started thinking first “how cute!” and second “she’s got something right here—Sunday nights are for cuddling and relaxing”. I immediately put my iPad away and started to pet her, reflecting on what she’s taught me in six short years.
Consistency is key.
Lucy is consistent. In the morning she has her routine and will wait by the door or the dog bowl until I fulfill my duty to her. She doesn’t growl at me or become impatient; she simply waits in the spot that triggers me to go “oh yes! Feed her and don’t forget her allergy pills!” Lucy is the same way, day to day, in how she greets me when I come home from wherever I may have been. She’s the same ol’ girl every day – I don’t have to guess “which Lucy will show up today?” I don’t have to wonder if she’s in a good mood or a bad mood. She shows me.
Greet people at the door.
Lucy greets me at the door. When she doesn’t, I panic a little because she’s consistent in her behavior. As leaders, we want to get the best opportunity with people for a meaningful exchange. Lucy shows me that it’s simple—welcome people warmly and enthusiastically at your work and your home.
Whether I give her food, her treat, her medicine or just a pat on the head, Lucy is grateful and she shows it by wagging her tail–it’s her way of saying “thanks, mom!” There’s no guesswork there. She has taught me to always take a moment of show my appreciation for what others do for me.
Lucy is a model of what contentment looks like. I sometimes wish I was like her and not a care in the world. All her needs are met, she shows gratitude for it, and she’s not searching for more than I can give her. She’s content with what she has. I can strive to be the same.
Be a good listener.
Lucy is the best listener in our house. I’ve noticed that often times when I just need someone to listen, their brains are actually constructing their next response/answer so that they can try to solve my problems. People make the assumption that the other person wants their problem solved. Lucy simply listens with an open heart, eyes, and ears without multi- tasking. The world needs more listening, less talking and problem solving.
When Lucy gets tired, she cuddles up on the couch (or my bed) and rests. She doesn’t go, go, go until all of her energy runs out and she simply can’t give anymore (and becomes crabby like I’ve seen people do). Instead, she knows her limits and cares for herself first so she can provide the best care for those around her. I think we can all learn from Lucy and stop to take care of ourselves when we need to.
Speak up when it’s important.
Lucy lets me know if she needs my attention and she’ll whine until I stop to help her (especially if it’s something important, like letting her out to go to the bathroom). It reminds me that there are times when we need something, or see something that needs attending, but hold onto our tongues and wait for “next time” or the perfect moment. There may never be the perfect moment. Sometimes, it is more important to call attention to what is needed, when it is needed, then to wait. There may not always be a next time.
What has your pet taught you about life?