How to Live Your Best Life: Lessons from My Pup

He was quite the pup!

We lost our beloved toy poodle Jasper on Wednesday night. He was 17. That’s 119 in human years! He knew how to live. I only wish I had petted him more and snuggled him more in the days leading up to his death. He passed in his sleep. On his favorite pillow. Near his momma’s bed. Here are some lessons he taught me.

  1. Be cute. It works. Look at people in cute ways to get what you want. Like chicken or bacon. Or to get picked up and put on the couch.
  2. Stick near people who take care of you. Avoid the ones who don’t. When you find those rare souls who look out for you, scratch your back, and stick with you through things like shots and doctor’s visits, keep them close. Look for them at the end of each day. Really appreciate them. Give them lots of kisses.
  3. Sit in the sunshine. Find that square of afternoon sunlight streaming into the room and bask in it. Soak up every ray. Revel in the warmth. The sunshine is everything.
  4. Chase what you want. Whether it’s rabbits, deer or a dream you have, go after it. You don’t get anything in life from avoiding the chase. No one will bring it to you, you’ve got to go get it yourself.
  5. Express your feelings. If someone is getting a gift and you’re not, stick your nose in. Let people know. You deserve to be treated well. Don’t stand for second best. Find those people you appreciate you and aren’t afraid to let you know it.
  6. When someone needs comforting, sit with them. Just the warmth from being nearby is comforting. No words needed, no judgements, just a physical presence. It takes so little to reassure someone else. Just let them know you are there.
  7. Play every day. Have fun with simplicity. Scrounge around the kitchen and find exciting morsels, bring your ball to play with your peeps, run gloriously. A little play every day keeps you young, and lets you live your best life.
  8. Be on guard. Make your bark big. When strange or new things appear and don’t make sense, warn others with your voice. Let them decide if it’s safe or not. Even if you’re little, you can still sound a warning.
  9. Get dirty. Life is short. Walk through the mud. Stop to smell the roses (or animal urine). Go on hikes. Hit the compost pile. Keep your senses up to par by letting yourself get into the nitty gritty.
  10. Eat what you want. It’s joy that matters. Bacon, chicken, whipped cream and ice cream. Enjoy things you love, in moderation of course.
  11. Be embarrassed when necessary. A little modesty keeps us in check. Did you have an accident? Own it and try to avoid it in the future. Get caught in the compost pile again? Act sorry. They might feel bad for you.
  12. Don’t give up. Can’t see? Use your sense of smell. Can’t hear? Still keep on keeping on. Pee every two hours? Simply ask to be let out every two hours. Need more love from your loved ones? Let them know. Continue to try. Continue to experience life in the ways you can. Play, snuggle, smell, eat well. Tired? Sleep. But don’t give up.
  13. Climb those stairs. Though you might be little, you are still fierce. You can do it. Even when unsure. How you ask? Just like anything else- one step at a time.
  14. Get comfy! Love a good pillow, a firm couch, a stuffy or two that’s just the right size for biting. Clothes that make you feel great. When you are physically comfortable, your spirit is at ease as well.
  15. Forgive. Love comes first. Forgive people who make mistakes, especially when they are doing it out from a place of integrity. Someone hurt you? Is it over? Let it go. Focus on joy instead.
Feel the wind in your hair!

I love you, Jasper. I am so grateful to have had you in my life for 17 wonderful years. So many wonderful memories. You still feel so close. The world isn’t as warm without you. Enjoy your well-earned frolic in doggie heaven.

Please tell me about your four-legged friends. My heart is yearning for more warm snuggly pet stories or belly-laugh-out-loud ones. Honor your loved ones- past or present and let me know your story in the comments.

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