While growing up, a majority of our bedtime stories used to be about animals. They also carried a meaningful life lesson almost always. While brave lions, wise elephants and clever foxes were the usual protagonists, even the perseverant spiders and laborious ants could be the hero sometimes. Though as grownups, we could doubt the authenticity of these stories, we know for sure that animals have their own category of abilities and instinct. Those of us who have pets understand that they are intelligent in their own capacity and we could learn a lot of valuable skills from them.
In a society where we keep dogs, cats, fish, birds and sometimes reptiles as pets, there is a lot to learn from them. Some of these valuable lessons are:
1. Happy always
Pets are an incredible source of joy. They are happy creatures by nature and do not hesitate to show their happiness. Dogs and even cats sometimes show their immense joy by cuddling, licking, jumping and dancing. If you are a pet owner, you get a firsthand experience of this.
2. Living in the present
You will know this if you have ever thrown a ball for a dog to fetch. They are focused at the present moment and give it their one hundred percent, without worrying about what they were doing earlier or what comes next.
Patience is a virtue which is seldom seen in the modern people. Animals have the innate knowledge that everything has to run a natural course and it takes its own time. They know how to wait patiently. It is a lesson worth learning from our pets.
4. Selfless and unconditional love
History is strewn with legends of unconditional love that pets give. Have you heard the story of Hachiko? He was a Japanese dog who waited for his master everyday for nine years after the master’s death. Hachiko’s story of true love and loyalty is alive in the form of books, movies, statues and folklore. This is only one example. Every dog owner has their own stories of love to tell.
5. Purity of emotions
Animals do not pretend. They show what they feel, whether it is happiness, sadness, anger, irritation or pain. Lying and hiding feelings are primarily human tendencies which beget many complications. We should try to learn to be true with our emotions from animals.
Dogs are known to be great team players. This value is apparent in them as shepherds, police dogs, guide dogs, sled dogs, farm watch dogs etc. Many other animals live in herds in wild and work as a team. This is an important quality to be learnt from pets as it makes us more sociable and productive.
7. Friends first
For dogs, friends come before self. They are totally devoted and focused to the master’s word. Maybe you are throwing a stick just for fun or giving them exercise, dogs think it is an important mission that they have to do perfectly each time, because you want so.
8. Hopes before worries
Pets are a source of positive emotions. Rather than worrying about food, they would hope for a treat. Rather than being sad at your absence, they will be happy at your return. This positivity makes life worthwhile. If you are ever feeling low, consult your pet on how to feel better. Their company will surely help you achieve a positive state of mind.
9. Save for a rainy day
Dogs have a habit of burying their most prized treats and savouring them later at a more opportune time. Other animals collect food for bad weather too. This is the basic instinct of saving for a rainy day. It is an important skill that we all should learn from animals.
10. Follow your instinct
As civilised people, we often ignore the inner voice and do what is socially agreeable under various kinds of pressures. This might often result in undesirable outcomes. We should learn from animals to follow our guts and anything will hardly ever go wrong.
11. Know your priorities
Knowing how to prioritise is a great gift that our pets have. While a human being can easily be confused between two choices, dogs and other pets always know what they want and make their choices as soon as the moment arrives. Ever seen a dog mulling over whether to have food or go out? I don’t think so.
12. Survival instinct over ego
Questions of our status or image often figure while making decisions. We might often wonder what will people say, or do we look good. The innate instinct of survival takes the centre stage in animals while deciding to do something. If your dog wants something, it will let you know by barking, begging, dancing or by other methods. It will not stop and think once about its image in your eyes. It knows that it does not matter.