1. Explore. Pierogi has the energy of a pack of dogs combined, which became the perfect excuse for us to get out and explore our neighborhood and beyond. For us to get moving was a win in so many ways.
2. Check my patience. Puppies be puppies, is what I repeatedly reminded myself as Pierogi worked through potty training and teething. He more than tested my patience at times, but having a sense of humor about a certain dog wetting the bed at 2 am helped.
3. Enjoy the present. Back when we were in puppy school, every week, we would arrive to class and a friend would remark about how much Pierogi had grown since the last week. It was harder for me to notice his growth since we kind of live together :), but the comments always stuck with me and prompted me to want to snuggle with him a little longer, whenever we had the chance.
4. Look up, down and all around. You know that dogs have super senses and so there's little that can pass by our furry friends without them noticing. Observing Pierogi react to ants marching on the sidewalk, leaves scratching across the street or the sound of a school bell ringing in the distance got me to notice our surroundings in a new way.
5. Laugh until it hurt! What's more entertaining than watching a dog chase his tail? How about a dog in a Statue of Liberty costume? Have you ever witnessed a dog make his bed? Without knowing it, Pierogi made me laugh countless times until tears streamed down my face!
6. Let go of perfection. Dogs rarely care about perfection, unless of course bacon is involved, in which case they would prefer that it be cooked to a perfect crisp. Other than that, dogs don't mind if you never make it out of your pajamas or whether the chocolate chip cookies are consistently shaped. Adopting their low-judgement mentality was a wonderful reminder that not every detail has to be perfect.
7. Socialize. Pierogi is a social butterfly. He always insists on greeting everyone in his path and it became a fun way to meet others and to hear their stories. Everyone loves talking about their pet - it's the best ice breaker.
8. Unwind. Most nights, our little guy is the first one in bed. Mike and I aren't the best at adhering to a consistent bedtime, so seeing Pierogi nestled between our pillows always motivated me to log out for the day.
9. Take breaks. Along the lines of #8, Pierogi got me to take more frequent breaks. Whether it was a few laps around the neighborhood or a game of fetch, it was refreshing to pause with him.
10. Celebrate the seasons...even more. I've always been enthusiastic about celebrations, but having Pierogi by my side made those occasions (see here, here, here and here to name a few) even more fun!
11. Spread the love. Dogs are forward when they want to show affection, especially Pierogi - he could wash your face clean. His constant puppy kisses were another important reminder to spread the love and as often as possible.
12. Face fears. I've always been amazed by Pierogi's fearlessness. As a puppy, shots were a breeze, fireworks don't really phase him and recently something prickly became stuck in his paw and he just wanted to quietly lick it out. However, every once in a while, something will briefly stun him - like walking on an unfamiliar surface (city sidewalk grates) or walking past a billowing holiday blow up (it was just Santa :), but once he gets over the initial shock, he proudly pushes forward. To me, he proved that facing fears is the way to go - even if you must run through them :)
13. Feel the wind. Life is better with the windows rolled down.
14. Keep it simple. To Pierogi, life is good with a new toy, but nothing quite beats a favorite toy. So, whenever I was doubting whatever decision, I liked to think of Pierogi and remembered to keep it simple and go with what I knew would be a winner.
15. Be bold. Pierogi would illustrate this one by saying that if you want something in the store, just start chewing on it. If you follow the spirit of his advice (and nothing more), there's a lot of wisdom there - if you want something, just go after it!
16. Enjoy the dog days. Really, he made every day worth it :)
How did you ring in the New Year? Are you one for resolutions?
Woof! (Hey, there!) Pierogi, Gilly and Sarah here. Thanks for stopping by our dog blog. We're a little dog-obsessed around here and Pierogi & Co. is all about inspiring you to enjoy the dog days. Because life's more fun with your best (furry) friend by your side. So grab a bone and follow along as we stop to sniff the flowers...