It’s been a sad week since Happy Dingo went to sleep for his final rest this week, but I’ve been trying to focus on the good things and the happy memories. While walking Stella this morning – still with Happy’s leash in hand, as I’ve been doing all week – I started thinking about how Happy Dingo lived his life with such vigor and enthusiasm that he was a model for how we humans could live our lives and be happier, each and every day.
So here’s a list of 10 Life Lessons I Learned from My Dog, Happy, which I think anyone can benefit from:
- Live life with enthusiasm. Jen and I often said Happy had two speeds: Stop and go. If he wasn’t relaxing, as he so loved to do, he was on the go, running from one place to the next with enthusiasm, from waking up in the morning to going for walks to supervising the morning preparation of vittles (he was the Vittle Supervisor).
- Give love. Happy had so much love to give, he was always by someone’s side. Whether he lived with you or had just met you for the first time, he was there to shower you with affection.
- Receive love. Happy was just as eager to have his head scratched or his belly rubbed as he was to dole out the licks.
- Be loyal. Happy took being a member of the pack very seriously. He was fiercely loyal to his people and to Stella. He hated being alone, and a more loyal dog was hard to find.
- Be yourself. This little dog had a big personality and he wasn’t afraid to show it. If his enthusiasm and affection were overbearing for one person, he’d just move on to the next person to share the love. He’d lie down with his legs crossed, or on his back with his legs spread. He wasn’t shy and he wasn’t afraid to let his personality shine.
- Be comfortable. Happy loved cozy places and he sought them out. From his dog bed to human beds to the couch to the smallest patch of sun, Happy saw no reason not to be comfortable every day.
- Make new friends. This one speaks for itself. Our Ambassador to Humans was the first to greet anyone through the door, and he was always looking for a new friend. He understood the important things in life.
- Take charge. Happy Dingo was not one to sit idle if he was in an uncomfortable situation. If his leash fell underneath his arm on a walk, he’d stand up on his hind legs and flap his front arms to get the leash back to the side where he liked it. Likewise with walks: He had to be on my right side. If he wasn’t, he’d put himself in the proper place and ensure Stella was to his left.
- Spend time with loved ones. Happy didn’t like to be alone, and wanted to spend as many of his waking moments with the people and dog he loved. In the end, what else really matters? We never know when our last day will come.
- Run fast. This dog loved to run. And he ran like the wind. From zoomies around the yard to cruising with me on runs in his final years, nothing could slow Happy down. Even on his final morning when he could barely breathe and walk, he managed to get himself outside to the yard. What better way to feel alive than to run as fast as you can, pushing your body to its limit, feeling the wind against your face? To run fast is to feel alive. And Happy’s spirit lives on.
We could all learn a thing or two from Happy Dingo.
Photo by Niki Rossi