Lessons from the dog

A smile. It’s amazing how a simple gesture can have a huge impact. It can affect a mood. It can turn a bad day into a better one. It can shift a mindset from negative to positive. It doesn’t cost anything, doesn’t take much effort and everyone can do it. So why bother writing a blog post about this?

Because we don’t smile enough. Did you know that children smile up to 400 times a day? And adults on average smile less than 20 times a day? I don’t know about you, but I’d guess my dog smiles more than all of us combined. And that’s a lesson we can learn from our furry canine friends.

I love coming home. Not just because it’s my space with my stuff and my family. But because there’s nothing more exciting than the greeting I get from my dogs. Whether I’ve been gone for 5 minutes, or all day, they are so happy to see me. And they let me know it! They squeal, they hug, they wag their tails, they jump up on me, they nudge me to pet them.

Even when I’m late and they’ve been left home alone for hours on end. It doesn’t matter if I’m in a bad mood and stomp in the door with anger. Or if I’m talking on the phone to someone else and ignore them. My coming home is probably the highlight of their day.

Can you image a world where we all greeted each other with the same enthusiasm? Ok, I don’t mean you need to lick each other’s faces. But come on, how much better would you feel if we all made eye contact and said hello with a smile instead of passing by and pretending we don’t exist? I bet I’d feel more confident, more energized, more enthusiastic.

Like so many folks, I’m in the habit of not smiling and saying hello when I pass people on the street. Thankfully my dogs aren’t as rude. They wag their tails at just about everyone. It’s neat to see the chain reaction and how this elicits a smile in return. That makes me feel good knowing they just made someone’s day.

Let's all make a better effort to smile more. We can start with baby steps - increase our smiles from just 20 a day to 30. Then 40, and 50 and so on. Smile especially when you don’t feel like it. Smile even if there’s no one around. Even if no one sees it, smiling is said to make ourselves feel better. And especially smile if it looks like someone is having a bad day.

I've never seen a dog in a bad mood, have you?  Think about it. Have you ever told a friend your dog woke up on the wrong side of the bed this morning? Or call your pooch a crabby patty? Or tell them to go chill out? Nope, me either. 

I'm going to make a commitment to greet people as though my tail is wagging. Won't you join me?   

Izzy.golden.retriever.forsythia.smile