Thursday, 21 June 2018

What Life Lessons My Dog, Harley, Has Taught Me

Growing up I had cats, believe it or not, so never really knew much about dogs. Harley is my first dog and I am pretty proud of how she has turned out, despite our trials and whatever life throws our way, I know I do whatever it takes to give her the best possible life she can have.

Afterall that is what having a dog is all about, they give unconditionally and we should give back just as much, if not more! Over the past 4 and bit years, I have learned so much from her and thought I would share some of that with you.

You can't be selfish.

It is true dogs aren't children, they are by no means the same. That being said for some people they are substitutes and in some respects, they are basically babies that grow into infants and never grow up past that point.

They are a dependant at the end of the day, sure you can leave them for a period of time, I am lucky enough that Harley is happy to be left during my workday. She doesn't have separation anxiety, however, I would never leave her any longer than a 'normal' work day and always make sure she is cared for if I do have plans past that period of time.

They cannot walk themselves, feed themselves or understand why you have gone where you have. So she has taught me a great deal of responsibility and understanding.

Trust wisely. 

I have used to trust too freely, letting in the worst kinds of people into my life, only to be let down or have it destroyed, over and over again. Since having Harley I have a greater understanding of the saying, 'The more time I spend with my Dog the more I hate people'.

I know that probably sounds a little extreme, but it is true, dogs are a very good judge of character. There is generally a good reason for them to dislike someone, they can pick up on body language we wouldn't ever think to look for.

Don't always be serious, have a play. 

We are all guilty of taking life too seriously, forgetting to let loose. A dog's life is always fun and games, even when I try to do serious tasks in obedience with her. She seems to make it silly and fun, heel walking for instance, instead of walking nicely by my side. She chooses to bounce along, jumping to sit by my side and always choosing to collide into me on recall.

I never get mad, I always laugh. It probably makes it worse and eggs her on, but why take life seriously. It should be fun, you need to take what you can and as long as they are doing what you say, what does it matter if they are putting their own spin on it. They have personalities too.

The great outdoors is your friend.

Having a dog makes you go outside, if you weren't one for walking before, then you will be once you have a dog.

I used to like taking a casual stroll every now and again, but I never used to be into fitness, not really. Now I love to go on adventures. Finding new places to walk and run, come rain or shine, we are out.

I have a strong Gag reflex.

I was never really squeamish before Harley came along, but the thought of someone throwing up on me or wiping up diarrhea that has spread almost everywhere; did kind of make me gag.

It wasn't until Harley threw up on my lap and I had to scoop my t-shirt up, like a bowl and carefully carry it to the bathroom to dispose of it, that I realised I had a strong gag reflex. This has been tested time and time again, from when she was a small puppy to even now. Coming home and finding diarrhea trailed along the floor, or having to pull dangling poo/grass from her bum when she has been to the toilet and can't quite get the last bit out.

Trust me you will learn a lot about yourself, especially if you have a dog like mine. That's not forgetting all the times she has cut and grazed herself, with blood gushing out....

Being persistent really does pay off. 

I have always been stubborn so I never really understood how this could have changed for me, but somehow Harley has managed to learn, that she really can get what she wants if she just persists.

Every night at around 8pm she gets up off the sofa, where she has been cuddled up to me and stands there staring at me. Proceeding to stand by the living room door, to come back to me and repeat staring at me, all until I go to bed. Never mind the fact that she can go up to bed by herself, she has free reign, but no I have to go.

It's these little acts that really make you think, she has me wrapped around her little 'finger' (paw I dunno), but here is where she has learned persistence!

The true bonds and connections in life. 

I don't think I ever truly understood what it meant to have an actual meaningful connection before Harley, yes I know that sounds a little sad. Sure I have had long-term boyfriends that I thought I loved and friends that I would call sisters, but honestly, the bond you share with a canine companion is second to none.

They are beyond loyal and will always have your back, no matter what. Their pack mentality means that they have a connection to you that cannot be broken or replaced, should anyone try to hurt a member of your pack they will defend you. Whenever we are out Harley is always watching me, her surroundings and keeping an eye out for any danger.

It will be A-Okay!

She reminds me every day that it will all be okay in the end. No matter how bad your day has been, you know that, as soon as you walk through your front door, you will be greeted with so much elation and love. She brings a smile to my face even when I am in the worst mood possible, bounding her way to me, tail wagging, acting as though I have left her for a million years!!!

When I am feeling low, she somehow knows it and comes to me, wanting to give me cuddles and affection. You will never be truly alone when you have a companion like that.

Always forgive and forget.

We as the human race are very unforgiving by nature, we hold grudges and cause havoc in doing so. In most cases, dogs forgive and forget, unless it was something serious, like another dog attacking them or someone attacking.

When, very rarely, I do tell Harley off, she might mope for a short period of time, but then she will forget all about it and come to me. All smiles, bounding, wanting fuss and cuddles. It's a lesson I have still yet to use to it's fullest, but it's one I have started to use none the less.

I forgive myself, forgive my shortcomings and forgive others shortcomings even though we no longer speak.

Love know's no bounds!

If there's one thing I never thought I would learn from a pet it's that I never knew I could love someone so much. Yes I know she isn't a PERSON, but she is my fur baby, I love her immensely. I have loved and lost before. Friends and boyfriends come and go, but children (in some respects) are for life.

I do not know what it is like to love an actual child, and I don't know if I ever will, but I know that Harley has shown me what it is to truly love unconditionally.

Jeans: H&M
Trainers: Ugg
Bag: Olympus 
Shirt: Lipsy
Belt: Primark
Harleys Harness: Ruffwear

Always be kind, you never know what personal battle people are fighting.



  1. Aww, Harley looks gorgeous, and such a character, just like my Baxter! I have two children, and I can assure you, once you have a dog, you are prepared for anything. They are challenging and rewarding all at the same time. Thanks for sharing your experience :)

    1. Thank you for reassuring me that having a dog can prepare you for anything, your Baxter looks so cute. He looks just as tolerant as harley with his glasses on :).


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