Everything I Know About Love I Learned From My Dog

Dog Love Lessons

Today is a pretty big day in all of our lives because it’s Chuck’s 10th birthday! Chuck came into my life as I was just starting my second year of college. My sister decided she wanted to get a dog and when I went with her I just couldn’t resist the tiny gold floof running into everything. We’ve lived in 7 apartments and 3 states together. He had a brief period (3 years) of living at his country house with his grandparents while I was traveling for work. We’ve gone on road trips and airplanes together. No matter what, Chuck is always up for it as long as we’re together.

Chuck completely changed my life when I found him. Part of me is glad I didn’t have a dog until I was living on my own because it was like we got to figure out how this whole “keep another being alive” thing together. Having a dog or any pet teaches you a lot about yourself. Chuck has taught me how to relax more, how to appreciate the little things, and that you’ll have to Google a lot of weird stuff. But most importantly, Chuck taught me everything about how to love someone else unconditionally.

Forgive without hesitation

Chuck has been known to tear up the occasional bathroom trashcan full of Kleenex. And it always drives me insane. After I yell at him for two seconds he runs to his dog bed to hide. Five minutes later he’s in my face giving me kisses to say he’s sorry and of course I forgive him because he’s perfect and I love him.

Instead of holding on to a grudge (which I may be known to do but only about deeply petty things), it’s so much easier to let some things go. Just pick your battles and learn to forgive immediately when they ask. And also ask for forgiveness by kissing all over someone’s face and bringing them a stuffed giraffe.

Pay more attention to the people you love

It doesn’t matter how long I’ve been gone, the second I walk in the door Chuck is all over me. He’s so happy to see me, or anyone he loves come home. When was the last time you showed how excited you were to see someone? Hug your friends when you see them, kiss your person when they come home for work, and maybe demand treats for such a good greeting.

Be loyal

Dogs are the most loyal pets, I mean that’s kind of what their marketing team goes all in on. But Chuck loves all of his people. He has never met a stranger, but has a keen sense of when someone isn’t looking out for my best interest. Dogs are faithful and committed to your relationship no matter what. They always look out for your emotional needs before their own. And it’s your job to look out for theirs before your own.

In any relationship, I think loyalty is like #1 on the list right? You expect your partner to be on your side no matter what.  If someone isn’t meeting your needs, it’s easy to just move on. People cheat because they’re selfish and put their wants first. Love is easy, relationships are hard work. Loyalty should be a given and it’s one of the qualities you should value most in people. I think it’s important to be clear that your people are my people and your enemies are my enemies.

dog love lessons

It isn’t just about you

If you’ve been single for a while it’s easy to forget that you aren’t actually #1 for everything. Having a dog makes you completely responsible for another thing’s happiness. Chuck’s whole life is dependent on me: when he gets walks, when he gets dinner, when he gets playtime. I’m in charge of his happiness.

You’re also in charge of your partner’s happiness. Everyone has needs and it’s your job to make sure they’re fulfilled whether it’s date night, helping with little things at home, or just spending more time simply being together.

There’s no such thing as too many kisses

I mean… no explanation needed.

How much you actually can love

I’ve never been in romantic love but after 10 years with Chuck I feel like I know more about unconditional love than I could have imagined. We’ve never been able to talk to each other, but somehow we just understand each other. Having a dog makes you realize that literally nothing they do wrong will ever change how much you love them.

I feel genuinely grateful every single day that I get to be Chuck’s human and he gets to be my dog. Lately when people have asked how old Chuck is, they are shocked to find out he’s 10. Then it’s inevitably followed by “how long do Morkies lives?” Morkies (and all dogs) live as long as they live. I know logically that my time with Chuck is finite. But so is all of our time. Our job is to make the most of our time while we have it.

So we go to the park every day, we buy too many treats, and we kiss on the face too much.

XO – Tracy