When I met Capri eleven years ago, she was a skinny, flea-ridden puppy without a home. She was just a puppy, maybe four months old. We didn’t know where she came from, but it was obvious that she had been neglected and probably hadn’t eaten in several days. Whatever sad condition this little puppy had been living in was not reflected in her expression or her wagging tail as she bounced around in excitement. What was she so happy about?
You see, Capri wasn't thinking about her life's hardships or ruminating on how difficult her life has been. She was in the moment meeting me for the first time and taking in all the sights, sounds, and smells around her.
Needless to say I kept that boney, flea-ridden pup. Today she is a beautiful, loving companion and she is very spoiled. Just by watching her and being with her, I have learned a few things about mindfulness in my daily life.
1. Be Present
Capri lives her life moment to moment. When she is hungry she eats but she isn't worried about how much she is eating or how she looks or when her next meal will be. When she needs something in the moment she requests it (like bathroom breaks).
2. Come To Your Senses
My favorite lesson from my dog is when she sits outside basking in the sun. It always reminds me to take a moment and breathe. I watch her as she sits quietly looking around, wiggling her nose and smelling all the scents around her, and just taking in her environment. She is content just to be in the moment.
3. Acceptance Without Judgment
Just like us humans, my dog experiences physical pain, fear, and other painful feelings and sensations. I have seen her experience strong pain. She tore the MCL in her knee, which is the equivalent of an ACL in a human, and had to have knee surgery about 2 years ago. She was in pain and would whine to my husband and me. But after some pain medications and subsequent surgery she was fine. She didn't fear walking, she didn't think about it. She didn't hold on to her pain and create more suffering for herself.
Our pets experience things in the moment whether they are good or bad. They can teach us how to live life fully present. So take a moment today and look at your dog, cat, parakeet, or prairie dog and be present with them. You may learn some beautiful and valuable lessons from these incredibly wise souls.
Written by Monti Pal, LPC-Intern
About Our Blog
Here you will find articles contributed by members of our team. We hope to provide helpful information here to inspire mindful living and general wellness. The information provided here is not a substitue for professional mental health advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you need to speak to a professional regarding your mental health, please make an appointment.