As someone that very rarely makes decisions based on emotions as opposed to logic, I was shocked at my decision to get a puppy. Yes, I had some encouragement from my longtime girlfriend, but in the end, I came around to the idea and got her. I had never realized the amount of joy that a fluffy little puppy can bring to your life. How am I to take care of something when I can barely take care of myself? This new family member made me reevaluate my life and refocus on the simple things that I found myself often overlooking. Having something to eat, being excited to meet new people, spending time with those you love, and reconnecting with the outdoors are just a few examples. The amount of excitement in this puppy when doing any of these things is absolutely infectious.
Being Grateful for Each Meal
Every day in the United States, most people never have to question whether or not they will be able to eat dinner that night. This is something that is taken for granted by everyone lucky enough not to worry. This dog absolutely loses her mind with excitement, bounding about as soon as she hears the first piece of kibble hit her stainless steel food bowl. Eating is something that people take for granted every single day, and yet, none of us get this excited to eat, even if we are about to enjoy our favorite meal.
Meeting New People
Being outgoing and meeting new people is neither something an introvert like me has been excited about nor naturally good at. And yet, every time my dog sees someone in the distance, she stops dead in her tracks and stares at them. She then sits down wagging her tail ferociously as she waits for them to come greet her. The pure joy that this dog exhibits when meeting new people is something that I have never felt. Maybe it is time I put myself out there and force myself to interact with those around me more often than just when I am forced to. As a Millennial, I feel as though stepping away from our screens and social media to actually meet real people in the flesh is something we all should spend more time doing. Less Facebook and Tinder and more meeting people in the flesh.
Spending Precious Time with Those We Love
In addition to the importance of meeting new people, all of us should take more time out of our busy lives to spend time with those we love. This may come as a shock to a lot of Millennials out there but our parents do really want the best for us. If nothing else, they want us to succeed; but they also want to spend more time with you. My dog taught me the value of staying home most nights and that spending time with loved ones is much more fulfilling than going out partying and wasting money on copious amounts of alcohol so we end up not even remembering the night. What you will remember when you are older and inevitably at the funeral for your loved ones, are the times you spent with them. Bonding with the ones you love is one of the most rewarding experiences that you can have in your life. I thought I learned that lesson when my family experienced several tragic deaths of some family members at a relatively young age yet I seemed to have drifted away from that mindset only to have my dog bring me back home.
Reconnecting with the Outdoors
Another key aspect of my life that my dog has instilled in me is my love and appreciation for the outdoors. Millennials more than any other generation spend more time on video games, social media, and other various indoor activities as opposed to spending time outside. Seeing how much my dog appreciates the crisp air of an autumn morning is enough to make me want to go outside more. This is coming from someone that enjoys hunting and fishing. But, like most, I spend too much of my time inside slouched over a computer desk or sitting and aimlessly scrolling through social media on my internet connected smart phone. All it takes is one look at my dog sitting up on the couch watching the birds in the trees out the window to make me want to take her outside. The world is our playground. We should take care of it and respect it of course, but we should definitely take more time to admire its beauty. It will do the mind, body and soul a whole world of good.
As someone that really never wanted to care for a dog at this point in my life, I can say that it has been one of the best decisions I have made. Not only is she tons of fun to play and run around with, but the emotional and psychological benefits are the best part about having her and something that I completely overlooked. Since bringing her into my life she has taught me and reminded me of the blessing it is to have food to eat, how rewarding it is to meet new people, how important it is to spend time with those who mean the most to you, and reminded me once again of how much good the outdoors provides to the mind, body, and soul. I never thought that such a simple creature could provide such remarkable benefits to an advanced species like a human, but I can safely say that the decision to bring her into my life is among the best decisions I will ever be lucky enough to have made.