Lessons Learned From My Dog

This week’s blog is from Carolyn Lavin—my friend, a marketing professional extraordinaire, and fellow dog-lover.

Dogs have always had a lot to teach us; during the unusual times we find ourselves in today—in the midst of a pandemic—these lessons are particularly valuable. 

Thanks, Carolyn, for sharing how Webster is offering an example that improves your daily life and even gives a boost to your business.


Lessons Learned From My Dog

We just reached the one-year mark since we adopted our hound dog, Webster (named for the dictionary). Dog aficionados call this anniversary the “Gotcha Day,” we have learned. He has brought so much joy to our household and is keeping us mentally and physically healthy as we navigate the chaotic world of COVID-19. He has also taught us some important lessons.

1. Overcoming adversity is possible, and giving kindness every day makes life worthwhile.

Webster appears to have a compelling life story, from what we can piece together. It is likely he grew up in a laboratory as a research animal; he has a number tattooed on his ear. Via some only-in-RI coincidences, we learned that he might have been part of a vet tech training program. 

Sadly but not surprisingly, our Webster was definitely depressed when he arrived. He was afraid to walk on dirt or grass, and did not utter a sound for two weeks; we feared his vocal cords had been removed. He did not like being on a leash – aka having something around his neck, no matter how loose – and he would routinely just sit all 27 pounds of himself down in the middle of the street like a tri-color kettlebell.

But he soon adapted and started to show his true and endearing personality, often dashing exuberantly around our yard, low to the ground in race-car mode with his floppy ears plastered back against his head. Today, he is all about giving and receiving affection, from his constant craving for tummy-rubs to his abundant licks to show us his love … often during my daily stretching routine on my yoga mat. He still freaks out during fireworks, thunder and lightning so this summer’s unending barrage of fireworks really sent him (and us) into a tailspin.

2. Take a breath and really enjoy the nature that surrounds you.

We are blessed to live on the border of a small, nature-filled recreation area with a forest-lined road for walking, as well as trails for hiking. That is where we have spent some of our best moments with Webster. Our early morning walks are deeply meditative for us and satisfying sniffing-fests for Webster. Our daytime adventures include greeting other dog-walkers and trail visitors for much needed socialization (for now, from a safe distance).

Webster has provided a respite from our busy lives and reinvigorated our appreciation of nature (think: deer, turtles, groundhogs, swans, Blue Heron, hawks). Together, we fought off the feelings of isolation during the winter doldrums. Today, amid the continuing pandemic, we continue to balance serious work commitments with gratitude for what’s literally in our backyard.

3. A dog can be a secret weapon for business success.

Webster is always a willing work-collaborator, listening to me think out loud, plan my day and organize the demands of my business. Our walks together are where I frequently have my greatest creative epiphanies.

Lucky for me, Webster has turned out to be a Zoom sensation, bringing smiles and even  softening some of my more intense clients with his presence. In fact, at the beginning of the pandemic, I saw a great cartoon titled: “Thoughts Of A Dog,” that illustrates this universal truth. It read: “The human has been working from home the last couple days and every so often, they let me participate in the video calls. All the other humans cheer when they see me. I am the only thing holding their company together.”

Now, one-year later, Webster is an essential part of the family and our steadfast companion. He is the sweetest little guy ever … even if he does come with a few idiosyncrasies and eccentricities. I guess this is why everyone I know who has a dog agrees with this observation: Dogs are vital to getting us through the disconcerting state of our current world.

Carolyn Lavin | Lavin Marketing Communications

PS: Interested in being a guest-blogger? Contact me.  

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