5 Lessons in Happiness from My Dog

Happy International Happiness Day! This is a preamble into an upcoming article on hacking happiness with actual numbers and charts and graphs.

And, as always, this is also an excuse to show off adorable dog pictures:

Fluffster wearing tie

Fluffster is the embodiment of happiness; his life exists in caps locks. Every new person he meets is AMAZING and his NEW BEST FRIEND. Each new toy is his new FAVORITEST TOY IN THE WHOLE WIDE WORLD.

The thing is, humans are super similar to dogs in sometimes scary ways (we’re not as rational as we think we are), and you can learn a ton about your own nature through a furry best friend.

(1) Keep your loved ones close, and FORGET ABOUT YOUR ENEMIES.

Fluffster is not the most socially adept dog when it comes to other canines, and some dogs feel super intimidated by an 80+ pound dog, even when several of those pounds are fluff, leading them to lash out at him in fits of barking.

The best thing to do when a chihuahua is in your grill? Shake it off (I’m 90% sure Taylor Swift stole that line from Fluffster). Fluffster never dwells on the negative; he keeps walking and ignores it, turning to his humans for comfort.

Never let the insane barking of some stuck up chihuahua define your self-worth. Move on and seek comfort in your friends and family.

(2) WALKIES ARE AWESOME and should happen more often.

Incorporating even a small amount of light, physical exercise does wonders for happiness. As someone who does not have typical brain chemistry, life can be a struggle. Sometimes it’s difficult to even force myself to take a shower and practice self-care in general.

I have never regretted going for a walk. Especially with this face:

(3) Variety is THE BEST THING EVER, and it doesn’t even have to be expensive.

While Fluffster keeps very good care of all of his plush dependents, he is not subtle about who his favorites are. There’s this phenomenon we call “new straw,” from Temple Grandin’s book Animals Make Us Human. Pigs LOVE new straw, but old straw is BORING.

Fluffster’s new toys are *almost* as exciting as noms, whereas his old toys are mundane. The thing is, he’s not that picky. A new toy made out of rags or bought at Goodwill for $1 is just as exciting as a $20 toy bought new at the pet store. Plus, if we hide some toys when he’s not looking, weeks later, they’re like-new again!

Clearly it’s time for Mr. Lobster to go on vacation

It can be easy to think spending lots of money on new technology or furnishings will make life INSTANTLY BETTER, but the reality is, it’s more than likely just newย straw that will get very boring over time. If you’re on a budget, find smaller ways to seek out novelty, like going to different parks or finding free activities like town movie nights. Or really simple, even just limit spending on things like eating out so that when you do spend money, you get so much more out of the experience.

(4) There is always time for CUDDLES.

It’s almost a point of pride to be too busy for things. Life is fast-paced and stressful.

And yet — Fluffster never lets us use any excuses. Cuddles are mandatory.

Always take time for cuddles. Everyone needs to feel loved. Reach out to those who make you glad to be alive and give them a hug, even if it has to be a virtual one.

(5) OMG YOU HAVE NOMS AND A ROOF OVER YOUR HEAD. YOUR LIFE IS AWESOME.

Fluffster was surrendered ten pounds underweight. He had heartworm, ย whipworm, and tapeworm. His legs were arthritic and covered in mats. Less than a year after we adopted him, he gotย bloat and had to undergo emergency surgery. He’s had a hard life, and he still finds joy in ever stranger’s pet, at any ounce of attention.

Every day he makes us smile. Many days he makes us groan when he reminds us of (4) and we’re trying to do work, but he always makes us smile. This is a dog that has been severely neglected, a dog that’s still fighting arthritis in his old age, yet he still acts like a puppy.

Every time we feel sad or down, we just look at this face:

Know that you are loved, that you have worth, and take care of yourself. As Fluffster would say, “HUMAN! PET ME! WAIT — IS THAT NOMS??”

He’s always had a way with words.

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20 thoughts on “5 Lessons in Happiness from My Dog

  1. Ahhh this is such a heart warming, uplifting blog. I think we should all channel our inner dog more often, we’d be a much happier society!

    • Awww, thanks so much!

      I swear it’s impossible to be as happy or as confident as my dog (and of course I’m not biased at all…).

      Happy International Happiness Day! May you be surrounded by puppies.

    • He rotates his toys by himself?? That is adorable. <3

      Fluffster is against the unlawful incarceration of plushies and will free them all to live their lives in the wild, strewn randomly across the floor, preferably in the middle of a walkway. XD

    • Awww I’m sure your doggos were very appreciative. ^_^

      Fluffster is very happy with his current arrangement as well — even though he is of the opinion that he definitely needs more noms.

      Thanks for reading and commenting. ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. Aww, I love this! We have two SPCA dogs and they are the light of our lives. Not quite as smart as Seamus to rotate toys of their own – I still have to pick them up and put them away (so they don’t get too bored), in order for them to come get the ones they want!

  3. Holy cow, those pictures of your dogs are adorable! Why are dogs so funny? I’m totally with you on each of these points. See things from a dog’s perspective and you’ll realize how good you’ve really got it.

    • Thank you! He’s such a good dog. ๐Ÿ™‚

      I think they’re probably so funny because we try to put human emotion and feelings behind their actions (haha, see evidence in the above post ^^). One of my favorite things is to ascribe puppy logic to humans in a similar way — best way to get rid of road rage. “Yes, puppy, you must always be first. Yes, good for you, you made it to the red light. Well done — are you happy now?” XD

  4. I’ve always wanted a dog, but unfortunately my lifestyle has never allowed it. I travel a lot for work, and over the past year I’ve lived in 3 different countries!
    On a sidenote, I think huskies are awesome. Especially the ones with pure white fur.

    • You definitely don’t want to commit to raising a dog if your schedule is busy like that. 3 countries in one year?? Wow. If you ever do settle down in one location and have more free time, senior dogs are pretty awesome, plus there’s less of an overall time commitment. ๐Ÿถ

      Huskies are so adorable! I mean, obviously not as adorable as Fluffster, but still pretty good. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    • Aww, thanks for reading and commenting! Fluffster is indeed a great teacher of life lessons. Haha, when he’s not trying to eat random things on the ground that is.

  5. I miss having a dog.. @looks at wife’s cat with somewhat disdain@

    Those are good lessons regardless of the source liking to drool. The variety one is especially important. We actually do this with the kids. We cycle out old toys for a while and when we bring them back it’s like a new toy.

    • Thanks for reading and commenting!

      So apparently ragdoll cats are very dog-like? Could be a middle ground possibility. ๐Ÿ˜ธ

      I love that toy rotation works with children as well! Haha, and of course your phrasing about drool sources.

  6. Excellent post! My Baxter is known locally as “the therapy dog” because he has helped so many of our friends and family members. He always knows when to calm us down, he insists on cuddles and walkies on a regular basis, and he is just so adorable that we can’t help but smile when we see his big brown eyes and his bushy eyebrows! We should definitely take lessons in life from our canine companions.

    https://spookymrsgreen.com/2014/04/04/atozchallenge-delightful-doggy-distractions/

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