Ollie teaches me so many things about living in a scary world. When I need time to recharge and evaluate my decisions, he is a great role model. I wrote Ten Things I Learn from Ollie and Therese Borchard, a friend and fellow blogger, asked to repost my article on her website, Beyond Blue. Ollie has no idea his picture has been seen by so many people. That's probably good, he might get a little freaked out.
1. It takes a lot of courage to 'come see' something that is scary. Even when someone you love and trust is telling you it's okay to come check it out. Even if it is something you've seen a million times and weren't scared before. You should always do a happy dance when you've done something brave.
2. It's frustrating when you know how to do something and someone else is still learning. You can either stay beside them and model the correct behavior or walk away. It's ok to do either, but not ok to interrupt the learning. Don't show off.
3. It's good to let the little ones win. It's okay if a four-pound teacup Pomeranian thinks he can beat you in tug of war. He gets self confidence. You get to play. It's a win-win.
4. Diversity in friends is good. You learn the best things about yourself when you have friends around you who think differently than you do. It stretches your mind as you figure out how to play with them. Some are threatened by you when you move fast. It's best to get on their level and move slowly. Some like to take care of you but don't really like it for you to take care of them. Be flexible and they will keep playing with you.
5. Help older friends. Visit them regularly. Wait for them to catch up without being impatient. Let them eat first. Just because they can't get up doesn't mean they don't want to play. Bring them the toys and they will play from their bed.
6. If someone you love won't get out of bed, bring them a ball. Wag your tail. Look happy. If they don't get out of bed, sometimes the best thing you can do is be quiet, lay down next to them, and let them cry on you. Then, try the ball again. Don't whine.
7. When friends are sick, sometimes they just need you to be there or spend the night by their side. It is comforting to have a friend close. Sometimes friends are too sick to let anyone know. If that is the case, whine until someone with more medical expertise listens.
8. When someone is breaking a big rule, try to tell them yourself to stop. If they don't listen, it's okay to let someone with more authority know. Especially if your friend might hurt themselves.
9. It's ok not to like something, but you have to try it first. And if you're creative, you can find a way to kind of like it. Swimming pools are a good example. If you don't like swimming, find a friend who does. He can go swimming and gets the ball to fetch. You take the ball from him at the edge of the pool and bring it to whoever is throwing.
10. When you think your patience is exhausted or the environment is too scary, take a deep breath then leave the room or go outside by yourself for a minute. Run around. Entertain yourself. Or take a nap. Then you will be able to interact with others and play again.
What life lessons do you learn from you furry friends?