How Dogs Teach Us About Love

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Hey ladies, here’s the good news – the perfect fella DOES exist!

The bad news (for you, anyway) is that he’s all mine and we’ve been living together in domestic bliss for the last nine years.

Jaffy is half Collie, half Labrador – and a total inspiration. While we humans frequently look to friends, the internet or self-help books for guidance, dogs instinctively “get it”. When we slow our busy lives down long enough to tune into their wavelength and observe them, they can teach us some valuable lessons.

Here’s a selection of some of the things Jaffy’s taught me about love, relationships and getting the most out of life:

Give people your full attention

You know that amazing feeling when someone you love’s completely focused on you? It makes you go all warm and fuzzy inside; there’s nothing quite like it. Dogs are brilliant at that. Even when I’m saying something undeniably dull (“must get some more milk later”), Jaffy looks into my eyes and listens as though it’s a fascinating pearl of wisdom.

Live in the present

Jaffy doesn’t worry about whether his future’s going to match his expectations. In fact he probably doesn’t have any expectations. And he certainly doesn’t waste time worrying about past mistakes (does he even remember chewing up the landline and disappearing for three hours at 2am?). Nope – he’s too busy enjoying the here and now.

Stay centred

Of course this is so much easier said than done. But Jaffy manages it. I’d give anything to have even a fraction of his emotional consistency. He lets people know he loves them and never sulks if he doesn’t get his way. Or worry there’s something wrong with him if his beloved doesn’t feel like playing.

Be true to yourself

He couldn’t care less about trying to be cool, mysterious or hard to get. He’s just… Jaffy. If we pretend to be something that we’re not, then how can we be authentic in our relationships? And how can we be sure that someone loves us for who we really are – flaws and all?

Don’t be afraid to unleash your inner puppy

When Jaffy’s happy he wants to share it with everyone. Big grin all over his face, eyes shining, tail wagging so hard he can’t keep still. It makes us all smile with him. And he doesn’t care how daft he looks rolling down the hill on his back with his mouth wide open. It’s fun, so why not do it?

Know when it’s time to move on

If someone’s not interested in Jaffy (how dare they?!), he’ll move on to a more receptive person or else have a dignified lie-down in his basket. He doesn’t obsess about how to win their love. He knows there’s no need to beg anyone to like him.

Don’t judge

Jaffy treats me exactly the same whether I’m glammed up for a night out, slobbing around in ancient jeans, or something in between. The “packaging” doesn’t make any difference to him; he knows I’m still the same person inside.

You don’t need to “fix” people who are going through a tough time

Jaffy always senses if I’m feeling down. He doesn’t assume it’s his fault or try to fix me. He just snuggles up close, reassuring me with a paw and a pair of velvety brown eyes that everything will be ok. Often that’s all we need when things get difficult – to know that someone’s quietly and unconditionally there for us.

When life’s complicated, dogs show us how to get back on track again. Do we look after ourselves in the way we look after them? Do we make sure that we eat quality food, get lots of fresh air and exercise, drink plenty of water and sleep when we’re tired? Those deceptively simple actions can make all the difference to how we view the world.