Saturday, December 4, 2021

Lessons From a Dog



Laurie Kasperbauer

You may have heard the expression, “Everything you need to know you learned in Kindergarten.” Simple concepts like share everything and play fair. Don’t take things that aren’t yours, and wash your hands before you eat.

How about clean up your own mess? Imagine how that one simple rule could alter the landscape and affect the human connection? If each of us, individually, were accountable for our own mess (AKA actions)?

In my household alone, especially when the kids were growing up, abiding by that aphorism would have resulted in greater harmony. I agree with Robert Fulghum, the author of these kindergarten quotes, but I have something I’d like to add. What I didn’t learn in Kindergarten, I have learned from my dog.

Yes, I am a “dog person.” I have always had a dog. Rowdy and Sambo and Russell and Georgie. Growing up we didn’t have just dogs; we had hamsters and rabbits and kittens and baby squirrels and turtles and snakes and salamanders too. If it wandered into the yard and I could catch it, it was a pet. They were all pets, until Mocha.

Mocha came to me via my daughter, who asked her landlord if she could have a dog AFTER she had the dog. Rather than give up her residence, our daughter relinquished the puppy, and Mocha was mine — a chocolate brown cock-a-poo with big brown eyes and the ability to use them to her advantage.

Needless to say, Mocha went from puppyhood to my constant companion faster than you can say “spoiled dog.” We go on walks nearly every day. She lays at my

Mocha, my four-legged teacher. SUBMITTED PHOTO

Mocha, my four-legged teacher. SUBMITTED PHOTO

feet when I’m at my computer. She sits just beyond my triangular-patterned grid when I’m working in the kitchen. And when I head for the couch at night with a book or my iPad, she snuggles tight up against me, with a big sigh and a look that says, “Sit. Stay.”

Mocha is nine years old now, and although I have been her “master” and done my best to train her, I believe that what SHE has taught ME exceeds any lessons of obedience she may have acquired. For example:

1. When you’re tired, rest. Just stop and call it a day before you get growlie.

2. A walk outside every day makes me happy. I like the sun on my face and the breeze at my back. It doesn’t have to be a marathon, and when it’s really hot, find a shady pathway.

3. Always stretch when you wake up in the morning. Nothing beats a “downward dog” or a gentle child’s pose to start the day.

4. If you’re happy to see someone walk through the door, let them know it!

5. If you like the way it smells, take a good, long whiff.

6. Jump at every opportunity to do ANYTHING!

7. A belly rub and a back scratch are equally satisfying.

8. You can be friendly to everyone, but not everyone is your friend.

9. If you’ve done something well, reward yourself with a treat .

10. Love unconditionally, and you will, in turn, be loved.


Laurie Kasperbauer is an active Florida Realtor specializing in properties in Naples and Marco Island. Laurie also enjoys the spiritual and physical benefits of yoga practice and instructs both group and private classes.

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