Life Lessons From Our Rescue Puppies

We recently adopted not one, but two, 10-week old puppies from an amazing local rescue organization. Leading up to this decision, I diligently read-up on the topic of adopting two puppies at once, particularly littermates. I can summarize the literature on this subject in exactly three words:

Don’t do it.

A few months in and admittedly still pretty far from an expert on the matter, I have to respectfully, and probably misguidedly, disagree. Even as an experienced educator, our puppies are teaching me things I didn’t know I needed to know about life and learning.

The experience of raising two pups together has been all-at-once entertaining, exhausting, and surprisingly enlightening. Here are the most unexpected lessons Spud and Sprout have taught us since joining our pack:

Every single second is an opportunity to learn something new.

You’ll never encounter anyone more curious than a new-to-the-world puppy – and there’s something truly magical about approaching each moment with a spirit of genuine wonder. Life is about exploring everything and everyone around you, and figuring out what and who really matters. (So far, what matters, is TREATS.) Stay curious, and you’re sure to live in a constant state of awe…Or just adopt a puppy, and you’re sure to live in a constant state of, “Awwwww!”

Happiness is simple.

“This is why we can’t have nice things” is something we say a lot around here now – but it’s also a good reminder to live simply. Puppies don’t need much to be happy – and neither do people. Their waggers go wild for the littlest things – refilling a bowl of food or water, the doorbell ringing, leaves blowing in the wind, or a familiar friend returning home after any absence of more than a minute. Tuck your luxury stuff away and find reasons to celebrate little joys every day!

Focus is overrat… SQUIRREL!

Sometimes good things happen when you stop whatever you’re doing and give chase to a wild animal – or an even wilder idea. If you focus too hard on one thing – all too often something negative – imagine all the good you’re missing. Giving in to occasional diversions and distractions can lead to such worthwhile discoveries. Take a brain break today and see where the wind blows you.

Life is better in a pack.

Having someone else who is always in on your schemes and down to help you empty the toy basket, cuddle up and snooze in the sun, or run circles around a tree makes life less lonely and more of an adventure. Especially in these times of social distancing and deep isolation, finding ways to reconnect is key. Rally your pack and go make some mischief!

If you want To Reach Someone, speak their language.

This one we learned from our puppy kindergarten trainer, who I’m pretty sure is actually training us. To our puppies, we will always be strange, unintelligible creatures who walk around on two legs and wear goofy outfits. No matter how hard we try to communicate in our own language, our puppies can’t understand us until we learn to “speak” in theirs. Dogs respond to consistent, firm commands that often have a physical vs. purely verbal element – tug on the leash, push their bottom down to sit, give a belly rub to show affection or a treat to convey praise, etc. Puppies genuinely want to please us, but we have to show them exactly what that takes. Are people any different? Too often we expect people in our lives to read our minds, but instead, we should be showing them how to treat us, and teaching them how to reach us – or better yet, asking others how we can connect with them in ways that will really resonate. Check out things like Whole Brain® Thinking or The 5 Love Languages® for human-friendly tools and strategies for better interpersonal communication!

There’s so much more I could share, but another thing I’ve learned is that when two puppies are out-of-sight and also quiet, it’s not usually good, so I’ve gotta go…

Happy wagging! For all the adorable puppy content, wholesome amateur comedy, and/or life-and-learning related reflection you can handle, give us a follow:

And make sure to check out Paws & Affect for fostering and adoption opportunities!