July 10

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5 Life Lessons From Pepper the Toy Poodle

Morning walks are awesome. It's one of the ways that I recalibrate my physical and emotional well being. I always return from physical outings in the natural world refreshed and renewed, inspired and activated.

Sometimes I'll go for walks with my friends. Sometimes they bring their pets. That's Pepper in the picture above. He's a Toy Poodle and belongs to my friend, Andy. There's a certain sparkle to being in Pepper's company. He's so thrilled about everything. His utter and complete joy for natural environments makes him one of my favorite walking companions. His total enthusiasm for my company guarantees he's on the frequent flyer list.

I've known Pepper for about two years and in that time these are the 5 life lessons he's dispensed consistently:

1. Love Unconditionally. There's never a reason not to love. As a matter of fact love so over the top that love is your home frequency. No matter what mood I'm in, when Pepper sees me he loves me up. No holding back, no rules, no expectations.  Love… just because.

2. Forgive Everything. Pepper never holds it against me when I'm too busy to play. He's ready for the next opportunity.  He trusts implicitly, forgives my bad moods and only remembers the joy we share. Often, he'll jump up on my computer chair and sit behind me while I work. I swear he does it to help shift my mood. That's all it usually takes.

3. Ask for What You Want. Pepper is not only honest but consistent in showing what he truly wants. When he wants rubs he not only asks for them, he shows me he's ready to receive. He does a little dance, jumps up on the couch and lies on his back waiting for me to rub his belly.

4. Be Curious About Everything. We barely got into a walking rhythm the first time around the South Mountain Reservoir this morning. Pepper was busy acquainting himself with every new plant he encountered (not to mention other dogs). Whether it's a new stuffed animal, a new person or a new trail, he's always eager to explore and plays with wild abandon.

5. Unleash Your Joy. Whenever I arrive at Andy's, I can hear Pepper barking exuberantly while I'm approaching the door. He isn't happy to see me, he's ecstatic, overjoyed, his energy knows no limits. And he's not afraid to show it.

Pepper is a happy helping of love. His joy sparks my joy. My face hurts from smiling when I'm in his company. What a gift, yes?! (Dog people are pretty awesome too. They're some of the friendliest and kindest folks I've come across.)

What life lessons have you learned from the pets in your world? I'd love to know. Make sure and comment below!


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  1. Yes yes yes…and the Most IMPORTANT part is the part humans miss all the time! What you shared begins with Loving Yourself Unconditionally! FOCUSING on, what we do well and good. Complimenting ourselves often and leaving out the judgments and criticisms! Loving ourselves…without conditions! The more we FOCUS on our goodness, the more that part of us Grows and Grows! The rest falls away! Dogs LOVE themselves First and is “why” they love other’s so well, are curious, and ask for what they want! It begins with Loving Me and not…when I get to a place I feel I deserve it! Begin with loving yourself first and often and the rest becomes a more natural flowing outcome!

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