Life Lessons from My Dogs: Jolie

Sometimes our best teachers aren't humans - they're our four-legged friends.

I have had the honor of being friends with several furred-folk in my life and wanted to share a few of the things I've learned from them. This first post is Jolie's words on living a good life. Jolie is an Australian Shepherd/Blue Heeler mix who has more energy than 10 humans, combined! She's a bundle of love, though, and has been an amazing teacher :-) 

Life Lessons from Jolie

My name is Jolie and Nancy found me on an internet Australian Shepherd rescue site when I was about 3 years old. I'm now almost 13 and haven't slowed down a bit. They tell me 13 is pretty old for a dog, but I still feel as good as I did many years ago.

Anyway, over ten years ago, someone found me running along a highway up north - Nancy said it was Sheridan, Wyoming - and picked me up and took me to a shelter. They didn't know I came from a ranch where life was sometimes fun and sometimes really hard and scary. They just saw I was pretty and fun and wanted me to find a forever home.

One family up in Ft Collins, Colorado, tried to adopt me but the mom and dad lost their jobs and couldn't take care of me anymore. That was tough - they had two little kids who I adored and at first, I missed them a lot! It was hard to go back to the shelter where there were a lot of noisy dogs who were very big and scary. But thank goodness I wasn't in the shelter very long.

Nancy soon found me on the internet and brought me to live at her place with her then-husband (Tom) and their other dog, Jake. With Jake, it was love at first sight! We've been inseparable the last 10 years. He's not as fast or as energetic as me, but we get along really well, like to play, and love to wander out in the yard together. But we most enjoy just laying on the porch next to each other, looking out over the yard and watching the world go by.

Anyway, these are the things that I tried to teach my humans over the last 10 years. They haven't mastered some of them yet, but I have hopes that someday they will:
  1. Let go of past hurts. You don't have to forgive or forget, but if you don't let the hurt go it will hold you hostage for the rest of your life.
  2. Not all people are the same as the one(s) that hurt you. Don't make the other people in your life pay for what was done to you by someone else.
  3. If you see an open door that looks good, pause for a second to give it some thought. Then, if it feels right with your heart, run through that open door with energy and enthusiasm!
  4. Play like there's no tomorrow.
  5. Love.
  6. It's OK to be a goofball once in a while!
  7. Staying active is good for you.
Nancy said that some of the stuff that happened to me on the ranch was "abuse." I don't know about that. I just know it was tough and hard sometimes, and at first Tom scared me because he reminded me of one of the bad men on the ranch. But after a while, I realized that bad man who hurt me wasn't around anymore and Tom was OK, so I let him be my friend too. I let go of those hurts, things became really fun at home.

One of the things I like to do is to explore new places and do new things. And I LOVE running through open doors if they feel "right" to me. You just never know what's on the other side of that open door until you blast through it with energy and enthusiasm. Most of the time, there have been really cool things on the other side of the doors I've run through. And the couple of times things haven't been so great, I just turned around and came back. No worries.

Like I said before, Jake and I love to play! My favorite game with Jake is to chase him around the couch, then hide until he comes looking for me. Then I pounce out of my hiding place and scare him! It's so much fun to startle him, and he falls for it every time. We play a lot and love being goofy with each other - it keeps us young!

Love is a good thing. So are hugs and belly-rubs...

Last but not least, I still love to be active by running around and getting into things. I love chasing squirrels and following my people around the yard. Being active keeps me young and trim. Nancy says I'll probably be running through open doors until I'm in my twenties!

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