In my 36 years, I had never experienced love at first sight. Not until very recently and not with who you’d expect. My husband has always wanted a dog and having grown up in a cat family I was always hesitant to take that step. But one day in early April, and for reasons I can’t explain, I found myself searching for rescue pups online. I had looked through dozens of puppy profiles before my heart skipped a beat and I saw the most beautiful brown eyes staring back at me through the computer screen. When I saw my puppy, Little Bit, for the first time, her little face almost calling to me, I felt an instant connection. There was something in those eyes, magnetic almost. I immediately emailed my husband with one line, “Want to adopt this dog?” I knew I had to bring her home to me and to us, and that she belonged in our family.
My husband and I also share our lives with two old lady cats, Tobie and Zoe, who we love very much, and are our quiet little companions. They have taught me a lot about patience, being independent, and loving unconditionally. While researching the topic for this blog post, I read in an article that the main difference between joy and happiness is that happiness is a state of being and joy is a momentary emotion or feeling. So, while the cats have brought me and my husband a lot of happiness over the years, it took us getting Little Bit to understand what joy really is and how we could experience it more often in our lives.
I have many dog parent friends and to be completely honest I never understood why they thought that their dogs were the “cat's meow” (no pun intended). That is until I adopted Little Bit.
Here are a few things I’ve learned about joy from having a dog:
Greet new people and old friends the same, with enthusiasm and excitement.
Little Bit reminds me all the time that if I’m open and encouraging I’ll experience the joy of connecting with people every single time I encounter someone, whether I’ve just met them or known them my whole life. I love seeing the utter joy she gets at seeing other dogs and how happy they are to see her too.
Don’t worry about making a fool of yourself.
I never realized how much joy I could get from laughing at myself and having my friends laugh along with me. When I see Little Bit try to fetch her favorite chew toy (she has yet to ever bring it back!) it reminds me that there is a lot of joy in doing activities that I’m not very good at but they still bring satisfaction in doing them.
Chase everything, even if it seems impossible to reach.
I’ve found a lot of joy lately in just doing something, even if I know it won’t work out the way I want it to or the end result is disappointing or never achieved. I see Little Bit try to chase squirrels on our walks and even though she has not yet caught one, she still gets just as excited to spot one, as I’m sure she would be to catch it. This reminds me that it’s not the destination that matters but the journey.
This new dog mama is finding joy in so many unexpected places. Do you have a beloved pet that has taught you about joy and how to find more of it?