What We Can Learn From Dogs

By Sarah

It’s an average day in my household, still generally confined inside due to COVID-19. We focus on our work, school, and activities in our separate spaces, coming together occasionally to grab some food, say hello, or ask a question. There’s an additional constant in our routine: our dog, Georgie. He waits downstairs with an expectant look on his face, enthralled with the prospect of saying hello to us, getting a pet, or convincing us to give him a treat.

Georgie has not only been a constant but also a beacon of joy. We coincidentally adopted him just before the start of quarantine, and his sweet disposition instantly captured our hearts. He was rambunctious, occasionally naughty, and a little stubborn, but all was usurped by his loving eyes, intelligence, and sweet disposition. Despite the multitude of new situations, events on the news, and uncertainty, Georgie was always there, welcoming us in the doorway or rolling on his back in a loving greeting. As a Bouvier Des Flandres dog, or Belgian sheepdog, his desire to work has spurred him to make rounds throughout our house, consistently checking in on each of us to make sure we’re safe. Of course, he usually gets a few pets on the head in the process.

Despite the circumstances, Georgie is earnest, excited, and joyful. He loves us regardless of our mistakes, viewing us instead as his loving owners (and the ones who feed him, of course). In difficult moments, Georgie’s happiness is often a welcomed juxtaposition to a gloomy mood. It’s wonderful to encounter his wagging tail — an instant boost of serotonin.

In general, spending time with Georgie has reinforced the perception that humans should be more like dogs. It might sound ridiculous, but in general, we can certainly learn from them. Our lives may be more complex, but we can still embody their capacity to love, forgive, and see all as equal. Dogs don’t care who you are or where you’ve been; they simply stay in the present, loving the cuddles you give them or the treats in your pocket. They’re amiable, trainable, and constantly ready to please you. Even when they encounter problems or are vigorously scolded, their happy persona eventually bounces back, ready to improve themselves.

I also find the dog “pack mentality” to be wonderful in all respects. Collaboration often brings out the best in humans. As dogs are programmed to be focused on survival, they work together toward a common goal, rather than undermining each other for no reason. As humans, corruption, malintent, and competition bring out the worst in us. Learning to come together and combine our talents would certainly be beneficial. 

Yes, Georgie may be imperfect: he still jumps on beds, gnaws on things he shouldn’t, and fully embodies a puppy persona at the age of one. His positivity, however, has helped us to live a little more in the present. As humans, we should try to be the “dogs” of the world: positive, forgiving, loving, and accepting. It would certainly make the world a better place.

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