My golden retriever, Kaia, has been an integral part of my life for 13 years now. Kaia has given me unconditional love, exercise, frustration, peace and so many moments of pure joy. Like me, she has lots of grey fur/hair now. Unlike me, she is not vain enough to use hair coloring. She has also taught me huge life lessons about living and rebelling. Living life to its fullest and rebelling against the stuff that makes me act and think like a stick in the mud (although Kaia is rather fond of those.)
Simplicity. Dogs remind me to keep it simple. Throw the ball. Feed me. Rub my butt. Take a walk. I can easily make things too complex. Analyze everything to death. Create complex stories about my life. But when I go for the essence, when I bask in simplicity -- that's when I experience happiness.
Sensory. Dogs live in their senses. Smell, touch, sound, sight. They have no words. Dogs remind me that words are only a part of the living. I need to find silence so I can listen and see.
Loyalty. Kaia loves me. Golden retrievers, as a breed, are known for their loyalty. But I also understand that if you had a meaty steak bone in your hand, Kaia would love you too. This doggy definition of loyalty helps me better understand relationships. Some people are fickle and don't deserve loyalty. Others, share a part of their soul that means you need to stand by them no matter what.
Play. Goldens are also notorious for wanting to play. Day or night. Continuously. One ball throw is never, never enough. How often do I forget that having fun is such an important part of being human? So Kaia makes me ask the question -- got play?