1. Get moving!
Get outside. Get into nature. Go for a walk. Garden. Run. Play in the snow. The river. The mud. And don’t forget to take me with you. I like being outdoors. There’s so much out there to explore and it’s just good doginess to share it!
2. Stop and smell the roses.
Breathe. Smell the air. Heck, smell my fur, even when it’s wet. Bury your face in the sweet, juicy aromas of life. Sure, it can be messy and prickly. But it’s always beautiful and fruitful and full of sweet smells and reminders of how wonderful it is to be alive. Remember, you gotta BREATHE it all in.
3. Show, act, feel, be Love.
Pet me. Rub my belly. Fuss over me. I’m a dog. That’s what I need and it’s what you need too! Love all over me and know, no matter what, love really is the answer. Try it with the people in your life too. It really works. Why do you think I do it with you?
4. Fill the whole canvas of your life.
Sit. Sprawl. Laze about. Let yourself sink into nothing but the pure joy of doing nothing. Block doorways. Lay in the middle of the room. Take up all the space you need to get comfortable. It’s your life. Your space. Fill it and do it often. Life looks better when you’re stretched out filling the whole canvas of your life.
5. Chase your dreams (and butterflies too).
Chase butterflies. Dragonflies, even bumblebees. You don’t have to catch them. The joy is in the running about, chasing after nature and feeling the wind against your skin, or fur if you’re me.
6. Let your sillies out.
Dance in the rain. Run barefoot in the grass. Don’t be shy. Don’t tell yourself you’re too old or too proper or too whatever. You’re never too anything to act silly and free. Kick your shoes off and feel the earth — I’ve never understood why people, and horses for that matter, wear shoes. They’re so distracting.
7. Set yourself free of your secret hurts and pains.
Talk to yourself – which is like… talking to me. Tell yourself all your sorrows, your secrets, your fears, your dreams. It’s okay. No one else can hear you except me and I will always listen and never judge and never tell another soul. Your secrets are mine to keep.
8. Let your happy shine, where ever you go!
Greet everyone you meet, even strangers and that girl with the tattoos and piercings and dog collar around her neck, with a big happy smile. And btw, I don’t understand why people wear dog collars. They’re for dogs, people, because we’re special. But I digress. Greet people like you’re really, really happy to see them. Try some wiggles and squirms, lick them even! Or, as you humans like to do, give them a peck on the cheek, but really, really mean it! Be happy to see them. Let your happy shine, where ever you go! Heaven knows, the world needs more wriggles and squirms and happy greetings. And by the way, so do you.
9. Savour every morsel of life (and whatever else is on your plate)
Always, always, clean your plate. Yup. I know. Your parents told you this. Difference is, what you don’t eat, you can give to me, I’m not picky and will eat anything you don’t, and then some! (and that’s how you clean your plate btw while also savouring every morsel of life) Oh. And no artichokes please. I don’t like the prickles. Which brings me to my final point;
10. Follow your heart (and let me be your guide).
Only consume, buy, eat, do, speak, think, create, the things that create more joy, laughter, love and caring in your life. Be picky! Don’t settle for something just because it’s there. Make your own choices. Make your own path. Make your own waves. Remember, I chose you and you’re the bestest friend a dog could ever have, which is saying a lot for someone who is not a dog. And you truly are great, especially when you remember to follow your heart, oh, and let me be your guide.
In honour of Ellie the Wunder Pooch who passed away on this day a year ago, I have reposted her Guide to Life. She sure knew how to live it!
Thank you Ellie for your wisdom, for sharing your joy and your forever love.