I am in love with my profession because I love nature and animals. I believe that nature and animals are some of our very first teachers. The sun tells us when to rise and rest for the day. The seasons advise us when it’s time to go out into the world to plant new seeds and create (Spring, Summer.) They also teach us when it’s time to go within and connect with ourselves, so that we can rest, recuperate, and evaluate the passing year (Fall, Winter.)
Similarly, animals teach us lessons. Dogs are one of my favorite teachers, and below is one of my favorite lessons that dogs teach us:
In the Native American system of wisdom they refer to lessons that we learn from nature or animals as medicine. Dog medicine in this system is associated with many teachings and one of their main lessons is loyalty.
While dogs teach us to be loyal the lesson is two-fold.
On the one hand, dogs are very loyal to their owners and they often seek their approval. Therefore, most things that they are taught to do by their owners, they may do even if it goes against their very nature. For example, there are dogs that are trained to be vicious or fight although they are generally sweet and mild mannered. Pit bulls are often associated with this type of behavior and are therefore one of the most misunderstood breeds. The true nature of a Pit bull is that they are some of the most sweet, loving, and patient dogs. They are naturally family dogs. Next to the American Golden Retriever, the American Pit bull has the most patience of any breed, meaning they are very slow to anger.
So the two-fold lesson here that we can learn from dog medicine is that while it’s important to have a sense of loyalty to others, it should be balanced by checking how readily your sense of loyalty is countermanded by your need for approval. You may want to ask yourself:
- Are you pursuing a particular career because that’s what your parents, spouse, or friends, want you to do?
- Are you staying in a current relationship, or relationship style, simply because it’s what your family or society expects of you?
- Is your sense of loyalty and need for approval causing you to live your life or someone else’s?
Overall, this lesson from dog medicine asks you to not forget to be loyal to your personal truth. Be loyal and true to yourself and your goals first. This way it is much easier to be loyal to others when it falls in alignment with your personal truth.
So next time when Fido doesn’t want to put on doggie clothes, or do a back flip before he can get a treat, just smile. While they are loyal to you, they are simply being true to their nature!
In closing, stay tuned as we’ll share more dog wisdom on a monthly basis. In the meantime, check out these articles below that highlight an interesting study on dog loyalty, and an article on dog inspiration and the lessons they teach us. Enjoy!