Dogs’ Advice on Cultivating an Attitude of Gratitude

I thought that for this week’s post, in honor of Thanksgiving, I’d ask my dogs what they’re thankful for. I asked Georgia, thinking she’d mention the endless supply of orange balls we play fetch with. I asked Jed, thinking he’d say how much he loves his new food that I cook for the dogs each week. But I was wrong. Both of the dogs’ answer was, “I’m grateful for everything!”

That got me to thinking. Dogs really are grateful for everything, all the time. While we humans can usually find a bunch of things to grumble about, dogs are endlessly thankful, always enthusiastic, meeting every moment with an open heart and a hopeful attitude. Even my traumatized, anxious dog, Truman, is thankful for every minute of every day, even though he struggles with extreme fear of just-about everything.

I asked my dogs how they manage to always focus on the good in their lives, and whether they have any advice for people on how to feel grateful all the time. Here’s what they had to say:

Georgia: “I love everybody! I’m slow to warm up to people I don’t know, but once I get to know someone, I can see the goodness inside them. It looks like a bright green ball of light radiating out from their chest. Some people’s light might look brighter than others, and the light isn’t always the same from one day to the next. But it’s there, and I can see it. And, when I come up to them and show them how much I love them, their light always glows even brighter! I love doing that for people. I help them to feel joyful, just by being around them.”

Jules: “It’s easy for me to feel grateful all the time because I know I’ve found the right home. I spent a lot of time at the shelter before I decided who I wanted to go home with, and I’m happy that I am living where I’m meant to live, with the people and animals I love best. I know they love me back, and that makes me happy too!”

Jed: “I lie in the sun every day and soak up its healing energy. I walk slowly on the ground, feeling the energy of life under my feet. I can tell that the earth is always growing and moving and changing, and it makes me happy to feel that connection.”

Truman: “I’m confused. Is there any other way to be?”

Fred: “I know I’m loved. I have fun playing ball and diving in the pool, but what matters most to me is that I’m loved, and that’s a perfect reason to be grateful all the time.”

Melissa: “I know that I’m important! I am proud to have the important mission of making my person feel good. I’m happy to know that I make a difference in the lives of those I love.”

Juniper: “I’m special! I make everyone happy just by being me. I get lots of cuddles and take frequent naps and spend time with my family, and that makes me feel happy and grateful all the time!”

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