The Art of Living Joyfully

“Whoever said you can’t buy happiness forgot little puppies.”  ~Gene Hill

On a whim last year we adopted a dog. No doubt I was still in shock over the loss of my mom, because if I was in a healthy state of mine, I would have never said yes to my daughter’s request to bring home a puppy- and not any puppy, but a Mini Daschund!

I say this with great emphasis because I have always been a large dog person having lived with big breeds such as our current Labrador/St. Bernard cross. I’ll admit I was one of those people who ridiculed small dog owners because I always believed little dogs were not real dogs. Boy, was I going to learn a lesson!

From the moment we held this 4lb puppy I knew he was a gift from the universe. Ryder, is the happiest dog I have ever met. He has brought so much joy, love and laughter into our home. Things I hadn’t noticed were missing until he arrived.

There are a few lessons that Ryder has taught us in the short time we’ve been together and I am confident that he has more to teach us.

 1.      Joy comes from the inside not from external situations.

This little dog bubbles over with happiness. It’s just his nature. He  bounds everywhere, never missing an opportunity to connect or give a few sloppy kisses. Sure he’s happy to have a new toy or a treat, but he is just thrilled to be in our laps. As long as he can be part of the pack, he’s happy.

 2.     Face every adventure with courage and determination.

Ryder is always curious and ready to explore, beaches, hills, the forest, a garbage can. He never plays it safe when there is an opportunity to discover something new. Daschunds are not by nature swimmers ye our little puppy has crossed streams and navigated currents to avoid getting left behind. Swimming is not his favourite activity but if it means missing out, he’ll jump in!

 3.      Greet everyone as if they are your friend and you will make new ones.

When we take Ryder to the dog park he is so happy to be there. He races around greeting every dog and human with overwhelming enthusiasm. He is still a young dog, so he hasn’t yet learned that not everyone or every dog wants to say hello. That doesn’t matter to him and I hope it never does. He just believes everyone should be happy to meet him. Thanks to Ryder we have made new friends at the dog park, and beyond.

 4.     Laugh at yourself and others will laugh with you.

Okay, so Ryder doesn’t laugh,  but when he shows up at the dog park, people laugh. They laugh as he tries to get the Great Dane to chase him, or the German Shepard rolls on him and he comes back for more. He’s tenacious in his attempts to have fun. He has a playful attitude that is a constant reminder that life does not always have to be serious. He can also make fun out of anything- a stolen sock, a computer mouse, a kiwi, a pen. He approaches every situation he finds himself in with the same question, “How can I have fun here?”

 5.      Love what is.

Ryder has taught us that you have to love what is. He doesn’t fret over his size or worry about what he can’t do. He seizes very opportunity to explore, have fun and connect with others just as he is.

Ryder’s joy is contagious. He reminds us to laugh,  to surrender to what is, to embrace adventure, and most importantly to lighten up to live a more joyful happier life.

With love and laughter,

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