I’m Lazarus, a near-blind 13-year-old Plott hound who learned on his own not to fight bears or eat blankets. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve learned some other important life lessons: few things beat a nap, even less beat a snack, and almost nothing beats a belly rub. And there’s a lot more that I’ve learned, with the help of others. I share these lessons because whether you’re a puppy or a senior, you should continue to learn throughout life.
- Animals are good for the soul. We bring love, teach responsibility, instill patience and illustrate the path of life from birth to death. Appreciate us.
- There’s always enough love to go around, so don’t be afraid to jump in with both feet. Show others that you care. Show them that you love them.
- People can’t always read your mind. As a dog this is frustrating. People have it so much easier by just being able to talk things through. So do it.
- Cleaning sucks. Personal hygiene is key, but whenever you think about vacuuming, just take a nap instead.
- Family is important.
- Very little is as beautiful as a senior dog’s gray muzzle.
- Each treat should be approached with joy and careless abandon, each chance to run out the door and explore the world should be embraced, and each opportunity to curl up and cuddle with the ones you love should be treasured — unless there are more treats available. Treats first, cuddling later.
- When you smile all the time it makes the people around you happier too.
- A snoring dog is cute.
- Life is scary sometimes. Thunderstorms, firecrackers and loneliness are things that not even snacks and naps can chase away.
- Life is not all about you. Life is not all about me. Selfishness doesn’t always get you what you think you want. It’s incredibly difficult to think about the world from a perspective other than our own, but make the effort.
- Things are rarely perfect. Often that’s for the best.
- Sometimes you get hurt in life.
- Trust matters.
- There’s a universal truth that sometimes, when you’re feeling sad or grouchy or weepy, a nap can turn your whole day around.
- Small acts of kindness make everyone’s life a little bit better. From a scratch behind the ears to a treat left at the keyboard, kindness grows geometrically.
- Blessed and spoiled are similar, while also very different. Keep your paws on the proper side of the line.
- One day you will become so enlightened that you will simply flicker and turn to light and become one with the universe.
Thanks to my friends Booney, Myrtle, Gigi and Coco for sharing their life lessons and experiences. Friends help make us smarter.