7 Valuable Lessons From A Little Dog By The Sea

I’m spending the week with a small dog called Heddy Le Mar, named after the Hollywood actress. All the pictures I can find on Google of the person, Heddy Le Mar, are in black and white. So too, is my Heddy, as you can see from the picture above. I offered to look after her for a week without knowing too much. Then she arrived on my doorstep last Friday with her little bed, a snuggly blanket and a couple of fluffy toys, one of which looks just like my friend Preethi’s little girl. It totally cracks me up every time I see her play with it. I don’t even know what breed she is. People either think she’s a puppy or that she’s really old, which I can’t quite figure out. She’s actually 4. Her first owner, who’d had her from birth, has just died so I think little Heddy, at times, suffers from a bit of depression, so I’m giving her bags and bags of love and attention. I may not know too much about Heddy, but what I can say, with all my heart, is that I’ve fallen head over heels in love with her and I don’t want to give her back. It’s Thursday tomorrow and I have to give her back on Saturday, so the clock is ticking and we have many adventures still to complete together.

I actually believe that this week with little Heddy was arranged by someone Up There. The timing couldn’t have been better and it almost seems to have been written (certainly for me) in the stars. She’s been the exact medicine I’ve needed and I talk all about that here if you’d like to read more.

I’d like to dedicate this post not only to Heddy and her new owner Sandie, but also to my good friend who’s just lost her two cherished dogs. It’s all about the valuable lessons Heddy has given me in these past few days we’ve spent together, alone by the seaside, with the sun shining on our backs and the Spring days drawing out long into the evening. As I write this, she’s curled up beside me on the bed, as close to me as she can possibly get but still (just about) allowing me to type these words. There are 7 so far that have really struck me, but by Saturday I may well have added 3 more to make it a round 10, so check back for more, if you’ve enjoyed reading these:

Lesson #1 Curiosity

When shown something new, something not even remotely remarkable, such as a new room, or a new person, the outdoors, a shoe, a pebble with a new smell, the sea, a new route, or even a new flavour meal, they embrace it with total delight. In fact they embrace everything with total delight as if seeing it for the very first time. If we could all adopt this approach then the world would take on a whole new meaning for all 7.4billion of us (although children are already adopting this approach too).

Lesson #2 Always give fully

Dogs seem to tell when you’re only half or quarter present and like to remind you of it. With a little nudge of the nose or a jump on the lap (small dogs only) they instantly bring you back to the present moment and you’re rewarded with love and gratitude. This is akin to the new buzzword (although it’s not very new at all) called Mindfulness. Whilst us humans seem to have forgotten this powerful way of being, dogs have never strayed far from the mindfulness path. Organisations could learn a thing or two from their approach.

Lesson #3 Give with no expectation of receiving

We’ve discussed this at the Wizard School. When we give without expectation of receiving (and that includes expectations such as the notion that we’ll go to heaven if we’re good or however you see stuff like that) this is totally pure, the purest thing you can do, but for humans it’s extremely difficult to find anyone giving without some form of expectation. Dogs, however, live in this space, permanently.

Lesson #4 Go with the flow

When have you ever seen a dog stressed about a decision you’ve taken on their behalf? Ok, this might be a ridiculous notion, but the fact is that assuming you’ve got a dog that’s not been mistreated, they go with the flow, they are in the flow and I’m not sure they’re ever out of flow. Heddy just does and is.

Lesson #5 Trust

It breaks my heart to think of anyone mistreating a dog as they just trust you, implicitly. It melts my heart now just thinking of it. Is that a lesson for us? Well, perhaps not always, but I like it and it’s one I wish we could adopt if only everyone was nicer. Maybe in the future when everyone is happy? See Lesson #6 for more on this.

Lesson #6 Knowing Who to Trust/Who’s Good for You

Dogs seem to know who the bad eggs are. Well, I’m observing that in Heddy that’s for sure. They pick up on energy, wagging their tails when they feel good energy and growl to not-so-good energy. If only we were that in tune, which leads us back to Lesson 5, on trust. Dogs follow their intuition and we’d do well to do the same.

Lesson #7 Excitement At Life

A dog gets excited at the simplest of things. Similar to Lesson #1 on curiosity, but with that curiosity always leading to excitement. Imagine if we were that excited all the time by new things (and not even new things). Ok, possibly a bit annoying, but if we found such a delightful way of showing it, such as wagging a tail so hard our bums swayed, then I think it would definitely make the world a better place.

More lessons from Heddy to follow.

Dedicated with love to Andrea