Life Lessons from Courtney


For years, I was the mother of a 17-year-old Cocker Spaniel named Courtney. She was a dear part of our family and I learned a great deal from her. The life lessons she taught me were invaluable, especially in her later years when various parts of her body began to fail.

We rarely consider the many things we can learn from our pets. Here are some of the life lessons Courtney taught me.

– When it becomes impossible to jump off of your chair on your own, bark for someone to help you. What a great lesson about learning to allow yourself to depend on other people when you need help. Most of us are stubbornly independent and try to refrain from asking anyone to help us. The reality is that every person needs help once in a while and we should learn to ask for it. The person we have asked will likely feel honored that we trusted him or her enough to ask.

– Wagging your tail as fast as you possibly can is an effective way to let a person know how ecstatic you are to see them. For us humans, it wouldn’t hurt to find ways to let our friends and family know just how happy we are to see them.

– I can be finicky about food if I want to. A 17-year-old puppy does get finicky in her later years. Not a bad rule to follow for us either. Being careful about what we eat and how much we eat is a good habit. And if we’ve had enough, it’s time to stop.

– Barking at someone you do not want to be around is my privilege. Perhaps we humans don’t bark (usually) but it’s not a bad idea to determine who we want to be around and find ways to discourage persons that are not good for us. It’s all about creating boundaries and learning who enhances our life and who harms it. Those who harm our lives deserve a good barking at now and then.

– I know I sleep most of the time, but it’s so darn relaxing. There comes a time when humans need to think clearly about getting the rest we need and refusing to push ourselves past where we need to go when we work. Rest and relaxation is important in one’s life and we need to determine how much rest we need.

– I know I will only chase the ball you throw a couple of times these days. So what? It’s important for humans to remember how to play and to find those things in life that are play, not work. Even if we cannot do as much as we used to. It’s a good habit to “pitch the ball around” even if it’s only twice.

Well, those are just a few lessons I learned from Courtney, but they are lessons that I will apply to my own life. They are lessons about self-determination, honesty, openness, friendship, boundaries, relaxation, healthy lifestyle, love and loyalty.

Thanks, Lady Courtney. You have been a good teacher, a loving companion and a faithful friend.

I would love to hear your comments.

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