My Furry Guru series: My Doggo, MySelf

Our animals are a reflection of who we are – our character, our capacity to love, our awareness of what they truly need…to be what a dog was designed to be – a human’s companion on life’s trail.  Our compliment.

Sometimes they may even save us.

It is a reflection of our ability to reach beyond our human needs and act with understanding and respect for our canine companion as a species very different than ourselves…to give them the freedom to be the best doggo that they can truly be.  It is our challenge to meet them where they are, not where our fantasies lead us to believe they should be.

When we anthropomorphize a dog, we are essentially disrespecting them.  When we dress them up in costumes, color their fur, and imagine meanings for the things they do that are beyond their capacity as a species, we disrespect them.  We are limiting their capacity to show up exactly as they are…to fully “dog.”

Essentially, we are limiting ourselves and revealing our lack of understanding of what a dog is capable of understanding.

Dogs don’t understand concepts like destiny and purpose.  They just need a job, to do what we have designed them to do.

This may be to protect you or your farm.

This may be to herd your cattle or sheep.

It may be to hunt for you, or with you.

It may be to retrieve or to be of service.

Or it may be to be your companion…that warm body snuggled up beside you, the sweet, happy little spirit that decorates your day.

Dogs need a job.

When you choose a particular breed, please do your research. It’s not enough to love the look of that dog or think it would be cool to own one of that breed. Understanding the needs of their breed is essential. If you do not, you are setting yourself up for problems.

If you choose to rescue, take your selection very seriously, especially if you are considering rescuing an older dog. It is vital to understand the basic needs of any dog, to rely on the assessment of the individuals who run the rescue service for clues into the dog’s temperament, and to give serious consideration as to your ability to care for an animal of this nature. For example, if the writeup on the dog says, No Cats, and you have cats, don’t adopt that dog thinking you can change his basic nature. If the writeup says the dog is High Energy (perhaps she has a lot of Border Collie in her), and you’d like to think you can handle it but you are not that active, don’t adopt that dog.

Be patient. The right dog will come along. There are so many dogs that need a good home.

It is up to you to care for them in a way that they understand as care.  To give them the freedom and structure that allows them to be the very best dog they can be.

This means feeding them well, in a way that keeps them lean and energetic.  Overfeeding is not love, as I see it, it’s abuse. It means keeping them as pain-free as possible through regular veterinary visits as well as providing them with the freedom to run and sniff and pee on things and enjoy the life of a fully actualized dog…not a human child with fur.

And as you do this a curious thing happens…you come closer to being a fully actualized human.  As you open the door to allow your dog to fully dog, you are learning what it means to fully human.

When we allow our canine companions to freedom to be the best they can be, that’s when we know freedom ourselves.


When we give them what they need most, our presence…to accompany you, to live with you…not to be in a kennel or crate or tied in the yard for the majority of their lives…we are celebrating the most basic instinct of a dog – to be part of the pack.

To belong.

We all understand what it means to belong, right? We all dream of unconditional acceptance of who we are, exactly as we show up today.

This is a dream we can bring to life – we can allow our furry gurus to teach us what it means to belong. And in turn, they will lead us to ourselves.

When your dog looks at you, he sees his world.

Benjamin B.

What do you see?

If you find value in this post, please share it.

Check out An Elegant Mind’s Handbook for more deep-dive ideas. And here’s a gift for you…if you purchase the book, I invite you to contact me on my website and let me know you have purchased it. I will send you SKY MIND, a free guided meditation that I created to get you in the Contemplative Writing mindset!


Published by Paula D. Tozer

I am a writer, poet and singer/songwriter. I am a Toastmaster, motivational speaker, personal creativity coach, and workshop leader. My most sincere wish is to share my words with others, and that we both benefit from the exchange.

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