a furry teacher

Have you ever thought about how simple life must be for an animal? I mean, obviously not all animals are treated humanely (which breaks my heart) but the ones that are seem to have a pretty amazing life. Lionel, for example, is spoiled rotten. I feed him, play with him, pet him, groom him, and scoop his yucky litter box every single day…So, he should be eternally grateful for all that I do for him, right?

Kind of. 

While all of the above is true, I’m also thankful every day for what Lionel has done for me. Over the past 10 months he’s taught me more than I ever could have imagined- all without saying a word.

Things Lionel Taught Me

1.) Rest

This is, undoubtedly, the most important thing I’ve learned from Lionel. It’s okay to rest. I’ve always had a ‘go, go, go!’ mentality and I’ve wound up overly-exhausted more times than I can count. It can be hard to take a step back and allow your body and mind to rest but it’s extremely important. You’ll never be able to perform at your best without time for rejuvenation. Lionel has no problem with that…

BPESpQ7CcAAdE0G2.) Play

As adults we take life extremely seriously- we’re almost forced to. But it’s important to balance all of that out with some fun. I don’t know about you, but I never want to lose touch with the little kid inside of me. Between my two jobs, I need to make sure I’m laughing and doing the things that bring me joy.

IMG_46253.) Love

The love of an animal never ceases to amaze me. No matter what I do, how frustrated I get, or how many hours I’ve spent at work, Lionel never stops loving me. Humans are so quick to get angry and hold grudges which doesn’t accomplish anything in the long run. We should forgive, forget, and love like there’s no tomorrow. I don’t know what I’d do without Lionel’s kisses and cuddles…


4.) Be Present

There is no such thing as “time” for an animal. The past is gone and the future doesn’t matter yet.Can you imagine if humans were able to live their lives that way? The stress and anxiety we’re constantly battling would nearly diminish because we wouldn’t have a zillion things occupying our minds at one time. We would be able to open our eyes, minds, and hearts to what is happening around us and fully invest ourselves in life. Lionel is happy, sad, cuddly, hyper, tired, etc. right this second and that’s that. He’s not thinking about how he’s going to feel in 10 minutes or dwelling on something he did yesterday because it doesn’t matter. And that same rule should apply for us. This is definitely a lesson I’m still working on- and forever will be- but it’s definitely worth the effort.

IMG_4648PS: Lionel has freakishly long toes- and YES, I trimmed his nails after this.

I truly believe that we can learn something from every person and experience we encounter in life, we just have to allow ourselves to be taught. And honestly, Lionel has been one of my best teachers yet.

Here’s to the innocence and brilliance of animals…


  1. Erin said:

    I totally agree with you 100%!! I’ve learned more from my dog Axell than I ever have from anyone. Love this post!

    • Emily said:

      Thank you, Erin! It’s crazy, isn’t it? I’m glad that you have a dog that teaches you things as well. I miss my puppy so much!

  2. Lisa said:

    Love this post my sweet friend, I totally agree with the lessons our loved ones, in the form of animals can give to us.

    • Emily said:

      Thank you. (:
      And I know you understand since you have (arguably) the most adorable puppy on the planet!

  3. P said:

    Lionel is seriously adorable, and I’m so glad I have a little furry friend at home who teaches me the same lessons. Animals are the best teachers!

    • Emily said:

      Thank you! I’m glad you have an animal that does the same for you. (:

  4. YES! I encourage my clients all the time about all of these points, but especially your Play point. Somehow, when we hit adulthood and get more responsibilities than ever we reduce our play, when really we should be increasing it in relation to the increased stress! This is why so many people end up eating for pleasure, because they’re not getting it elsewhere.

    • Emily said:

      Oh my goodness- that is SO true. I’ve actually never thought about how it corresponds to food but it makes perfect sense. When I’m happy and finding joy in other areas of my life, food is totally secondary.

  5. Ellie said:

    Animals teach us so much! They have an uncanny ability to find and mediate stress or pain in us. They can forsee the weather. They allow us to see ourselves for who we are, and encourage us to accept that because they do 🙂 GO VEGETARIANS!

    • Emily said:

      SO true! Their instincts are amazing and they’re always in touch with how the people around them are feeling. I love it!
      YAY vegetarians! ❤

    • Emily said:

      Thank you! Yeah, he’s pretty darn adorable when he’s sleeping. Too bad he can be an absolute terror when he’s awake!

      • haha I slept over at a friend’s house and her cat tried to sleep on my face. I was def. not ready for the morning wake up call to booty. haha

  6. Sometimes its crazy to realize how much we can learn from our cute furry pets, they really now how do do it right haha. I especially love the rest lesson. Even the most energetic pet can teach us that.

    • Emily said:

      So true! Pets are amazing (:

  7. I LOVE THIS POST. We have SO much to learn from animals and I can honestly say my dog has taught me all of these things too. Animals show us that we are important and loved simply for being ourselves and for living! Think about it…they have no responsibilities, jobs, or real obligations in life…yet we love them more than anything!

    • Emily said:

      That’s so true! I actually didn’t think of it from that perspective. Just being ourselves should be enough but we constantly feel the need to do more for validation. So ridiculous.
      Thanks for such an insightful comment! ❤

  8. Animals can teach us so much more than human teachers ever can! I think something that pets have taught me is that food isn’t the most important thing in life. Animals don’t care that much about where their next meal is coming from, so why should I worry so much about what I’m eating? It’s great to enjoy food, but it’s even better to be able to eat, enjoy and then just move on without obsessing!

    • Emily said:

      Yessss. Exactly! I’m glad you see that too because I think about it all the time. As humans, we put WAY too much emphasis on food and our bodies. We’re either eating too much, too little, over-exercising, under-exercising..whatever! It’s just ridiculous.
      We should focus on the other things in life that make us happy!

  9. Molly said:

    I don’t have any pets but I do love learning from my niece who is just over 4 months old. It’s so neat to see her reactions to events and how happy they get from the simple pleasures of life. Babies, like pets, never over think simple actions. They eat until they are content and they don’t dwell on their bodies, They are amused by little things and take almost nothing for granted, They laugh, they smile and from how it appears, they live naturally happy lives with few worries. On another note, Miss Congeniality is one of my favourite movies, and is that a wheatgrass shot? Yum!

    • Emily said:

      I love that. It’s so true. I actually have a post coming up about children and how we could all benefit from reverting back to that mindset sometimes.
      And yesss…it’s definitely a wheat grass shot! I’m kind of addicted to them. haha. I think they taste so yummy!

      • Molly said:

        I couldn’t agree more and you did your body a favour as you know by pairing it with orange/citrus/vitamin C! I look forward to reading that post. 🙂

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