The Wisdom Of Our Pets
A friend who knows I own a pet sitting business in Atlanta recently shared this sweet cartoon with me, and, while it was good for a little chuckle, I was struck by the wisdom behind it.
In his book, The Power of Now, Eckhart Tolle writes, “Realize deeply that the present moment is all you ever have.” That’s a lesson we can learn from our pets as well: They are always fully present, fully in the moment. If only we could do the same. Our pets don’t worry about “what if’s” or what they look like or their insecurities. As Tolle says, “An animal has no opinion of itself. It simply is.”
Our ego makes our lives more complicated than they need to be. Perhaps that’s one reason we love our pets so much: They uncomplicate our lives. In fact, the benefits of owning a pet mirror the benefits of doing meditation: Pets reduce stress, anxiety, and depression; they ease loneliness, encourage exercise and playfulness, and even improve our cardiovascular health. Caring for an animal can help children grow up more secure and active. Pets also provide valuable companionship for older adults. Perhaps most importantly, though, pets can add real joy and unconditional love to our lives.
Our pets can help us to be fully present, and when we’re fully present, we don’t hate ourselves; we don’t love ourselves; we simply are ourselves.
Mark Shaver has owned Buckhead Paws since 2012, and is an active member of Pet Sitters International. Previously, he was a senior executive with three multinational corporations.