I live with two tiny, fuzzy yodas. With simple action and minimal communication, they offer profound lessons on stress management. Watch them for a day, just one, and you will know everything you need to about how to move through stress.
We got Abbey, nickname Abbs or big girl, from the humane society in Longmont, Colorado when she was just 4 months old. She had been living with a foster family for a few weeks and Phillip spotted her the day she was dropped off to be placed for adoption. Abbey was a Christmas present for me from Phillip.
She is now ten years old. She’s got a bum knee and a routine she prefers. To meet her, you might still believe she’s a puppy from the enthusiasm she will greet you with.
She loves to “talk” to get your attention, big boisterous howls. When she’s not feeling well or trying to get away from us (at bath time), she hides under our bed, typically not very well because her tail or nose always peaks out.
Her absolute favorite is getting to run off leash at the beach, near any stream or through the snow. Abbey and I always have “crazy time” in the morning where I get her all riled up and wiggly on her back.
Emma, nickname Emms or little girl, was adopted from the Los Angeles pound two years after we got Abbey. We guess she was about a year old when she joined our family. We assume her past was tragic because we had to work through issues like submissive urination.
Emma is love it its purest form. She is happy most of the time as you can tell by her non-stop wagging tail. She can be protective of the house and us, and she loves to let the random squirrel know that the back fence is her fence.
Emma has an independent streak and spends lots of her time sleeping in darkened bathrooms of the house, it’s always a surprise to turn on the light and see her blurry eyed staring up at you. She puts herself to bed each evening at 7pm, not a fan of our primetime TV selection.
Emma is also our water dog. More adventurous than Abbey, she’s leapt into running rivers and off five foot high rocks into lakes (thought we’re not sure if she realized the landing would be in water).
She likes to play, but always has a “safety zone” on her bed or a chair to escape to when the play gets too rough with Abbs.
Ten Lessons on Coping with Stress from The Girls
Dogs are the most fascinating creatures. They have these sweet little hearts and personalities. Unconditional love made manifest. They are amazingly intuitive and absolutely personify what being in the flow of life should look like.
I’ve also noticed that they are rarely stressed. Mostly at the vet and the recovery is always immediate once they are back in the car and on the way home.
So, what have my little fuzzy yodas taught me about coping with stress? Here’s the top 10:
- Stressful situations can be made easier by looking up to someone you love for support. They always keep me or Phillip in view at the vet’s office and wrap behind our legs for comfort.
- It is okay to take a break. Whether it’s under the bed, in a dark bathroom or comfy chair. Alone time is rejuvenating.
- Ask for what you need. Use a big bark, a wagging tail, or soft snuggle.
- Play all out. Releasing energy creates calm afternoons and evenings.
- Let stuff go. Immediately. It’s over, no need to ruminate. One big shake resets back to center.
- Keep a routine. Having things scheduled out provides a sense of continuity and comfort.
- If you are angry, it’s okay to bark, just remember to follow it with a forgiving kiss later.
- Keep your heart open. Believe that people at their core are good.
- Don’t take things personally. Sometimes stuff just happens. If you accidentally got stepped on, it doesn’t mean that you’re bad, just that a bad thing inadvertently happened.
- Look at life with wonder and excitement. While sometimes things don’t go your way, there’s not time for a walk or you didn’t get the treat you were hoping for, it doesn’t write your future. Tomorrow, even later today, is a fresh start where anything is possible…maybe even a trip to dog beach.
What has your fuzzy yoda(s) taught you?