This is a different type of blog post than Gizmos regular readers are used to. For once, this blog post doesn’t contain Gizmo doing something naughty or hilarious (don’t worry Gizmo fans…normal service will resume soon!) but instead, I wanted to take this opportunity to think about the human-animal relationship, what we can learn from them, and how we can improve our lives as a result.
Animals make our lives special, memorable, and worth living for. They can bring happiness and laughter into our lives, just by being with us. They can share our homes and fill our hearts. Gizmo gives me reasons to laugh every day, and my life would be much sadder without him. Animals are far more intelligent than many people give them credit for.
When animals come into our lives, for however long that may be, we strive to do our best to care for them, but we should also take time to learn from them. Anyone who has shared their life with an animal will tell you how special the human-animal bond can be and how devastating saying the final goodbye is. I regularly watch animal-focused programmes on TV, and I usually end up crying like a blubbering wreck when I see a human-animal bond torn apart by grief and separation. The effect that animals have on our lives is immense.
So, what can we learn from our pets, and how can we try to improve our lives as a result…
Animals live for today. They live totally in the moment. They treat each day like a new opportunity for life and happiness. As humans, we can get so bogged down with worry, anxiety and stress that we don’t live for today because we are still focusing on what went wrong yesterday, and worrying about the challenges tomorrow will bring. We need to live for today. We need to spend quality time with our pets, and the people we love. We need to leave our stresses at the front door and just enjoy being with those around us. Gizmo is quite good at taking my mind off my worries (usually because he is doing something funny, or naughty) but I think I need to work on living in the moment more. I get anxious far too easily, and I’m forever worrying about things that have already happened, rather than enjoying today for what it is.
Animals spend more time listening to their surroundings and reacting accordingly. Animals are aware of our emotions, often better than we are. They know exactly how we are feeling. How many times have you been feeling poorly, and your pet has come to sit with you, and you instantly start to feel a little better. This is no coincidence. Animals know what we need, and when. We need to spend more time listening to those around us, including our animals. Gizmo is very good at judging my emotions, and being with me when I need comfort the most. He can cheer me up when I’m feeling down, and he can make me laugh every day by doing something hilarious and naughty.
Animals aren’t afraid to be different. After all, they don’t know what ‘normal’ is. They don’t have expectations placed upon them that they feel they need to conform to. Animals aren’t afraid to have fun and try new things. They don’t seem to be constrained by the fear of failure in the same way that humans are. As humans, we need to let go of our fear of failure, take a deep breath, put our brave pants on and try something new. This is something else I definitely need to work on! I often find myself so scared of failure that I try to resist trying new things incase I don’t achieve my own expectations. Gizmo is definitely not what many people would call a ‘normal’ kitty, but I admire his sense of adventure and endless desire to have fun. I need to be more like Gizmo!
Animals love unconditionally, and are often more forgiving than humans. We need to forgive more freely, accept the past for what it is, and make those around us feel loved and cared for at every opportunity. A compliment or a kind word can literally brighten someone’s day, so try to give someone a reason to smile whenever possible, as you never know what inner battles they are fighting. As a sufferer of anxiety and depression, there are times when I feel distant from others, and find it difficult to express how I feel to humans. But Gizmo knows exactly how I feel, and he helps me get through the difficult days, often by bringing me a ‘gift’, purring quietly in my ear and showing me unconditional love with the touch of his paw on my hand.
Happiness is perhaps the thing I admire the most about animals. They seem to find happiness so easily. I can tell you all the things that make Gizmo happy (which toys he can’t resist playing with, where his favourite snoozing place is, his favourite place to be scratched on his head) but we spend so long finding out what makes our pets happy that we sometimes forget to think about what makes us happy as well. For humans, we need to think about the things we love doing, and do more of them, on a regular basis to ensure we are finding as much happiness as our pets. Its probably no surprise to anyone reading this, but animals make me happy. Just being around animals can make me happy. But aside from animals, I’m secretly quite a creative person, and I enjoy making things and taking photos, so I will make an effort to do this more often.
So, with all this in mind, I want to appeal to each and everyone reading this to live for today and listen more to those around you. Put your troubles to one side, and spend quality time with others whenever you can. Feel free to be unique, forgive more easily, love unconditionally and find happiness by living for today, not yesterday. Rediscover what truly makes you happy, and do more of it. Never feel ashamed of showing the people (and animals) around you that you love them, because tomorrow isn’t promised to anyone.
Animals are far more intelligent than we give them credit for, and we could be much happier with our lives if we try to live by the same principles as our beloved pets. In memory of all the animals that have touched our lives and left paw prints on our hearts, we thank you for the lessons you have taught us. You are the best teachers we could ask for.
Gizmo, I still have a lot to learn, but I will follow your example, with your paw on my hand….