Dog Blog,  Lifestyle

Lessons From My Dog: Always Stand Back Up After you Fall

A few days ago, I was out playing with my dog in our back yard. Taking her out in the yard is the only time that she is ever really allowed to be truly free.

Walks and potty breaks are always made on leash and indoors she’s caged by walls and contends for space with all the furniture. Being outside gives my dog a sense of freedom no where else does and I know that she loves every second of it.

The minute I let her out she kicks it into high gear and springs into action! She runs around and around, chasing all the wonderful smells, breathing in the fresh air, and having fun. I was watching her run and play when I noticed her lose her footing and tumble into the dirt and mud.

I stifled a laugh as I walked over to check on her and make sure she was okay. But before I could even reach her she was up and running again as if nothing had ever happened.

She was covered in dirt and grass and looked a complete mess. I wondered if the fall had hurt. But it seemed that even if it had, my dog didn’t mind. She had no choice but to get back up again. Regardless of how she felt or looked.

Watching her I wondered why it  was never that easy for me to get up after I fell.

Every time I fell, I spent a lot of time on the ground, feeling sorry for myself, cursing God and the world and myself for failing.

It wasn’t fair.

The world is cruel.

I am worthless.

I will never achieve my dreams.

The world knocked me down and I beat myself up with words.

Stay down, I would tell myself. That way you can’t get hurt. That way you cannot fail again.

But failure is a part of life, a small part of me would whisper.

You have to be like Bean.

You have to stand up again.

Bruises and blood and heartache and all.

What if instead of letting my failings and shortcomings keep me down I decided to learn and grow from them, to stop curling up with defeat every time something terrible happened.

What if I stopped accepting rejection? Stopped letting the fear of it control me and use it as a reason to grow?

What could my life be like?

Dogs are amazing creatures. They don’t have the capacity to regret. They don’t life in the past or pine for the future. They don’t belittle themselves. They simply let themselves be and enjoy the world as it is right now. And when life gets hard or they fall down, they perservere. They don’t have a choice but to keep going.

To survive.

Life is full of wonderful and terrible things. Life can surprise you or thrill you or beat you down. It’s up to you to chose the kind of life that you live. It’s up to you to determine how you will handle the ups and downs of life. It’s up to you to make the best of it or let it destroy you.

So next time you find yourself on the ground, failing and struggling and tempted to admit defeat, stand up.

If you’re anything like Bean, you’ll be too busy noticing the wonderful life you’ve built around you to even bother to brush yourself off.


  • Caroline at Costa Rica FIRE

    Love that reminder about how animals can intuit things that humans get tied up in knots about. I had a real estate colleague who made the similar point about horses — they just brush off a bad ride or race, and start anew. I try to start each new day fresh, but still find myself carrying habits and thoughts and therefore limiting beliefs from the days before. It’s a work in progress, but now I have your post to remind me — what would a dog do?

    • Robin

      I love this article! It resonates so much. Recently, I leaned a 4 by 7 foot thin piece of wood on a table and was thinking it was none too smart doing this as it might fall over on my little Tibetan Terrier, Waldo. But since I was in a hurry and I intended to only leave it there a minute, I did not heed my instinct. Sure enough, as if in slow motion, I saw Waldo saunter over to observe the scene and I heard a creak and saw the panel begin to topple over, with Waldo sitting unsuspecting right beneath it. I couldn’t get to him fast enough. He must have seen the look on my face and heard the panel behind him because he high-tailed it as fast as his little chicken legs could scurry him. He almost made it to safety to. Almost. The panel fell on him, covering his entire back half. Nonetheless, he pulled himself quickly out from under it, running into my outstretched arms as I ran towards him. In tears now, I frantically was checking his legs and back for any injury and talking to him in an apologetic tone. Waldo might be a little dog, but he’s mighty sturdy. He was just fine and wagged his tail while running around me in circles. All the excitement and attention made him playful. I beat myself up for what could have been a serious danger to my beloved dog longer than he fussed over the brief fiasco (which was not at all). Then it occured to me I should extend the same love and forgiveness to myself for what was an honest mistake as Waldo was giving me. Next time, of course, I’ll be more careful. But I learned in that moment a lesson about self-love too. For that, I’ve had no better teacher than Waldo.

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