5 Things My Dogs Taught Me About Life

I’ve been around dogs ever since I can remember and have always loved having these furry creatures as a part of my family. Before my husband and I got married and started looking for a place to live, I had one request that was non-negotiable: it had to be dog-friendly. But luckily for me, he loved dogs too, and he knew from day one how I felt about them.

pretoria girl writes - ilka steyn

Every dog that has been a part of my life and still is, taught me some of the greatest life lessons. Animals have the beautiful ability to remind us of what humanity really means.


As a proud pet owner, here are the top five things my dogs have taught me about life:



Living with anxiety can sometimes be a kick in the face and self-esteem. As a strong and independent person, it’s embarrassing how scared the future can make me. It takes hard work to focus on the now, but this is where my dogs take the lead.


Although dogs remember exactly where their treats are kept, or what street takes them home, they only focus on it when they need to – in the moment. Whether they are getting their well-deserved belly rub or exploring the garden, they enjoy and live in that moment.


The reality is, you can’t predict the future. The only choice you have is to enjoy the moment you’re living in now. And as difficult as it is, my dogs keep reminding me to strive for it.



Dogs give everybody a chance and will greet anyone enthusiastically if given enough of an opportunity. They don’t care if you’re rich or poor, black or white, or desperately trying to get to the bathroom.


Society has convinced us that it’s okay to judge someone on their appearance, but not dogs – and if you put yourself out there like dogs, you never know who you might meet, or whose day you will brighten up.



Dogs are pack animals. They play with their pack, defend their pack, and stick with their pack; a great reminder for us human beings of what commitment looks like.


Showing respect is about treating people how you want to be treated and even loving someone when you don’t believe they deserve it. Be a loyal and dependable friend, spouse, parent or sibling. Life is already tough, you don’t always have to be.



There are plenty of things I do that my dogs don’t like. Some of them I have to do (like work), some will depend on how I’m feeling (like having the flu and not wanting to go for a walk), and other things I have to do (like stopping them from eating strange looking insects).


No matter what I do, they always forgive and cuddle me like I’m the best person in the world. They don’t hold it against me that I took away their chance of eating a strange insect. They forgive and move on.


Holding a grudge weighs you down and sucks out all your energy. Being willing to forgive and move on just makes life a little easier.



Dogs never fail to display their love for you. The moment when I’m ill, or shedding tears, my dogs are right next to me; ready to smother me with love and cuddles. Even if I scolded them for destroying my new plant, they are still willing to give wet kisses.

pretoria girl writes  - ilka steyn

Dogs’ loyalty, companionship, and unconditional love can’t be met by any human standards, but sets a great example for us to follow. Loving other people unconditionally is an extremely difficult task, but can you imagine how much better the world would be if we tried?

5 Comments Add yours

  1. Anniemation Floe says:

    I think I need to get a dog now 🙂


    1. Ilka Steyn says:

      You won’t regret it 😉


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