Living is different than life. Living a better life can start with a change as simple as paying attention to your pets because they have their priorities straight, namely love, food, shelter, fun and, maybe, a new stuffed toy. If we pay attention, they have much to teach us about what is really important when it comes to living well.

Dog wisdom:

  • Let people touch your soul. Give people an opportunity to impact your life. Who knows how someone else might make a positive difference in your life or open you up to new adventures?
  • Take time to play. Playing improves creativity, productivity and every relationship.
  • Be happy and let everyone know. Happiness is contagious; spread it around. Be generous in sharing your joy.
  • Loyal and faithful. Let your loved ones know they can always count on you. No matter how bad the day is, you know your dog is right there to offer comfort.
  • Quick to forgive. Hanging onto slights and transgressions eats away at you, not the person who inflicted the damage.
  • Love unconditionally. This one doesn’t need an explanation.
  • Don’t judge. Dogs love everyone regardless of skin color, political leanings, sexual orientation, religious beliefs, and anything else that makes people different from you.
  • Stretch before rising. Your muscles and connective tissue will appreciate you for it. You will be less likely to cramp up while playing.
  • Stop and smell the roses, bushes, grass and so forth. Appreciate the world around you. Take time to look around and see the beauty in the world.
  • Listen to others. There have been studies linking self-confidence to how well you listen to others. The more you listen, the more you learn and your confidence will grow.
  • Be clear in your wants and attention. Don’t make people guess—often times incorrectly—about what you want. Tell them.

Birds’ Wisdom:

  • Anytime is a good time to sing and dance. Did you know that when a group of people sings together, they synchronize heart and breathing rates? Singing is a very complex activity in which you can fire up all brain synapses at one time. It’s difficult to concentrate on anything but singing while doing it. It allows you to be fully in the present. Worries and problems fade away. It functions as a form of meditation.

Cat Wisdom:

  • It’s ok to be pampered. Let other people do for you. Accept that shoulder rub from your significant other.
  • It’s not necessary to carry the weight of the world on your shoulders alone. Don’t keep emotions bottled up inside. Shred that curtain.
  • Take care of yourself. It’s not possible to achieve your full potential when your body, mind or soul is in disrepair.
  • Set standards for life and work. Personal and professional growth comes from actively participating in raising the standards.

While the list for dogs may surpass that of cats and birds, the lessons are equally important. The next time you are looking for the meaning of life, look no further than your pets.

Mary Oquendo is a Reiki master, advanced crystal master and certified master tech pet first aid instructor. She is the owner of Pawsitive Education and Spirited Dog Productions. She can be reached at