By Robin Hawn Rhea, Senior Brand Manager
Our pets teach us new things every day. When we adopted our French bulldog, Finn, this time last year, we got the opportunity to learn a lot about each other. I was most surprised to observe first-hand how, in times of change, Finn embraces new experiences with a refreshing sense of gratitude. Finn came from a house full of young children before going to a house full of dachshunds, and then finally finding us. With all these changes and uncertainty, Finn had a few issues that needed patience and understanding. But when Finn sunk his teeth into this new life with what would have been tail-wagging gusto (if he had a tail), he was transformed. With a little gratitude and openness, Finn bounded forth as a delightful, well-adjusted, happy dog. His approach to life not only brought belly-rubbing joy to our lives, it also gave me a new perspective on a healthy way to take on the world.
Finn came to live with us, and it didn’t take long for Finn to learn that he had a friend and coach in Buckley, our first Frenchie. Their relationship closely mirrors that of siblings most days, and it’s clear that Finn elected Buckley to be his guide through life. Even though he seems to love annoying her just like a little brother, whenever they have had to be apart, Finn is searching for Buckley until he finds her again. When they reunite, they seem to catch up with each other through sniffing, running, barking, rolling around and wrestling. When Buckley loses patience with Finn’s adolescence, she puts him in his place. Finn doesn’t let it get him down; he learns, forgives quickly and gets back to the fun stuff as soon as possible.
Finn still has a lot of puppy in him, and so we looked for constructive ways to focus his youthful energy. Through training we learned how much Finn loves to fetch. He loves the activity and play, but his passion for toys and play means he barrels, snorts and eventually slaps a smile on to the faces of everyone he encounters. Every visitor we have in our home is welcomed by Finn and invited to join in the fun. Finn drops his ball within an arm’s length of guests, and Finn stares intensely from the person to the ball over and over until the invitation to play is accepted by throwing it. With each retrieve, Finn seems to be saying, “play with me play with me, play with me it’s lots of fun I promise!”
There is no doubt that Finn is grateful to be a PetSafe dog, coming to work with me most days. He loves to be a part of any project when we have to test products, capture photos and videos or just add his special touch of “Finn” to our culture in the office. Whatever it is, Finn is up for it. It’s so very “PetSafe” of him. He is eager to learn new products, tricks and have experiences with a zest I envy. Finn enjoys the experience of learning to do something new, and his confidence grows each time.
This is not to say that Finn doesn’t act like he thinks he is Prince George. He believes life should be full of fun, food and lots and lots of attention. He has no problem letting everyone he loves know when he wants those things. He could also make standing in line at the Department of Motor Vehciles a delightful experience by finding some way to make it super fun. If it were up to him the whole world would be Finn-friendly, including the DMV, and Busy Buddy® toys would be on every street corner. But until the world looks more like the view from Finn’s smashed-in face, we will all benefit from learning from our pets. For me that is: find a mentor you can trust, forgive, look for playmates everywhere and embrace what change can show us about ourselves. Why not get together with our friends, toss a new experience into the air, catch it, shake it with gratitude and see what it teaches us?
What are your pet’s grateful for and what have they taught you this year?