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  • Writer's pictureSimrat Chopra Bhangoo

On reflection, the highlight for me of 2021 – well, it's a beautiful canine friendship!

It's been a journey from dog phobic to an ardent fan of dogs.

Using my therapy tools on myself when it came to fear of dogs, I have come a long way in overcoming my fear, and it's worth every effort, in my opinion.

As a result, I now have my very own canine friend, who has become my personal coach. Her teachings through observation include :

-She stays grounded in the present moment to soak in everything around her. She is present!

Teaching: Present is the space where choices exist.

-She is herself; she'll let me know when she doesn't want something, be it a hug or a walk or something else. She is assertive!

Teaching: Honest communication is the key to an authentic connection.

-She sits at her favourite warm spot with the best view of the garden and just spends quiet time gazing at the scenery. She is practising mindfulness!

Teaching: Pause during your day to enjoy your own company and share your space with calmness. Fine-tune your rhythm.

-When she is tired, she allows herself to rest. She has self-compassion.

Teaching: Be kind to yourself.

-Fireworks scare her; she comes to me seeking safety. When I give her a hug and hold her, she shows her appreciation with a kiss. She is grateful!

Teaching: Be grateful for what you have in life.

-She makes her needs and feelings known without using spoken language.

Teaching: Non-verbal communication is powerful. Love is a universal language.

The list can go on, but here is a profound lesson she taught me: As humans, we can sometimes start thinking we are superior to other animals.

Unfortunately, these judgements take us away from our abilities to learn from other animals. It's like sabotaging our own personal growth ourselves. To me, we are at our greatest when we work in unison with nature.

If you are wondering what neuroscience have to say about human interaction with their pet dogs, then here it is:

-It releases an increased level of feel-good hormones such as oxytocin, serotonin, opioids, adrenaline (all anti-stress hormones) whilst reducing the stress hormone such as cortisol.

Needless to say that many physical symptoms of stress are positively impacted, such as heart rate, heart rate variability, blood pressure, slows breathing and reduces muscle tension when interacting with your pet dog.

What have you been reflecting upon?

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