5 Life Lessons My Rescue Dog Taught Me

I adopted Jude on Christmas Eve thinking I was doing something amazing by giving him a home. I had no idea what he’d teach me in return.

Caption here.
I never imagined learning so much from adopting Jude.

I’ve been a huge dog lover for as long as I can remember. Right now I have 3 furbabies of my own: a Dachshund, a papillon and a Chihuahua/basenji rescue.

The first 2 I got as puppies, and I only recently adopted Jude from the SPCA. I was inspired by the work of organizations such as S.N.A.R.R. Northeast, Las Vegas No Kill, and the SPCA and their missions to save lives.

So I adopted my little dude on Christmas Eve, thinking I was doing something amazing by giving him a home and a place to belong. I didn’t even begin to imagine what he’d teach me in return.

Jude has shown me time and time again that some of those proverbs about life, particularly the ones below, are more than just words.

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1. Patience is a virtue.

Our bond came about differently than it did with my other 2 dogs. The others and I bonded almost instantly. Jude, on the other hand, was distant and uncertain.

I took it personally at first, certain he’d never come near me. However, giving him the space he needed rewarded me with more affection than I could have anticipated. I get so much of it from him now that I almost can’t do anything else.

He’s taught me patience in a variety of other ways, too. I have to go slow on walks with him because he’s uncomfortable being on a leash, and I can’t get upset at him if he has an accident because it only makes it worse.

2. First impressions are not always accurate.

When we first met, he looked like a terrified lemur. He sat on the couch and watched me carefully, as if he was studying the enemy.

But in a matter of weeks, he went from mute little shelter dog to mischievous rascal. He’s chewed through his crate, torn up a corner of the linoleum, intercepts treats like a quarterback and shown a fanatical love for pepperoni pizza. He also spins when he’s excited, loves to be hugged and pees when he gets too excited or too nervous.

He has a weird obsession with chewing up toilet paper, which I still don’t entirely understand. He’s also incredibly affectionate and wants to be glued to me every second I am home.

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3. You can either let go or be dragged.

This would be literal for a larger breed, but it was more of an abstract lesson in my case. His submissive urination was a foreign concept to me, because neither of my other two pets went through it.

I got so frustrated in the beginning, especially because I knew that if I expressed the frustration it would only make it worse.

He taught me that with some problems, you have to think outside the box to find a positive, happy outcome for both of us. In this case, it meant changing up the routine when I get home, and recruiting professional help.

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Jude was shy at first but now prefers to be near me all the time.

4. Love has healing powers.

He is happy when he’s got food, water and something to chew on. However, the look of serenity that comes across his face when I’m cuddling with him is unparalleled.

The shelter I rescued him from described him as “heartbroken” when he arrived, and you could see it in his profile photo. His bright, coppery eyes were forlorn, and his ears were back in fear.

Now when I look at him, usually when he’s cradled in 1 arm like a baby, all I see is love.

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5. If you fail, try, try again.

I refuse to give up on him. The adoption counselors mentioned that there are lifetime returning rights with an adoption, but I’m in it for the long haul.

I used to be one to run from a challenge or any time things just didn’t go my way, and he’s certainly presented me with a unique set of them. But I’ve come to learn that it’s in the face of the things that make you frustrated or uncomfortable that you learn your true grit.

I may be giving this boy a home, but he has given valuable insight into myself and helped me grow as a human being.

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