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Lessons We Can Learn from Our Pets

Picture of Ellie the Wienerdog with another picture of trash all over

Lessons Learned from Ellie the Wienerdog

Kids and canines have a lot in common, especially when it comes to being good. Just ask my little dachshund, Ellie.

It was the smell that hit me first.  Then I noticed that there was no wagging tail to greet me. The house was silent and a pungent odor hung in the air.  I knew something was very wrong.  I followed my nose into the kitchen and my jaw dropped. I gasped at both the sight and the stench of what lay before me. The entire contents of our trash compactor were strewn everywhere. Shreds of paper, meat wrappers, potato chip bags, cans, rotting produce and flies, lots of flies. My mind reeled. How on earth could a wiener dog have done all this damage? My temper rose as I set out to find the guilty party.

I called and called but there was no response. I searched the house, then the yard, then the street.  Nothing.  Anger now changed to worry. Minutes passed and my concern grew. Where could she be? Is she okay? Then something caught my eye in the far corner of the backyard. There, trembling behind a tree, was a very guilty Ellie trying to make herself as small as possible. Her sorry brown eyes peaked up at me from under her worried brows. It was a look that said, “I’m so sorry Mommy.” My heart melted and relief flooded over us both. I scooped her up in my arms and she smothered me with kisses that said over and over again, “Mommy, I’m so sorry.”

What were the lessons we each learned that day?

    No matter how bad you think the mistake your child (or dog) has made, it’s always fixable and forgivable. I forgave Ellie for making such a mess.
    We should always try to be good but when we do make a mistake we need to say we are sorry. Ellie said she was very sorry.
    Our choices, both good and bad, affect not only ourselves but all those who love us. Ellie’s bad choice upset me. My choice to forgive her made us both very happy.
    Every person (and dog) has different trigger points that tempt or upset them. Help others be good and feel good when you can. Smelling all the things in the trash tempted Ellie to make a bad choice. I now try not to tempt her by leaving really good/bad smelling stuff in the trash for any length of time.

Just like kids, Ellie is faced with choices everyday that can be good or bad.  As parents (or dog owners) we have choices on how to react and deal with those choices and our reactions can help them make good decisions in the future. At the end of each day the most important thing is that all our actions are made with love and respect for others.

PS: I now have a note on the door to remind myself to lock the trash compactor before I leave the house.


K.J. Hales is the author of the children’s book series, Life’s Little Lessons by Ellie the Wienerdog. The first two books in the series, It’s Hard to be Good” and “It’s Hard to Swim” are now available every where fine books are sold. Signed, pawtographed and personalized copies are available at https://www.opendoor-press.com/the-shop/.


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