Now, I'm not exactly one of those people who considers my dog to be my child (we did, however, have professional photos taken of him after we got him two years ago --- shout-out to Adelaide Pet Photo for the photos in this post). I know that having children is far more profound/challenging/heart-exploding than having a dog, but still, I love him, and he's taught me a lot of important things about love and marriage.
Greetings are important. No matter how long I've been gone/how long I've left him alone, Rhino is always butt-wiggly excited to see me when I walk in the door to our apartment. He makes coming home sweet --- especially after busy, stressful days. I wish I could channel Rhino's enthusiasm for me into the way I greet my husband when he comes home from work. I imagine our apartment would be a warmer, sweeter place if I made it my consistent business to welcome my husband home with enthusiasm, regardless of the day we've had.
Remember to ask. There are several tricks that Rhino does really well. "Sit," "touch" and "shake" are his go-to tricks. However, "lay down" and "roll over" are not his strengths, and I think I know why --- it's because we don't ask him to do those things very often. Every now and again when I revisit "roll over" with him, I'll get frustrated that it takes him several --- or many --- attempts to get it right. But I shouldn't get frustrated with him for getting out of practice with a trick I haven't consistently asked him to do. And, I can't expect Rhino to know what I want him to do if I don't tell him to do it. It's the same in marriage --- how can I expect my husband to know what I want or need if I don't communicate those things to him on a regular basis? Sadly, neither dogs or humans are mind-readers. If we want or need something from them, we have to ask.
Go all-in. One of the best things about Rhino is that he is a "yes" dog. I don't mean that he's super obedient (we're working on that one....kind of...), but rather that whenever I approach him to snuggle or play, he says "yes." He's all-in and seemingly up for whatever it is that I want to do. I like to think that this is because he likes to spend time with me. My husband and I have many things in common, but sometimes our leisure-time preferences can be polar-opposites of one another. Sadly, when it comes to spending time together, my husband is more of a "yes" spouse than I am. He watched all 10 seasons of "Friends" with me because it's a show I loved, has gone to restaurants that wouldn't be his choice because I wanted to try it, and even brought home Rhino before he thought we should have a dog because I so desperately wanted one (some day I'll share the story of how Rhino came into our family). I, on the other hand, could be better at going all-in with things my husband loves to do (like listening to country music, going on long walks and seeing movies where people/things are blowing up). So, I hope that in the years to come I become more of a "yes" wife, because I imagine a marriage of two all-in "yes" spouses would be an awesome thing.
So, there you have it --- love lessons from my Rhinoceros. Now, if you'll excuse me, I have a puppy snuggle-nap to get to.