What Dogs Can Teach Us about Joy


My dog Edison was due for a physical and vaccinations recently so we headed to the vet. Edison is, in my unbiased opinion, the cutest dog ever.

He’s large and goofy with white fur and black spots. He has deep soulful eyes. He also has the funniest ears, very expressive, and usually one is lying on his head while the other is popped out like an old antenna searching for a signal.

Sadly those ears don’t actually work, so we’ve taught Edison doggy sign language.

When I take him for a walk, random strangers stop their cars to tell me how cute he is. Everyone is his friend. He even has his own Instagram account.

Edison is very exuberant and finds joy in everything we do. When Edison is happy he vibrates with joy. He wags his tail so hard his whole butt moves with him. And when he smiles, it’s a thing of beauty.

We get into the car to go to the vet and, oh my god, we’re going for a ride, it’s the best thing ever! Then we get to the vet and people are oohing and ahhing and petting him and it’s the best thing ever! The vet tech gave him a treat of liver spread on a pretzel, and it was the best thing ever! We came home and took a nice long walk and… well, you get the idea.

Seeing Edison’s joy in something as mundane as going to the vet made me reflect on how dogs seem to find joy in everything. A pat on the head, a piece of jerky as a treat, a game of tug of war, me coming home from work, a walk, seeing his best friend Buddy… it’s all very joyful for Edison.

As adults we don’t pay attention to these little things, and we lack the joyful enthusiasm we had as children. But dogs never seem to lose their sense of joy.

I might be happy to see my best friend, but I am not overwhelmed with excitement the way Edison is when he sees someone he loves.

If I have a treat I might think, this is good, but I don’t take the time or the effort to take joy in the taste of the treat or how it makes me feel. Edison does: He has some treats he will savor all day.

I’m never excited about going to the doctor. I never roll around in the grass. And I never stick my head out the window to feel the breeze when I’m in the car.

But what if I did? What if we found joy in the mundane? What if we were joyous for everything we were given? How would our attitude change if we looked for the joy in the little things of everyday life?

Today I resolve to be more joyful. To take pleasure in the simple things. To be in the moment and embrace the experience. Today I resolve to experience joy like a dog named Edison.


Rose Bak is a freelance writer, author and yoga teacher who lives in Portland, Oregon with her family and special needs dogs. As a dedicated multipotentialite, she writes on a variety of topics including self-care, aging, inspiration, business, and pop culture. She is also a published author of romantic fiction. In addition to writing, she teaches accessible yoga and sings. Sadly, she has absolutely no musical talent so she’s forced to mostly sing in the shower. For more of Rose’s work, visit her website at rosebakenterprises.com or follow her on social media @AuthorRoseBak.

Image courtesy of Blue Bird.

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