About This Book

Dogs have always been considered companions and playmates that brighten and enrich our lives but they are also wonderful and amazing teachers.  The lessons we learn from our canine friends come in all shapes and sizes, just like they do.  In this book, dog lovers share what they have learned from our greatest heroes and healers.  Chicken Soup for the Soul: What I Learned from the Dog will delight readers with humorous, heartwarming, and inspiring stories about lessons our canine friends and family members have taught us.

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Man’s best teacher: 5 life lessons learned from the dog

Inspired by Chicken Soup for the Soul: What I Learned from the Dog

By Jack Canfield, Mark Victor Hansen and Amy Newmark, with a foreword by Wendy Diamond, pet lifestyle expert as seen on Today and Greatest American Dog

Dogs can be the best teachers. Learning from our animals is painless and fun, heartwarming and occasionally heartbreaking, but always rewarding. Our dogs are important members of our families. They act as confidants, friends, and even as therapists after a tough day. And their simple view of life pares it down to the essentials — love, companionship, food, shelter and play. While we teach "sit" and "stay" to our dogs, sometimes it’s our canine companions who offer the most valuable lessons. So the next time it’s raining and your dog needs to be walked, consider these lessons from the 101 stories of wisdom in Chicken Soup for the Soul: What I Learned from the Dog:

1. Enjoy life. Elizabeth Cutting reluctantly took over the care of her grandmother’s Golden Retriever. She had no idea the dog would change her life by teaching her about integrating her "inner dog." But over the years, through the ups and downs of her life, that priceless dog taught her through example, showing her how to approach every day with "gusto," "live in the moment," "forget the bad, remember the good," and most importantly, "forgive mistakes — every one of them, every time."

2. A little encouragement goes a long way. Living through hardship can really take its toll on your self-confidence and outlook on life. Christine Trollinger, already a shy and introverted child, was struck with polio from a bad batch of vaccines. Turning to her dog for comfort, she soon realized his playful nature was actually his way of getting her out of bed and onto the path to recovery. Motivated by his barks and encouragement, Christine learned to walk again, with her dog acting as her physical therapist. If a friend or family member is going through tough times, be active in their life. Even if the gesture is as small as a note or a phone call, it can mean the world to your loved one.

3. Give a little love. Joe Atwater’s dog had an affinity for tormenting the neighborhood cats with playful games meant to chase them out of the Atwaters’ yard. While Matty never harmed the felines, Joe always assumed his dog would never interact with a cat directly, much less care for it. One night, Matty stumbled upon an injured, stray cat, trembling fearfully. While Joe decided to ignore the cat, Matty persuaded him to feed and care for the cat, leading Joe to adopt him. Amazed at Matty’s compassion, Joe was forever affected by this selfless gesture from his dog. Even when confronted by people who might not share the same interests, always have compassion for them. It can lead to friendships that last a lifetime.

4. Don’t judge a book by its cover … or a dog by its coat. Susanne Fogle’s dog, Nathaniel, wasn’t the prettiest, but Nathaniel knew how to win over strangers: be personable, smart and gentle. When Susanne lost him she worried: "He was wearing a nametag, but he was so ugly, I was afraid no one would bother to help him." Much to Suzanne’s surprise, a person in an affluent neighborhood found him, and due to Nathaniel’s great personality, would have claimed him if no one came forward. Just as Nathaniel’s persona earned him friends and admirers everywhere he went, focusing on your inner qualities is worth more than outward appearance.

5. Tackle the hill, even when it’s tough. Michelle Cushatt’s obstacle was a 2-mile uphill running trail she always had difficulty completing. Michelle and her dog, Nika, attempted to conquer the trail, but were hit with a difficult stretch. Sensing that she and Nika were waning, she shouted words of encouragement to her dog, unleashing extra energy. With Nika’s newfound confidence, Michelle was inspired to push forward. "Uphill climbs come in all shapes and sizes, common only in their ability to defeat, discourage and tempt tired travelers to quit," she says. "Sometimes all that’s needed is a few aptly spoken, well-timed words of encouragement from a fellow runner." Michelle’s story proves that just a little hope can inspire incredible things. Keep a positive outlook on difficult situations — it could prove helpful when you need it most.

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