This past week we were invited to a dog birthday party at Love My Dog Resort & Waterpark in St. Petersburg, FL. Fin, the Golden, is only 6 months old and is still very much a puppy. We have learned a LOT from him over our 4 months of being puppy parents. Here are 5 life lessons we learned from taking Fin to the dog waterpark.
1. It's ok to be scared - as long as you learn to get over it.
We have been working on his fear of the water (see my last blog post about his first kayak trip) and we saw it rear its irrational head at the dog pool as well. We choose to use the 'exposure' method by putting him in the water to get him used to it and to overcome his initial fears. Fin has taught us that while we are all vulnerable and have our own fears, we must also be brave enough to face them (even if sometimes we need a little forced exposure).
2. Don't Ever, Ever, Try to Play With Another Dog's Ball.
Fin is a friendly puppy. Sometimes he borders on TOO friendly. While we most likely all mean well, sometimes one of the lessons in life we often learn the hard way is that just because we are friendly and like to share, doesn't mean EVERYONE does. It's always good practice to go in halfway and let your friend come the other half - so you meet in the middle. When we have friendships in which one person doesn't give their half, we have to just let it go and find someone who will happily share their ball with us.
3. Floppy Frisbees Just Aren't as Good as the Real Deal.
Around halfway through our time at the waterpark, I noticed a frisbee laying on the ground (amongst several other toys). Fin loves frisbees and this was an expensive and very durable brand. As I called him over to offer this awesome toy to him, I realized that it wasn't a solid frisbee, it was floppy and bendable. Fin immediately dropped it and we continued to offer it to him, with no success. I realized that he is very content with the very first small stuffed frog toy we got him 4 months ago and couldn't give a rat's behind what kind of toy it was or how expensive and 'durable' it was - it didn't smell like home and it wasn't his. It made me realize that being happy with what you have is a life lesson that can be learned by simply watching Fin play with and carry around a toilet paper roll in his mouth for hours.
4. Get to Know Your Neighbors.
If there is one thing Fin has taught us, it is that knowing your neighbors can be invaluable. Sure, some of them might not like you and they might choose not to be friendly back, but when you say hello to everyone you meet - you are bound to make friends with someone!
5. Don't be Afraid to Try to Just Stick Your Head in the Water Spout.
The most important thing we learned from watching Fin at the waterpark, was that (even though he was scared) he wasn't afraid to have FUN. There is nothing more joyful than a person (or child, or pet) truly and genuinely enjoying themselves. It's one of the most beautiful things in life - pure happiness!