Five Things You Can Learn From A Pet Owner

As we prepare to add another dog to our family, I’ve been thinking about how much pets give back to us. They add layers and richness to our existence, they teach us about ourselves and deepen the human experience. I am feeling especially grateful for all the animals that have passed through my life, so I thought I’d share a few of the things I’ve learned as a pet owner:

  • The physical stuff we fill our homes with isn’t what’s important. We settle for duct taping our couch instead of buying a new one, buying clothes and carpets that match our pet hair so its less noticeable, instead of being fashionable or trendy.

pet camouflage!


  • The most important judge of character is how you treat other living beings. While we realize not everyone is an animal lover, you will lose humanity points with us for ignoring our pets when you’re in their home. If you can’t be bothered to give a little affection to an animal, we probably don’t want you around our children, either.

  • Nonverbal communication is just as important as what you say. Knowing what your pet needs by reading their body language is an acquired skill, one that is useful in dealing with people, also.

photo by Dani Jace WanaCommons


  • Don’t be afraid of love. We put our hearts out there, knowing pets aren’t blessed with our long life spans. There will be heartbreak at the end of our journey together but love is what makes life worthwhile.

Photo by Amber West WanaCommons

  • Love requires attention. It is not a passive emotion, love is a verb. The nudge of a cold nose when it’s time for a play break is a great reminder.

Time to play yet?

“All animals except man know that the ultimate of life is to enjoy it.” -Samuel Butler

What have you learned as a pet owner? Please share!

10 thoughts on “Five Things You Can Learn From A Pet Owner

  1. Christian M. Lyons

    What a wonderful article! As an adult pet companion (3 giant breed dogs) and canine behavioral coach – and as a man living as a high-functioning autistic – I can attest to all of the elements you mention here, especially reading an animal’s body language. I have difficulty reading social cues and facial expressions…that is, until I learned to “read” dogs. Now I function at a much healthier level in public and am constantly looking to my dogs for their reactions to situations so that I know what the real issue might be, and how I might respond. Thank you for posting this!

    1. Shannon Esposito Post author

      Thanks for stopping by, Christian! That’s a good point about watching your dog to see how they respond to people…dogs are so good at picking up on cues, emotions, reactions that we miss. Hope your three big babies are doing well! xoxo

  2. Ginger Calem

    Love the pictures. I totally agree that you can tell so much about a person by how they treat animals. That last picture … MELT!!! Which dog is coming next? Another dane? A puppy? Details! (Or have you already mentioned all of this and I missed the party?)

    1. Shannon Esposito Post author

      LOL, Ginger…I haven’t mentioned it. We’re on a waiting list for an american mastiff puppy. I love my rescue dog, but she’s very dominant so we have to make sure we know the personality traits of the companion we pick for her. Should be around Dec. or Jan. Don’t worry, you’ll get sick of seeing puppy pics when he arrives…lol.

  3. Serena Dracis

    Love, love, love this post! So true! My furniture is draped with washable throws to help minimize the hair. My couch is piled with obstacles to keep the dogs off…because my geriatric Belgian will still attempt to jump up on it and his hips and knees just can’t take it. So when people come over, which is rare (we aren’t indoor entertainers) I have to gather the obstacles and peel back the covers to expose the hair-free couch cushions hiding beneath. 🙂

  4. Shannon Esposito Post author

    Oh, Serena, a girl after my own heart. Love it! It’s so hard when they get older, isn’t it? They still have the puppy spirit.

  5. Karen McFarland

    Aw Shannon, now you’ve tugged at my heartstring. Those animal pics are adorable. How can anyone say they don’t love animals? Unfortunately, at the moment, we are not allowed to have an animal where we are leasing. But that doesn’t mean we don’t miss having an animal. The neighbors have the cutest cat that they share with us as she likes to sleep on top of our BBQ. My husband has taken pictures zonked out on top. It’s hilarious. So at least we get to enjoy someone else’s animal. 🙂


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