Live and Love Like A Dog
Guest post by J.P. Rippetoe

Even, and perhaps most importantly, when you act in ways that are out of alignment or cause yourself pain, show unconditional love.

There are two movies that are quoted on a regular basis in our house. The first is National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation. “The blessing” makes a regular appearance at family dinners and whenever I finish a project around the house, I proudly announce that I “fixed the newel post.” The other movie that we quote often is Steele Magnolias. This is partly due to my having worked on a production of the play years back and six months of rehearsals has embedded the lines firmly into my long-term memory. Recently the quotes from Steele Magnolias that have been coming forward most are from the funeral monologue. Our house is grieving the loss of one of our dearest friends, fellow healer and our soul sister, and, like M’Lynn, I wanted to know why. I feel blessed that as I meditate, I can often get answers, and in this case I did. The Universe let me know she had learned the lessons that she needed to learn in this life and that the lessons that she had for we who remain would best be learned through her crossing the Rainbow Bridge. One of the lessons for me is to learn to live and love like a dog, which seems apropos considering she was a veterinarian.

Be Fiercely Loyal to Your Pack

Your pack is going to be defined by you. For some, it will include a large number of family and friends, for others it will be a small clan. Regardless, loyalty is key. When a member of your pack is hurt, you circle around them and do all you can to help them to heal and protect them. This loyalty goes beyond protecting them from external forces. We all know that there have been times when we have said and done things that have been hurtful to others or ourselves. In those times, our pack needs to remain fiercely loyal to us and help us to not only see the truth of our actions but also (and maybe more importantly) see the value in who we are. It also may be the case that a member of the pack may need to have time away from the pack. This should only be done when there is discord being created and I would suggest working to resolve the issue in other ways prior.

Love Unconditionally

There is no greater example on this planet of unconditional love than a dog. I don’t think it is at all a coincidence that dog and God use the same letters. I have seen first hand this love from my own dogs. When things were the darkest in my life, my dogs loved me when it seemed that others (including myself) could not. Even in those rare times when I have been less than the ideal doggy daddy, I have been quickly forgiven and loved. Take this example and start to apply it to your pack and the world in general. When your relational partner snaps at you for doing or not doing what was expected, show unconditional love. When someone cuts you off in traffic, show unconditional love. Even when you act in ways that are out of alignment or cause yourself pain, show unconditional love.

Shake It Off

With this lesson, I am not referring to the annoyingly catchy Taylor Swift song that is most likely stuck in your head right now. I have watched my dogs when they clash with the cat or each other over something. In the moment, there is a lot of growling, barking and showing of teeth. Once it is all over, they walk away, shake their body and move on. Some level of conflict is inevitable, but how long you carry that conflict is a choice. When it shows up in your life, be able to share your point of view, try to understand the opposing perspective and, when it’s all done, shake it off.

Take Long Walks in Nature With Your Pack

We live in a digital age. As I write this, I have two laptops, an iPhone, iWatch and two headsets within easy reach. Despite all the technology, we are losing our connection with each other. The time to put the tech down and move into nature is at hand. I find that when I walk in nature with my pack, magic happens. Conversations start and flow in directions that it would never go in other circumstances. I am not sure if it’s the closeness to the plants, the abundance of fresh air or the exercise, but our hearts open in nature. Use this to your advantage, get out on a regular basis and connect with our planet and each other.

Never Miss a Chance to Wag Your Tail

Celebrate. Do it often and for as many things as you can. This is showing the Universe gratitude for the gifts it brings to you, so be grateful for everything! If your friend calls and offers to take you out for lunch – celebrate. When you find money, be it $20 or a penny – celebrate. When you are playing volleyball and the other team wins – celebrate with them. Never miss a chance to celebrate for at the end of our lives we will not be remembered for how much stuff we have, but for the memories we have created with our pack. A surefire way to create those memories is to celebrate – wag your tail.

As I move forward in my life and heal the hole in my heart left by the loss of my friend, I know that I will do so as a better man for having known her and for having learned her lessons. I appreciate my pack more now than ever before. I am sure to let them know how much I love them. I hope that you can incorporate these lessons as well. Above all else, be kind, to those in your life and to yourself.

J. P. Rippetoe, the Alchemist Life Coach, is a blogger, writer, public speaker and the owner/co-founder of NRG Concepts ( Through his company, he takes a holistic approach to providing solutions for his clients, bringing balance and bliss into their personal experience. This is done through programs that include intuitive one-on-one coaching, creating community through small group life classes and assisting clients with the energy of their space through interior decor consultation, energy clearing and clutter cleansing. J. P. lives in Pittsburgh, PA with his co-creator, Gregory, their two cats, Mischa and Sasha, and two dogs, Botti and Nicky.