Business and life lessons from a beloved labrador

After only a matter of weeks since arriving in Arizona, we learned yesterday the sad news that our beloved labrador Cookie has passed away at the age of 14. We were hoping to fly her out here next month once the intense summer heat had passed to spend the rest of her life with us. She was in fabulous hands though with dear friends of ours (who had her cousin from the same breeder) and they loved and cared for her like she was their own. She was happy and pretty healthy until she went gently to sleep.

Cookie gave us tremendous joy and unconditional love without complaint. She travelled with us everywhere. She was used to riding up cable cars in the Swiss Alps. She carefully crossed raging rivers over rickety wooden bridges. She hiked in the summer with us over mountain passes and chased us with wild abandon when we rode saucers down snowy mountain trails. And at the end of those days, she would always curl up with us in front of an evening fire.

So why am I sharing this with you? Because the busyness of life carries on when you try to run and build your business. But these moments also provide us with valuable opportunities to step back and question our own lives when we see that from one day to the next, life can change.

[blockquote author="M. Facklam" align="pull-right right"]“We give dogs time we can spare, space we can spare and love we can spare. And in return, dogs give us their all. It's the best deal man has ever made.”[/blockquote]I wanted to share with you Cookie's valuable life lessons as they are so simple and serve as a beautiful reminder to live life to the fullest each and every day.

  1. Be well rested and happy – sleep is good for you, even if it involves a quick snooze in the middle of the day.
  2. A good walk always give you a valuable boost in energy and gets your creative juices flowing too.
  3. Good grooming and first impressions count. Need I say more?
  4. Show warmth and enthusiasm when you greet people – it’s contagious and everyone gets to feel good.
  5. Tail wagging is good in both life and business – share the excitement about what you’re up to so that you inspire others to wag their tails too.
  6. Find your passion and do it again and again – have you ever noticed how tirelessly dogs will keep running and fetching the ball for you?
  7. Run after the ball with unbridled enthusiasm and you’ll gain valuable momentum in catching it even quicker.
  8. Breathe deeply – all so often we forget to breathe when stress and challenges take over. Just 30 seconds of deep rhythmic breathing will bring your emotional temperature down and help you regain balance and composure.
  9. Find your own voice! Bark, growl or howl but take a stand when something doesn’t feel right and learn to trust your instincts.
  10. Receive without feeling guilty or diminished – yes, this is the metaphorical “roll over and let someone else rub your belly”. It’s great to receive compliments, support, recognition and offers of assistance.
  11. Show up fully – if you are a Labrador, don’t try to be a Chihuahua. They have a distinct personality, own their own space fully and never apologize for exuberance and excitement.
  12. Don’t be afraid to dive right in and get covered in mud from time to time. Diving in can be heaps of fun and so what if you get dirty (it’s good for the skin anyway) - it will always clean off with a few loving licks.
  13. Show others just how much you appreciate them – a simple thank you, a special card or a pat on the back go a long way in both life and business.
  14. Make sure there is time for playing and fun in every day.

Goodbye Cookie. We learned so much from you...

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1 Comment

  1. Liz Chapin 10 years ago

    Dear Vanessa,

    I remember Cookie as a puppy.

    Warmest wishes,


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