How My Dog Teaches Me To Be Present


I was sitting in bed late at night. My dog was laying in bed next to me, her head on my leg. I had my phone in my hand scrolling through Instagram. It’s a bad habit. I was watching an ad of all things with my hand on Ava, stroking her face. Then, I realized how ridiculous the entire moment was. My lovely, temporary dog in a perfect temporary moment was slipping past me, because I was watching an ad on Instagram. I felt a little disgusted with myself. I couldn’t believe I had just chosen Instagram over my dog. I also couldn’t believe that I wasn’t being present with the dog I share my life with. I immediately put my phone down, looked at her, and I apologized while petting her better.

I believe dogs can feel our energy. I make it a point to apologize to her each time I feel I could have done better, so she can understand on some level.

Do you have a dog? Do you have a body that you’re currently living in?

I have some big news for you. Both your body and your dog are going to die. I don’t know when, and I don’t know how, but I guarantee this will happen.

I’ve watched my dog, Ava, age. It is a dance between being heartbroken, grateful, and present. When I look over at her, I try to burn the memory into my brain. I don’t know how old she is. She had a life before me, and I had a life before her. But, right now, this is our time. This is the life we’re spending together.

I am brutally reminded of the things I could do better, and I am forgiven so gently and immediately each time. I have a hard time doing things sometimes. I get depressed, and I stay in bed. Or sometimes this looks like working a lot, and making time for nothing else. I ask myself the question, why do I do this to myself? Why am I creating an environment that doesn’t allow for quality time with Ava? She doesn’t get it, and that’s hard.

The only thing I can do when this happens is to get over it immediately and be present. Dogs don’t dwell. As soon as I realize my mistake, I take the moment to approach Ava and love on her.


As I watch her age, I’m reminded that this is it. The moment I’m living with her is the most important one every time. The past in reference to a dog is just a drop in the bucket of time, and even if I had 20 years with her, I can’t get back the years past. Knowing that my beloved dog has (probably) less time on this Earth than I do, forces me to grab her by the cheeks, look her in the eye, and soak her in.

Sometimes, and I don’t know how I get so lucky, but sometimes, she gives me the same look right back.

Christina GrayComment