5 things pets teach us about relationships

Pets can teach us a lot about how to make our human relationships stronger.We have a tendency to take our pets at face value. The truth is, however, they can teach us many valuable lessons in life, especially when it comes to our relationships. Why seek the advice of ancient philosophers or Eastern gurus, when we have a perfectly good therapist available right at home? They know us as well as we know ourselves and they won't go blabbing our innermost secrets to the girls in book club. Here are a few things my pets taught me about relationships.

Unconditional love - Our pets don't care that we overdrew our bank account or let the car run out of gas - again. They're in this relationship for the long haul and have the ability to see past our faults to find what it is they love about us. What better example could we find to live by in our relationships with our human partners?

Loyalty - If ever there was a lesson we could learn from our pets, it's about loyalty. Their grass is always greenest right at home, with you. They're there for you even when you're at your ugliest and are perfectly content to sit with you and cuddle night after night. They don't have the need for a change of scenery and would be appalled by the idea of "taking a break."

Forgiveness - I've never had a pet that held a grudge. No matter how long I leave them alone, they're always ecstatic to see me come home. No matter how much they hate getting a bath they always cuddle with me as soon as they're dry. Pets are the ultimate forgivers, and forgiveness is something every human relationship could use more of.

Communication - Since our pets don't have the ability to speak, we have to be creative in our communication with them. Our dogs don't bark solely to annoy us. They're communicating with us. Are they hungry? Is there someone in the yard? We listen to their vocalizations and watch their body language to figure out what's really going on. If we spent that much time and effort in communicating with our partners, we would likely understand each other better and have far fewer spats.

Love is blind - Oh, if that were only true! Our attraction to our mate often begins with physical appearance. Is he tall, dark and handsome? Does he have dimples or a great smile? Our pets don't care about any of that. They couldn't care less if we're having a bad hair day or put on five extra pounds over the holidays. And that hideous zit on our upper lip? It doesn't faze them at all - they'll kiss us just the same.

So the next time you're experiencing difficulty in a relationship, whether it's jealousy, suspicion, anger or doubt, forget about the silent treatment and resist the urge to plan your revenge. Instead, curl up with your favorite furry friend and soak up his lessons of love, loyalty and forgiveness. Then go give your partner a hug!

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