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44 Ways My Dog Taught Me How To Be A Better Human

Ella was a therapy dog, lover, healer, jokester, athlete, protector, supporter, friend, teacher and so much more. She was the most graceful dog I have ever known and she taught me a lot about life and being a better human.

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1. Don't let the past dictate your present or future.

From the moment we rescued her from a high kill rate shelter in South Los Angeles, Ella was grateful. When she had to have 3 knee surgeries before 2 years old, she remained a good sport, happy and grateful. And as she grew old and her body weakened, she was appreciative of the support yet never let her weak condition stop her from living a happy life. She lived in the moment and didn’t let the past dictate her days.
Marian Thomas

From the moment we rescued her from a high kill rate shelter in South Los Angeles, Ella was grateful. When she had to have 3 knee surgeries before 2 years old, she remained a good sport, happy and grateful. And as she grew old and her body weakened, she was appreciative of the support yet never let her weak condition stop her from living a happy life. She lived in the moment and didn’t let the past dictate her days.

2. A spoonful of peanut butter helps the medicine go down.

View this video on YouTube

Marian Thomas / Via YouTube

Ella hated medicine but loved peanut butter. Sometimes mixing the two was the best way to stay healthy and happy.

3. Love all living creatures. From big dog friends...

Marian Thomas

...and little dogs...

Ella with her daycare buddies.
Marian Thomas

Ella with her daycare buddies.

...to little humans...

Ella and her new friend. She loved kids
Marian Thomas

Ella and her new friend. She loved kids

...and tortoises.

Ella and Habibi the Tortoise's first day together and already friends.
Marian Thomas

Ella and Habibi the Tortoise's first day together and already friends.

4. Carve out time to be alone in nature.

Ella loved being a dog. She was the happiest when she had alone time with nature and her body touching the ground.
Marian Thomas

Ella loved being a dog. She was the happiest when she had alone time with nature and her body touching the ground.

5. Smile at strangers and spread some cheer.

Smiling at strangers spreads cheer and makes people feel good and Ella was good at that. Every time we went for a walk or met new people, her smile was infectious and they couldn't help but be happy around her.
Marian Thomas

Smiling at strangers spreads cheer and makes people feel good and Ella was good at that. Every time we went for a walk or met new people, her smile was infectious and they couldn't help but be happy around her.

6. Love without restraints.

Dogs love with so much enthusiasm. She always had room to love more and give more. She loved without restraints.
Marian Thomas

Dogs love with so much enthusiasm. She always had room to love more and give more. She loved without restraints.

7. Be gentle with little ones.

Ella was gentle, especially with little ones like her brother Peanut, small dogs, and strangers. She was kind and gentle with all.
Marian Thomas

Ella was gentle, especially with little ones like her brother Peanut, small dogs, and strangers. She was kind and gentle with all.

8. Sleep with abandon.

Sleep whenever and wherever you can.
Marian Thomas

Sleep whenever and wherever you can.

9. Don't run away from fireworks. They can lead to amazing relationships.

Most dogs are afraid of fireworks. Ella was too for many years. Then she met her friend Wes who showed her how much fun it could be. It also made it safer for her to be around fireworks. (Most dogs get injured on July 4th because of their fear of fireworks.) In life we will come across people who spark fireworks inside of us. Ella was brave and showed us not to be afraid to jump in and enjoy the show.
Marian Thomas

Most dogs are afraid of fireworks. Ella was too for many years. Then she met her friend Wes who showed her how much fun it could be. It also made it safer for her to be around fireworks. (Most dogs get injured on July 4th because of their fear of fireworks.)

In life we will come across people who spark fireworks inside of us. Ella was brave and showed us not to be afraid to jump in and enjoy the show.

10. You are never too old for toys.

Ella had many nicknames including Chewie as she loved to chew and sounded like Chewbacca when she played. She loved her chew toy Chewie.
Marian Thomas

Ella had many nicknames including Chewie as she loved to chew and sounded like Chewbacca when she played. She loved her chew toy Chewie.

11. Let it go.

Let it go. Don't hold grudges. Forget about your fights. Move on. Even after Ella a Rottie Mix and Shortbread a pitbull mix had a huge fight, she would forget about the fight and lay next to her sister. Ella was great at letting go.
Marian Thomas

Let it go. Don't hold grudges. Forget about your fights. Move on. Even after Ella a Rottie Mix and Shortbread a pitbull mix had a huge fight, she would forget about the fight and lay next to her sister. Ella was great at letting go.

12. Always be up for new friends.

Ella loved meeting new friends. She was nice to everyone and even in her old age when she was disabled, she was always open to meeting puppies. She was kind and patient with puppies.
Marian Thomas

Ella loved meeting new friends. She was nice to everyone and even in her old age when she was disabled, she was always open to meeting puppies. She was kind and patient with puppies.

13. Being playful keeps you young.

Ella was playful until then end. At 13 years old (93 human years) she remained playful and many people still thought she was a puppy.
Marian Thomas

Ella was playful until then end. At 13 years old (93 human years) she remained playful and many people still thought she was a puppy.

14. When you have a choice, always go for the big stick!

When it came to playing fetch with sticks, Ella always went for the big stick. Ella lived her days with the laws of attraction philosophy. She went for it.
Marian Thomas

When it came to playing fetch with sticks, Ella always went for the big stick. Ella lived her days with the laws of attraction philosophy. She went for it.

15. Sometimes to feel better, you need to do the work.

View this video on YouTube

youtube.com

Ella knew that it helped her legs and hips and she was always up for doing physical therapy. As we age we hurt ourselves and forget to do the work or claim we don't have the time. In order to feel better, we need to do the work.

16. Go where you are needed.

From a young age, Ella always went where she knew she was needed. She was a healing dog and was always up for providing TLC when needed.
Marian Thomas

From a young age, Ella always went where she knew she was needed. She was a healing dog and was always up for providing TLC when needed.

17. Always find a soft spot to sit on.

As we age our bones and joints will thank us. Physical comfort is key to happiness as you age.
Amber Kothe

As we age our bones and joints will thank us. Physical comfort is key to happiness as you age.

18. Bundle up when it’s cold...

Marian Thomas

...or cuddle with loved ones to keep warm.

Marian Thomas

19. Let others help you.

View this video on YouTube

Marian Thomas / Via YouTube

As she aged, Ella was kind in letting people help her. She actually enjoyed acupuncture. See for yourself.

20. Show appreciation to those who help you.

Ella was a grateful dog and loved to show people how much she appreciated them.
Marian Thomas

Ella was a grateful dog and loved to show people how much she appreciated them.

21. Give your friends a nudge when they need it.

Ella was an excellent motivator.
Marian Thomas

Ella was an excellent motivator.

22. Take a nap when you are a tired.

Your mood and energy will shift when you listen to your body. Ella listened to her body most of the time. She napped when she needed to. Especially after the beach.
Marian Thomas

Your mood and energy will shift when you listen to your body. Ella listened to her body most of the time. She napped when she needed to. Especially after the beach.

23. Shake the hand that feeds you.

Ella was always up for shaking and showing her appreciation for where her food and shelter came from.
Marian Thomas

Ella was always up for shaking and showing her appreciation for where her food and shelter came from.

24. Staying fit keeps you young.

Ella loved to exercise and was active even in her old age. She loved to walk, run, swim, play fetch and chase squirrels.
Marian Thomas

Ella loved to exercise and was active even in her old age. She loved to walk, run, swim, play fetch and chase squirrels.

25. Hiking is good for the mind and body.

Ella loved to hike.
Marian Thomas

Ella loved to hike.

26. Always strive for the top. The view is better.

Ella loved to climb and take on challenges. Regardless of how she felt, she pushed herself and at the end, always had a huge smile on her face.
Marian Thomas

Ella loved to climb and take on challenges. Regardless of how she felt, she pushed herself and at the end, always had a huge smile on her face.

27. Don't be afraid to lead.

Ella was an excellent pack leader, training dog and teacher. She was the captain of the ship.
Marian Thomas

Ella was an excellent pack leader, training dog and teacher. She was the captain of the ship.

28. Be still. Be Silent.

Ella loved to meditate. Her reserved silence and stillness was calming and soothing.
Marian Thomas

Ella loved to meditate. Her reserved silence and stillness was calming and soothing.

29. Make your friends feel special.

Ella knew how to make her friends feel special. She provided a lot of love and affection. She remembered the ones that made a mark on her and she was grateful for the friendship.
Marian Thomas

Ella knew how to make her friends feel special. She provided a lot of love and affection. She remembered the ones that made a mark on her and she was grateful for the friendship.

30. Be protective of your home and family.

While Ella was kind quiet and gentle she had a deep bark, a ferocious growl and was protective of her friends and family.
Marian Thomas

While Ella was kind quiet and gentle she had a deep bark, a ferocious growl and was protective of her friends and family.

31. The ocean makes you feel better.

Ella loved the ocean. She loved to watch the waves, ride the waves and just sit and enjoy the sea air. Every time I go to the ocean, I feel the same. I sometimes forget living in Southern CA how accessible the beach is to us.
Marian Thomas

Ella loved the ocean. She loved to watch the waves, ride the waves and just sit and enjoy the sea air. Every time I go to the ocean, I feel the same. I sometimes forget living in Southern CA how accessible the beach is to us.

32. A simple touch can show someone you care.

Sometimes our actions mean more than our words. Ella was great with small gestures going a long way. Peanut was moody and cranky and Ella had a way of calming him.
Marian Thomas

Sometimes our actions mean more than our words. Ella was great with small gestures going a long way. Peanut was moody and cranky and Ella had a way of calming him.

33. Never lose your childlike wonder and awe of things.

Ella got excited about everything. She was curious and always in awe of things like a child or puppy seeing it for the first time. She loved to LIVE.
Marian Thomas

Ella got excited about everything. She was curious and always in awe of things like a child or puppy seeing it for the first time. She loved to LIVE.

34. Taking a good selfie takes practice. Always Smile.

Ella loved selfies and loved to smile.
Marian Thomas

Ella loved selfies and loved to smile.

35. Exercise with friends is more fun.

Ella loved to play and when she was young loved to play rough at the beach. Exercise was always more fun when we had friends around.
Marian Thomas

Ella loved to play and when she was young loved to play rough at the beach. Exercise was always more fun when we had friends around.

36. Everyone needs time for reflection.

Ella liked to sit and reflect a lot. She was a zen master.
Marian Thomas

Ella liked to sit and reflect a lot. She was a zen master.

37. You can get by with a little help from your friends.

When it got bad, Ella needed help walking. She was grateful and wanted to walk farther. Her mind was willing but her body was not. When she needed the assistance she got by because she had a lot of friends who wanted to help her. She was open to accepting the help which helped her live a happier and longer life.
Marian Thomas

When it got bad, Ella needed help walking. She was grateful and wanted to walk farther. Her mind was willing but her body was not. When she needed the assistance she got by because she had a lot of friends who wanted to help her. She was open to accepting the help which helped her live a happier and longer life.

38. Let others lean on you.

Sometimes you need to be stronger for others and being a good friend is when you can let others lean on you. Ella was a good friend and a good example to us all.
Marian Thomas

Sometimes you need to be stronger for others and being a good friend is when you can let others lean on you. Ella was a good friend and a good example to us all.

39. Missing loved ones is hard, but gets easier when you are with friends.

Ella missed me when I had to go to work, but it got easier when hung out with her BFF Floyd.
Marian Thomas

Ella missed me when I had to go to work, but it got easier when hung out with her BFF Floyd.

40. Don't have your head to the ground. Look up. You might see something beautiful.

...or in Ella’s case you might see a squirrel.
Marian Thomas

...or in Ella’s case you might see a squirrel.

41. Never Grow Up.

Ella kept forgetting her size. Like Buddy the Elf, she was always too big for the places she wanted to rest in.
Marian Thomas

Ella kept forgetting her size. Like Buddy the Elf, she was always too big for the places she wanted to rest in.

42. Best friends come in all shapes and sizes.

Ella was a good friend. She never judged a creature or person and when it came to her close friends like Peanut, she was the best!
Marian Thomas

Ella was a good friend. She never judged a creature or person and when it came to her close friends like Peanut, she was the best!

...and species.

Ella and Habibi became the best of friends. They loved to hang out together often.
Marian Thomas

Ella and Habibi became the best of friends. They loved to hang out together often.

43. Relax on the weekend with some music and a siesta in the garden.

View this video on YouTube

youtube.com

Ella loved to sit and listen to the blues in the garden while I tended to it. She was a blues dog.

44. Be Happy.

Ella was happy. In almost every picture she smiled because every day she smiled and provided joy to everyone around her.
Marian Thomas

Ella was happy. In almost every picture she smiled because every day she smiled and provided joy to everyone around her.

Here she is smiling first thing from a nap...

...because she was so happy.
Marian Thomas

...because she was so happy.

Smiling for every car ride...

Ella loved adventures and loved car rides.
Marian Thomas

Ella loved adventures and loved car rides.

Ella was a happy dog from childhood...

Marian Thomas

...to her old age. She always had an infectious smile on her face.

Marian Thoms

Ella was my Best Friend.

No one will ever know the relationship between a man/woman and his/her dog. There are those who own dogs but don’t really get it and there are the dog people. I’ve had many dogs growing up from childhood and can san say I have been a faithful dog person but never in my life did I ever have the honor of raising and living with a dog as faithful and graceful as Ella.
Marian Thomas

No one will ever know the relationship between a man/woman and his/her dog. There are those who own dogs but don’t really get it and there are the dog people. I’ve had many dogs growing up from childhood and can san say I have been a faithful dog person but never in my life did I ever have the honor of raising and living with a dog as faithful and graceful as Ella.

...and the epitome of pure love.

She was a blessing and her life lessons will always stay with me. Rest in peace my dear Ella. Thank you for the 13 years of loyalty and friendship you gave to me.
Marian Thomas

She was a blessing and her life lessons will always stay with me. Rest in peace my dear Ella. Thank you for the 13 years of loyalty and friendship you gave to me.

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