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What A Dog Can Teach You About Gratitude: How To Be Grateful

What A dog can teach you about gratitude: How to be grateful

A class teacher used this parable to teach her students how to be grateful and how they can live it out.

Before she began her story, she gave her students a background, so they don’t lose sight of the morals she wants them to grab from the story. Since the story centers on the instruction of gratitude, she turned to the board, and wrote, “Gratitude is an awakening to the duty of our being.” It did seem like this introduction was quite ambiguous for the students’ young minds, and so, she told them the story of a dog.


The Parable

What a dog can teach you about gratitude: How to be grateful

A man owned a dog. He found the dog while it was out in the cold; bruised and battered by predators.  He felt pity for the dog and took it home to take care of it; he feeds it, bathes it, kept it warm and caressed it when necessary to enable the dog feel that it is loved.

The man exhibited enormous amount of care for the dog. He took it to the vet to bandage its wound. The vet explained that the dog had sustained severe injury that would take some time to heal. He also stressed that its immune system had collapsed due to the harsh exposure to cold. This means they have to keep a close eye on it.

When the dog was recovered enough to live under his close scrutiny, the man took it home. But he ensured a routine-check-up with the vet to make sure the dog didn’t slip back into worse condition, and that it had enough medical care to keep it alive.

The Dog Becomes Loyal…

The dog in return became loyal to the man and cared for him. It protected him fiercely and was always on standby to do what the man wants him to do. Sometimes he could not help himself; he often fell ill but the man always came through for it. However, in spite of it all, on its sick days and moments, it never ceased to let its owner know how much it appreciated him. It would cramp at his feet, lick his face as it often does, give him a weak paw- signifying the measure of its strength.

The dog also loves the other members of the man’s family just as it loves and cares for its owner, one of them is his 3-year old daughter. It takes them as its responsibility. Just as it fiercely protects the man whom it has come to bond strongly with, it also cares for this little one, as much.

Then one day, the child in her characteristic manner throws up on her clothes while her father feeds her. The father in his anger, beat up the child that the child began to choke on her  own food. The dog stood by and watched in fury. It barked at the man, but the man got busy making sure it dealt with the child ‘adequately’ and ‘appropriately’ enough.

The Rescue

When the dog saw that its owner was going to leave a perhaps permanently devastating harm on the child; seeing the child already choking; and given its love for the child as much as for the man, it launched a full blown attack on its owner. It pounced on the man, shoved him to the floor, and repeatedly tore at his clothes. With its paws, it shoved him to the floor in full rage, in an attempt to send him far away from the child, and buy enough time to get help.

When it saw that the man was at a distant dealing with his pain. It ran to the child and seeing the child weak and struggling for her life, it ran out of the house howling and indicating to passers-by that it can trust, as it sniffs its way around them and wags its tail, signaling them to come to the rescue.

In the end, the child was rescued by the passers-by, while the man was handed over to the authorities. This means that a correctional measure would be put up, as a way to help him see the wrongs he has done and avoid repetition.

The child lived with accurate care and the man was helped as adequately as possible.


Benefits of Gratitude

This story cuts across our everyday life and helps us understand that life is beyond our close friends, families and inner circle. It is about being grateful- living out our true selves, which is the reason we all are here. The duty of our being, in all our relationships, is to love one another as we truly should, irrespective of our affinity. When a person is on self-destruct, other people are affected too. Therefore, it is pertinent, that we protect ourselves, prevent future disaster, and help them also, by speaking the truth.

kindness, with all its embers, is a selfless act. It becomes a burden around the recipient’s neck if it prevents them from living out their true selves. True gratitude can improve the quality of one’s life and one’s mental health. This is because, rather than being anxious, which leads to a wreck on the brain, you feel better and relieved for various reasons:

  • You did the right thing
  • The person is getting help
  • You have saved the world from further disaster.


This story left the students all thinking of how often they had avoided the truth because the people they love and care for, would be affected. The teacher further asserts that being grateful is in never being afraid to speak up, against all odds. She reminded them that even when they want to preserve themselves as a way to avoid being at crossfire with the person they vehemently want to protect, their conduct would be antithetical to life. While also blocking the path to being grateful.

In life everyone has a role to play, and standing idly by is not one of those roles. Contrary to what the world preaches, speaking up for someone or ourselves prevents another from dealing with the pain or trauma that arises from the path of self-destruct the perpetrator is stuck on. That is the true measure and meaning of life. Ultimately, also, this is how to be grateful. And being truly grateful is in really living out the purpose of our lives.

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