How My Sprit Animal Taught Me to be a Better Human

How My Sprit Animal Taught Me to be a Better Human

I have a 6-year-old, high-spirited, Jack Russell Terrier. She's so happy and hyper that we appropriately named her Sugar, nicknamed Shugg.

Shugg is more than a dog to me. She's my daughter, comrade, cheerleader, the Scooby to my Shaggy, my squirrel-chaser. Forever waiting for me to get home, so she can jump up on me, kiss me without warning and motion me to the living room to play catch with her and her toys (yeah, we play in the house. She'd never stop running if we played outside).

It is through having Shugg that makes me want to be a better person to others:


Sometimes, just like all of us, I have extremely depressing days. Days when I don’t want to talk to or be around anyone. And because Shugg can sense it, and knows me better than most, she sits by my side instead of begging for my attention.

We sometimes get caught up in the moment of being upset and wanting to stay upset. There have been times when I really didn’t feel like entertaining this attention-craved dog. Yelling at her to "Go away, leave me alone," isn’t a fair response to a pet that didn’t ruin my day. Even on my worst days, I always make it point to acknowledge her and spend a few minutes playingcatch

There will be people happy to see us, even on our worst days. You never know how you can offend someone who simply seeks acknowledgment from you. The moments in life that make us the strongest are the ways in how we respond to the most difficult situations. Because ultimately, you never know the next time you'll see someone or how long you'll share life with them; make it a goal to at least try to be positive.


Complaining can put you in a scarcity mindset while gratitude can illustrate the abundance you have in life. Compared to humans, dogs don’t have long life expectancies. They're lucky to live to be 19yrs., 20yrs. Think about your life during that age and how far you've come. This shift in perspective can minimize the problems we have in our lives and turn them into a moment of thankfulness.

It’s the smallest things Shugg does that makes me think of happiness, such as watching her running around the house, having the time of her life with a stuffed animal. She doesn’t know of sadness, only when's she sick. Or when she's pretending she's been starving for weeks when she sees me eating. But other than the fake-fasting theatrics, she is the happiest creative I've ever met in my entire life.


Impatient is my middle name. I always feel like I'm in a hurry to get through life. I could not wait to skip through high school, leap past internships and graduate college, just to work every day for 20-30 years. Working a 9-5 forces me to live in the moment, which isn’t easy. I still find ways to rush (commuting, finishing assignments, eating lunch), and it is through this action that I often experience anxiety.

Having Shugg has forced me to take my time more with what's happening now. One of the least-favorite traits of Shugg is her stubbornness. It felt like it took me FOREVER to house-break her outside, teach her tricks and communicate the most important commands to her: “sit”, “come here”, “Sugar, I better not catch you sniffing through those bags.” Instead of getting frustrated, I had to learn patience with her day by day. Relaxing in the present shows me how to enjoy every moment with a best friend who grows older much quicker than I do, and to enjoy each day of my life a little more.

Point is, find you a spirit animal who makes you feel warm inside and won't let squirrels block your blessings.

Love: In 100-Word Nutshell

Love: In 100-Word Nutshell