Thanksgiving this year will be different for many people. We are still living under COVID restrictions so fewer people will be travelling, visiting and generally being out and about.

My own family usually has Thanksgiving in a restaurant and this year we will be eating at home. My sister will be doing the cooking since she’s a better cook than me.

Still, the most important thing about Thanksgiving this year remains the same: it’s a time to reflect upon those things for which we are grateful.

One of the most important things in my life for which I am grateful is my dog, Jake. Jake has changed my life in a million big and small ways and, although some of those ways could be seen as negative, I am deeply grateful for all of them.

In this post, I’m sharing my top 5 reasons my dog makes me grateful this Thanksgiving.

First and foremost, I’m grateful that Jake is still with me. Now that he is ten years old I am more aware of his mortality. He has arthritis and some other health issues but he is still chugging along right by my side as he should be.

I’m thankful at how far Jake has come in his behavior. As I’ve written before, I became a dog trainer because Jake had so many behavioral issues. Ten years ago Jake stormed into my life snapping, biting and growling at me. His behavior got worse when I tried the wrong kinds of training then improved dramatically when I discovered positive training. Jake has definitely relaxed his aggressive tendencies and mellowed so much since the beginning.

I’m grateful for the life lessons my dog has provided me. He’s taught me to be more patient, less materialistic (since he broke all my stuff!), to live in the moment and appreciate the simple things in life. Living with Jake by my side has made me a better person.

Jake has taught me a ton about priorities for which I am immensely grateful. I used to prioritize things like sleeping in, having a super tidy house, making more money and things like that. It’s not that I was shallow or anything, it’s just that I only really had myself to consider so that informed how I chose my priorities. Once I adopted Jake and had not just someone else to consider but had to consider a dog that couldn’t do “normal” dog things like go to a dog park or doggy day care, I had to reevaluate what came first in my life. It was surprisingly easy to adapt my lifestyle to his needs and in most ways those changes were an improvement.

Lastly, (for now because I could probably come up with a million more things) I’m grateful that Jake inspired me to learn new skills, become a certified positive dog trainer and take my career in a new direction. Jake is the reason I became a dog training and started my business, Creature Good Dog Training, which is honestly the work I was born to do.

Dogs are amazing and a gift to have in our lives. They can teach us about love and joy and patience and so many other wonderful things.

What has your dog brought into your life that you are grateful for this Thanksgiving?