Just over a year ago as we came out of lockdown, my partner and I adopted a puppy.
Angus is a black lab crossed with a collie and a bundle of energy even now at 15 months old.
He's not lucky enough to go to doggy daycare but spends his days at home most likely being teased by the cat we adopted three days before we got him.
Angus isn't just a pet, he also has a job to do. When May rolls around he's tasked with fetching ducks shot over a pond in the Waikato.
My partner was so proud when he fetched his first duck this year and he's going to be a good duck dog if his fetching skills are anything to go by.
Owning a puppy means putting in the effort to train them and teach them.
You teach them how to sit, stay, fetch and come, to not chase the cat (a work in progress) and not to dig holes in the yard (also a work in progress).
But in the past year, Angus has also taught us a thing or two. In no particular order, here are a few things I've learned from owning a bundle of fur.
First of all, there is always a reason to be excited.
It doesn't matter if I'm tired or had a few too many drinks the night before, Angus is always thrilled to see me. When we let him out of his house in the morning he runs circles around us with excitement, when we come home from work it is the highlight of his day.
We should take a leaf out of his book.
Secondly, he's taught us to be active rain or shine.
A dog doesn't care what the weather is like, it just wants to walk. So it's taught us to don a raincoat or a warm jacket and get out and about no matter the weather.
He's also showed us to enjoy the little things. He, like most dogs, loves a bone and is a big cuddler. Those little moments make him so excited and that rubs off on us and puts a smile on our faces.
He's also showed me how to balance work and play and even make them the same thing.
As I said, he's a duck dog and when duck shooting starts he has a job to do. But he loves swimming out into a swamp and fetching and of course getting lauded with "good boys" because of it. It is like work and play in one for him.
Finally, Angus has shown us rules are made to be broken if doing so makes you happy.
It is the worst lesson he's taught us I think and it's one I wish he didn't know.
Angus isn't allowed to dig holes, but he loves it.
He isn't allowed to chase the cat, but he loves it.
He isn't allowed to rule the house and when inside he has to sit on his mat, but he loves walking over to the sofa for a pat without being invited.
He loves these banned activities, so he does them anyway.
Even if it results in being told off the enjoyment is worth it.
So whether your dog is at doggy daycare or at home, take a leaf out of their book and get excited about the little things, be active, and break the rules.