Vet Blog

What Is Success?

July 27, 2022
Vet examining dog

Have you considered the definition of "success?"

At some point in our lives, we all stop getting gold stars and grades. Success in adulthood becomes vague and ambiguous. So, we figure out the things we care about and that seems to become our measure. How much ____ we have in our lives indicates success. You fill in the blank… is it travel, money, "likes", followers, size of home, quality of things, degrees, family, philanthropy, time, etc?

Or if we're not intentional, something outside of us (thank you, advertising and social media) defines what we care about. This usually leads to comparison becoming the unchecked measure of our success, which is a dangerous game! We don't really want the bigger, better, more whatever but if it seems to indicate accomplishment and success, we strive for it. Unfortunately, this disappoints since we never truly cared about it in the first place.

We project success on kids, and, whether acknowledged or not, we also project it on our pets. This isn't necessarily a bad thing! Sometimes we define success for our pets as a long, healthy life, consisting of a loving bond between pet and owner. Sometimes it's just the small things like being potty trained, eating every day, acting well-behaved in public, and having few to no annoying qualities like barking at the neighbor or attacking your feet as you walk by…

But I wonder in a pet's mind, what their definition of success is. Perhaps we could learn something from it... I imagine their list looks something like this:

  • Playing
  • Sunbathing
  • Being Unbothered
  • Sniffing
  • Digging
  • Purring
  • Getting pets
  • Napping
  • Learning
  • Catching Chipmunks, Mice, Squirrels, Rabbits
  • Bird Watching
  • Eating
  • Playing With A Friend
  • Living In The Moment

What would make the list for your furry family member?