Embracing My Inner Dog

Being A Perfectionist

My Dad was a perfectionist, and a worrier, which probably stood him in great stead as he was in the military for 40 years. I’ve always wondered who in the family I take after the most and when my Dad passed away, I began to realise where I get so many of my characteristics from.

His love of precision, straight lines, architecture, photography, music, order in everything, symmetry, neatness (a place for everything and everything in its place) and gadgets, all these things I learned from my Dad.


My step-mum gave me a book that she had bought for my Dad. The book is called “The Wabi-Sabi House“, its about the Japanese art form of seeing the beauty in imperfection. I started reading it when I was first very unwell with ME/CFS. I began to realise that my perfectionism and internal critic, were, more than likely, a major factor in me having this condition and they were going to be the hardest thing to ‘recover’ from.

Finding My Inner Dog

So, what does this have to do with dogs? I hear you ask.

Well, since we have had Barney, it is slowly dawning on me that life is too short to be perfect and, in fact, life isn’t perfect and neither are we.

Dogs aren’t perfect, dogs don’t appear to have an internal critic either, dogs live in the here and now. They don’t worry whether they are good enough for their owners. They just don’t worry. They are happy if you feed and exercise them, and they are with you and loved.

Resting with Barney

Resting with Barney

So I’m learning, from Barney, to go with the flow, trying to get everything so perfect uses up so much energy both physically and mentally, which I just don’t have. Now, I join Barney when he sleeps on the sofa and rest with him, the dishes can wait. Muddy paw prints, wet leaves in the hallway, dog hairs on the sofa, will all reappear just as quickly as you wipe them off. Slowly, I’m realising that being perfect is not helping me get better, but learning new ways doesn’t happen overnight and that taking small steps is the way forward.

With Barney I’m beginning to enjoy life again, to find fun and laughter in the small things and to worry less, he accepts me just as I am, his love is unconditional, he is always happy to see me. He loves me and all my imperfectness.

We spend a lot of time teaching our dogs new tricks, when really, there this so much we can learn from them.


  1. Richard Pettitt

    Very true Michelle, maybe we should spend more time eating, catching balls and having our bellies rubbed! No worries. 🙂

    • Michelle

      Haha, now wouldn’t that be lovely :o)

  2. Camille Jeanmonod

    Love it, I have always love dogs and how they can simply help you get back to the essential. Good luck on your journey

    • Michelle

      Thank you Camille, dogs having a wonderful ability to sense how we are feeling, don’t they?

  3. Kevin

    Such a lovely and comforting post. I think I need a dog again, I had a Jack Russell when I was a child. He was ace, temperamental but ace :0)

    • Michelle

      Thanks Kevin, sounds like it might be time for another dog? 😉


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