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7 valuable life lessons our dogs can teach us

A constant source of love and amusement, dogs are so much more than just pets; they’re a cherished member of the family – and it turns out we can learn a lot from them…

Peanut & Marmite

They may not be able to talk but ask just about any dog owner if their pooch has taught them a thing or two, and it’s likely you’ll be met with a resounding, “Yes”. Whether it’s the importance of companionship, the power of spending more time outdoors or even having the confidence to overcome your fears, we can all learn a lot from our 4-legged friends. In fact, that’s the main reason why Winalot® launched Great British Dogs.

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The campaign sees real families sharing stories celebrating their furry heroes for their chance to feature on the Great British Dogs website and to even win some amazing prizes. And to re-emphasise just how brilliant our dogs are, we asked MadeForMums families to share the precious life lessons their pooches have taught them. The responses were seriously heart-warming, so you’re advised to have some tissues at the ready…

Love is unconditional

A girl throwing a tennis ball to a dog

“For as long as I can remember, my family has had dogs – especially German Shepherds,” says Fay. “They are the most kind, caring and loyal dogs and they taught me that love is unconditional. They love you on your good days and your bad days. They don’t care what you look like or how you smell, they forgive and forget and always listen when you need someone to talk to. Now, being a mother myself, I’m so privileged that I can share that same unconditional love with my children.”

You are braver than you realise

Two dogs on a wooden floor

“Our Mavis is a rescue dog from Romania and is very nervous in new situations,” Aly says. “She is 8 years old now, but still hides under the coffee table if somebody new enters the house. I never let her off her lead when I take her out for a walk, as spotting a new dog can send her high-tailing home. As I suffer from anxiety, I can totally understand her, but when she overcomes her anxiousness and finally makes a new friend, my heart warms. She has taught me so much about bravery and how important it is to try to overcome your fears.”

Don’t be afraid to try new things

A child and dog lying on the grass

“I never truly knew how much love a dog could bring until Barnaby came into our lives,” Jenny enthuses. “He’s inspired me to write a series of books for my children, which are all about the fun and naughty things he gets up to – like stealing and eating a loaf of bread off the side, attempting to chase squirrels and his fear of snow! He’s taught me that love isn’t just for people, it’s for animals too – especially dogs! Without him, my life wouldn’t be what it is, and my children wouldn’t have a best friend.”

It's stories like these that inspired Winalot’s Great British Dogs campaign. If you have one yourself, head over to the website – or keep reading to discover more heart-warming dog stories.

Never give up

A dog having its head stroked

“Nakoma, my darling Malamute, lost his sight at a young age,” explains Athena. “He was put onto medication to help regain his vision but that only made him lose weight and almost cost him his life. Despite all this, he never gave up and he never stopped smiling. He showed tremendous courage and, even on the last day of his life, he continued to fight. It’s something I have continued to learn from him.”

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Friends are everywhere

A dog sat by a gate

“I relocated to the countryside to live on my own with my beloved young Spaniel, Jester. I had a small, enclosed garden, however he quickly learned how to unlatch my rickety gate and would be off,” says Julie. “Although I was new to the area, Jester and I became known locally very quickly – if I wasn’t spotted running after him or calling his name, I’d be knocking on neighbours’ doors embarrassingly asking if they’d seen him.

“I couldn’t afford a new gate, so tried various methods to secure it but somehow he still managed to escape. One day, a local farmer recognised him and brought him back to me. He thought it was hilarious and was kind enough to properly fix my gate and make it Jester-proof. We have been firm friends ever since. Jester has made me more friends than I would ever have made alone and has really helped me become part of a community.”

Patience is a virtue

A dog yawning over a dog bowl

“My dog came to me as a 5-week-old baby with severe food aggression and other issues,” Kerry explains. “We have trained hard and loved hard to help her be the best she can be, and now she is my children’s best friend, a guardian to our small animals and so full of love. To me, she is perfect.”

Take comfort in the simple things

A woman, child and dog on a sofa

“My gorgeous Labrador Archer taught me to appreciate the beauty in the little things. I love watching his utter joy when he bounds around the same forest he’s been to a million times before, or his excitement when he’s chasing a tennis ball or getting in the car,” says Amy. “He’s been by my side through some of the darkest times and he loves me no matter what I look like or what mood I’m in. He may not be my only baby now, but he will always be my first. He’s given me more than I could ever have asked for, and more than I could ever give back.”

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Got a special story about your beloved dog? Then head over to the Great British Dogs website and get sharing – you could even win a fantastic doggy prize worth £2,000!

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