On Monday, we celebrated King Rio’s third birthday. King Rio, if you haven’t noticed from the millions of pictures on my social media channels, is my very fluffy Cocker Spaniel.

Yes, I love Rio with all my heart. He’s my best friend. We have a very special bond – and he truly is wonderful.

He even loves to take selfies with me.


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He’s also a huge shit.

He untucks our kitchen bar stools, jumps up on them, then onto the counter, and eats whatever he can from the counters and the sinks.

He truly thinks he’s the boss:


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He opens drawers and takes whatever he wants.

He pulls makeup off the counter and smashes it all over the floor. He then walks through it, spreading it throughout my entire bathroom.

He chews my underwear and Riley’s too. He barks, and barks, and barks. He jumps up and goes into handbags to steal thing from people who come to my house.

We even had to put a lock on the door leading from the mudroom to the pantry as he learned how to open doors and break free into the house when we’re out…

Don’t get me wrong- I’m not complaining here. I take full responsibility for his behaviour. When I got him, I had no idea what I was in for. I have worked with multiple different trainers but still can’t get anything to stick. Again, not complaining, just want to make it very clear that it’s not all puppy cuddles and kisses over here.

Having said that, Rio has certain taught me plenty of life lessons in his three years on this beautiful little earth we live on…

Be Excited About Everything

Dogs are truly a gift to humanity. Rio’s excitement around pretty much everything is inspirational. Not only does his excitement make me feel like a queen when I come home from a day of work, but it inspires me to bring a bit more excitement to everything I do.

Could you imagine being as excited as a dog is when their owners get home? When they get a new treat? When they go for a walk?

Yah, I think we can all channel a bit more of our inner puppy excitement.

I Am Worthy, Exactly As I Am

As I mentioned, Rio makes me feel like a queen when I come home, which is especially helpful after a not-so-great day.

Rio wants to cuddle me on both my good days and bad days. He wags his tail whether or not I hit my ‘exercise goals’ for the week. He tackles me with puppy kisses even if I messed up or didn’t put my best foot forward in that day.

He loves me, even when I don’t exactly feel that love for myself. He loves me, because regardless of anything I do or say, or I don’t do or say, I am still worthy of love.

You don’t need a dog to be reminded of this. I’m here to remind you of this right now:

You are worthy of love, exactly as you are now.

The Outdoors is Therapeutic

I have to be honest, I wasn’t the biggest outdoors person before getting a dog.

Now? My favourite place is the dog park! I’d actually say it has become a bit of a ritual for Riley and I. We spend at least four to five nights a week at the park and we all equally enjoy it.

Another great truth? You don’t need a dog to get outside more. You can take yourself for a walk!

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Cuddling Heals

Cuddling releases oxytocin – the feel-good hormone which lifts your mood and helps you feel amazing. Rio and I are cuddling pretty much 24/7, so yah, mood constantly boosted.

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Food is Delicious

Rio loves food. He loves it so much that he often tries to steal food directly off my plate.

Whilst this can be very annoying, I think we can all learn a bit from our dogs love for food. Food is special. It’s delicious and should be enjoyed. I should know because I spent five years in a war with food, and I can now say that war is over.

So yah, let’s all feel the way our little friends feel about food, okay?

These five lessons learned from King Rio may be simple, but I am thankful to have a daily reminder of them in my four legged friend.  

To recap:

  • Be excited, about everything. Wag your tail as much as you can.
  • You are worthy.
  • Get outside.
  • Cuddle, with anyone and anything.
  • Eat food, and enjoy it.

To finish, I know Rio will never read this, but whatever:

Rio, I love you. I love you with all my heart. Thank you for being an absolute gift in my life. Thank you for always being there for you, even it’s to drive me a bit crazy. You are so deeply loved. You are my special little pumpkin.