be more dog blog : ask for what you need

Be More Dog : Ask for what you need

Be More Dog : Always Ask for what you need

My name is Dawn, and this is Prince. This is a blog I wrote a long time ago about a life-lesson he taught me regarding having our own needs met. He was a wise and compassionate teacher, and I hope my reflections invite you to also learn from his generous heart.

So, I’m sitting in my kitchen with my dog at my feet. I fear we are near the end of our time together. He is struggling to sleep and has had many restless and heart-wrenchingly unhappy nights. I notice my mind racing into the future – “what if this is his last meal?”, “what if I make the wrong decision”, “what will my time in nature be like without my best friend?”.

I cry. It’s OK, I love him, the price tag of that is that I hurt when he is hurting. I wouldn’t change a thing. Right now, I am choosing to return my attention to this moment. It’s the only one that matters. Right now, I am noticing the weight of his body on my toes, the even pressure of his back resting on me.

I’m noticing the faint twitch of his bedding on my leg as he flinches in his dream. And I am noticing the beauty that is his in-breath and out-breath, slowly and rhythmically giving his body what it needs. And in this moment, there is calmness in my heart. Whatever time we have left, I commit to choosing to being present with him.

Ask for what you need

Last night was especially torturous for me. It was the second night in a row that he had woken me an hour into sleep. I have hardly slept since Sunday night, it is now Wednesday evening. Last night he walked manically from the front door through the house, past me sitting on the sofa and out into the back garden. And then in again. On repeat. For hours. He was so insistent at getting outside, and I was too exhausted to stand on door duty that I left the door open and donned a winter coat because him being able to get outside seemed to be his only calming activity.

After tiring himself out, and yet still not feeling soothed, he turned to me for some love, kindness and help. I was tired and had retreated to the underneath of a duvet (a ‘spare’ one that now resides in the kitchen and has become my nightly blanket). He didn’t like this. He stood with his face close to mine and stared at me. I reached out to touch him and he withdrew. As he clearly hadn’t received the response he needed, he used his voice to whimper.

To that I offered a range of ways to soothe him, all known tried-and-tested gestures that we have shared hundreds of times. And still he persisted, crying on his outbreath, telling me he needs something, and asking for me to give it to him. And I did; all night. I moved, I talked, I walked with him, I held his tired body, I allowed him to do whatever he needed, and I lovingly responded when he returned to approach me for more. I gave it all freely, with love in my heart, because I love him.

His lesson to me last night was that it is TOTALLY OK to ask for what you need.

I am not good at this. I do not have a history of doing this well. And so, in receiving these requests from Prince, I have learned by experience that it is not only ‘OK’ to ask for what you need, it is also an honour to provide that for someone you love. So please, Be More Dog by asking for what you need, and trusting that those who care about you will willingly respond with love and kindness.


You can check out other ‘Be More Dog’ blog posts on my website at The aim of these is to give bite-sized pieces of wisdom from our best furry friends that help us live a life of meaning.

With love,

Dawn (and Prince). Xx

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