Pawsitively Present: What Dogs Can Teach Us About Mindset And Life

by | Jun 12, 2024 | Podcasts

 SPEAKER_1: You’re listening to She Grabs The Mic, and I’m your host, Cole Baker-Bagwell.
SPEAKER_1: Every week, we’ll explore what it means to be happy, present and whole.

SPEAKER_1: You’ll hear from courageous women who are kicking ass in their lives, and leave with actionable tips that you can apply to reset from toxicity, tune into your gold, and live powerfully from the bedroom to the boardroom.

SPEAKER_1: Right now, it’s time to grab your headphones, kick back and relax, and get ready to be inspired.

SPEAKER_1: Welcome, Amazing Ones! I am so happy that you are here today.

SPEAKER_1: Thank you for choosing to show up and be part of this growing global community of women who are saying yes to taming their minds and ruling their worlds.

SPEAKER_1: You are my why for She Grabs The Mic, and I am so very lucky to be here with you and part of this day that you are living.

SPEAKER_1: As we kick off the fun today, I’ve got some questions for you.

SPEAKER_1: When you woke up this morning, what was the first thought that you had?

SPEAKER_1: How about the first emotion that you felt?

SPEAKER_1: What are your thoughts about this day that you are living?

SPEAKER_1: Do you see it as just another day full of to-dos and challenges or as a one-of-a-kind gift that will never happen again?

SPEAKER_1: Too many people I know wake up with their minds spinning.

SPEAKER_1: Before their feet even hit the ground, they’re already feeling stressed out about the past and worried about the future.

SPEAKER_1: And that means that they’re missing the simple truth that today is nothing short of a gift for every single one of us.

SPEAKER_1: On this very day, there is joy to be felt, love to be shared, and possibilities to be realized that will never happen exactly the same way again.

SPEAKER_1: When our mindset is time traveling to the past and the future, we miss the gifts that are here for us right now.

SPEAKER_1: But I’ll tell you who never misses those gifts. Dogs.

SPEAKER_1: This week, we’re talking about what dogs can teach us about mindset and what we can learn from our dogs about infusing our lives with unleashed joy, optimism, love, curiosity, play, and presence.

SPEAKER_1: I’ll share a few choice science-based facts about time, emotions, and brain science that will help you understand why dogs are such powerful human teachers.

SPEAKER_1: And I’ll help you understand what dogs can teach us about mindset.

SPEAKER_1: I’ll share three tips that will help you open your mind and your heart to more curiosity, joy, optimism, and play, and make the most out of every single day you live, even if you don’t have a dog.

SPEAKER_1: Before we dive in to all of them, I want to tell you a story about a very special dog named June Bug.

SPEAKER_1: June Bug is a rock star black lab mix with one of the purest hearts and most positive mindsets I have ever known.

SPEAKER_1: This episode is dedicated to her because our sweet girl is celebrating her 14th revolution around the sun this week, and that is no small thing for a big dog.

SPEAKER_1: Now, of course, we’re hosting a very special birthday dinner with cake and her favorite foods.

SPEAKER_1: And just before she dives in to her feast, I plan to say a few words to toast June Bug and to thank her for all of the ways that she has helped me live better across every single year that we’ve been lucky enough to share together.

SPEAKER_1: Our story goes something like this.

SPEAKER_1: On a very ordinary, hot as hell Saturday in August. I was heading to our local Y for a yoga class.

SPEAKER_1: My mom was visiting that weekend, and she decided to take my son Luke to the Y to shoot hoops while I was getting my zen on.

SPEAKER_1: When we walked in, we immediately spotted something totally unexpected, the puppy bin.

SPEAKER_1: The SPCA, as it turns out, was having an adoption day at the Y that Saturday.

SPEAKER_1: I took one look at that bin, and I knew I was in serious trouble.
SPEAKER_1: I’ve always been a huge softy for animals who need homes.

SPEAKER_1: That morning, I had to mindfully remember a few key facts that would prevent me from taking home a puppy or six.

SPEAKER_1: I knew I was a newly divorced mom.

SPEAKER_1: I lived in an apartment with my young son, and we already had one wonderful big dog named Buster.

SPEAKER_1: I had just recovered from near financial ruin, and I was earning just enough money to cover our human expenses.

SPEAKER_1: Now feeling very resolved, I petted their precious little puppy heads as my son begged to take the cute black and snuggly puppy home with us.

SPEAKER_1: I kissed him, and I said, “Luke, one day we will, but today we can’t.”

SPEAKER_1: When I reunited with my family after class, my mom filled me in on a little deal that she’d made with my son, Luke, who was a month shy of turning 11.

SPEAKER_1: She said, I told Luke that after our errands, we will all drive to the SPCA just before they close today.

SPEAKER_1: And if the cute black puppy is still there, I will pay the adoption fee and give him the puppy for his birthday present.

SPEAKER_1: Ugh! The adoption fee was not the issue.
SPEAKER_1: Luke spent the whole day patiently waiting for the clock to strike 4 p.m.

SPEAKER_1: As promised, we drove across town to the SPCA, and I knew that there was no way that that little puppy would still be there.

SPEAKER_1: When we walked in, he marched up to the desk and he asked about the puppy adoption and the puppy that was in the bin earlier that morning.

SPEAKER_1: The volunteer said, “Yes, it has been a very, very busy day. Most of the puppies have found homes. We only have one left.
A cute little black lab mix that we’ve named June Bug.”

SPEAKER_1: My fate was sealed and I knew it, but little did I know that my life was about to get exponentially richer, even though the time was so far less than optimal.

SPEAKER_1: After two years of chewing baseboards, shoe molding, shoes and too many dog beds to count, sweet June Bug grew up and became one of my greatest mindset teachers, and she still is today.

SPEAKER_1: June Bug’s mindset is infectious.
SPEAKER_1: She is present, optimistic, joyful, playful, loving, and curious.

SPEAKER_1: And as it turns out, when their basic needs are met, this is a natural go-to state of being for most dogs.

SPEAKER_1: They wake up in the morning and meet every day like a brand-new, shiny adventure.

SPEAKER_1: They don’t worry about what happened yesterday or what might happen in the future.

SPEAKER_1: They are right here, right now, living fully in the present.

SPEAKER_1: This is in sharp contrast to the way that so many of us wake up, caught in the swirl of worry, stress, and overwhelm.

SPEAKER_1: And dogs forgive quickly, while we humans tend to hang on to grudges and resentment in our minds.

SPEAKER_1: Dogs love unconditionally.

SPEAKER_1: They express their joy with their tails, their voices, and their actions, running, jumping, and making all sorts of happy vocal sounds for all to experience.

SPEAKER_1: They embrace play.

SPEAKER_1: They rest when they’re tired, and they don’t apologize for it.

SPEAKER_1: Now, I have to wonder, what would be possible for us if we loved like dogs do?

SPEAKER_1: If we played and allowed ourselves to rest more?

SPEAKER_1: If we expressed our joy in our words, body language, actions, without abandon like dogs do?

SPEAKER_1: Now, you may be thinking, “But Cole, dogs don’t have the same kind of life challenges, schedules, or worries that we humans have.”

SPEAKER_1: True. But they also don’t have the opportunities and autonomy that we have to choose how we live, actualize our dreams, or chart the path that we want our lives to take.

SPEAKER_1: The simple truth is this, we can choose to play, rest, and express our love and joy just like they do.

SPEAKER_1: Whether we do it or not comes down to mindset and choice.

SPEAKER_1: Now, maybe the mindset of dogs is different than ours, because somehow they understand the gift of time.

SPEAKER_1: Neil deGrasse Tyson, an astrophysicist and author, has a very touching series of podcasts, and in them he says that one day of a dog’s life is equivalent to one week of ours.

SPEAKER_1: I think this is one of the many reasons why dogs greet every minute of their lives with a mindset of joy, optimism, curiosity, love, play, and presence.

SPEAKER_1: I think on some level they just know they won’t be around quite as long.

SPEAKER_1: Their emotional wiring is another big difference when it comes to their mindset.

SPEAKER_1: Stanley Coren, PhD, wrote a fascinating article for Psychology Today where he shared insights on the emotions that dogs feel.

SPEAKER_1: In his article, he made two big points that speak to their minds.

SPEAKER_1: And he wrote, “Dogs have all of the same brain structures and hormones that produce emotions in humans. Number two, dogs have basic emotions like joy, fear, anger, disgust and love. They do not have complex emotions like guilt, pride and shame. The range of emotions dogs and humans feel is different.”

SPEAKER_1: Our emotions evolve and get more complex as we age.

SPEAKER_1: By contrast, the emotional range of a dog peaks when they are very young, which forever keeps them in a similar emotional state as a two and a half year old human child.

SPEAKER_1: Now, as I consider this science, I wonder how our mindset would change if we never developed complex emotions like guilt, pride and shame.

SPEAKER_1: How would the absence of these emotions allow us to be more present, to experience more joy, optimism, curiosity, unconditional love and presence for ourselves and for others?

SPEAKER_1: And if we felt less shame and pride, would we be more able to express ourselves more openly and authentically?

SPEAKER_1: Would we be able to take bigger, bolder chances?

SPEAKER_1: Would we ask for what we need?

SPEAKER_1: How many possibilities could we realize with this type of mindset?

SPEAKER_1: Here’s the short answer.

SPEAKER_1: When our mindset is free of shame, we are less afraid to try, to make mistakes and to fail.

SPEAKER_1: This opens us up to learning, growth and compassion for ourselves and for others.

SPEAKER_1: We’re more able to authentically express who we are and to contribute to the world in the way that only we can.

SPEAKER_1: We can choose to understand the guilt, shame and pride that we feel.

SPEAKER_1: And when we understand what causes these feelings, we can choose what we want to do about them.

SPEAKER_1: We can change our behavior.

SPEAKER_1: We can let them go.

SPEAKER_1: We can create space for empowering emotions that are additive to our mindset and to our lives.

SPEAKER_1: Science has also proven that dogs love and have the capacity to show their love, much like humans.

SPEAKER_1: Takafumi Kikusu, an animal behavior researcher in the School of Veterinary Medicine at Azebu University in Japan, began noticing his dog’s eyes joyfully filling with tears when he came home after being away.

SPEAKER_1: He wrote in a 2022 article that he shared that dogs feel deep love, joy and affection.

SPEAKER_1: And his research findings cited oxytocin as the reason why dogs can actually cry tears of joy.

SPEAKER_1: As a reminder, oxytocin is the maternal bonding hormone, the one that leads us to feel love and connection for our babies.

SPEAKER_1: If humans and dogs share the same love hormone, why aren’t we as willing to express love and joy as freely and openly as our dogs do?

SPEAKER_1: How many times do we come home after being away and miss an opportunity to express our deep love and joy because our minds are time-traveling somewhere else?

SPEAKER_1: How often do we take the people in our lives for granted instead of telling them and expressing to them the love and affection that is in our hearts?

SPEAKER_1: When our mindset is focused in the present, we’re able to feel the range of emotions with more intensity.

SPEAKER_1: When we focus our mindset on the things we love about ourselves, instead of the judgment so many of us hold, we’re able to share that same kind of big love with all of the people in our lives.

SPEAKER_1: When we understand that this present moment is the only one that we really have, our mindset shifts to deep gratitude that leads us to tears of joy.

SPEAKER_1: And when we let go of what was or what might be and allow ourselves to get in touch with everything and everyone that is here for us right here, right now, we, like our dogs, are able to experience deep, unbridled joy.

SPEAKER_1: This is living.

SPEAKER_1: Back to sweet June Bug.

SPEAKER_1: Every day, my girl teaches me that mindset is everything.

SPEAKER_1: And even when it rains, life is a gift meant to be celebrated.

SPEAKER_1: She teaches me that I should never take a meal, a hug, or the people in my life for granted.

SPEAKER_1: That joy is always here for me if I choose to see it.

SPEAKER_1: That I should always say yes to new adventures, even if I don’t know where I’m going.

SPEAKER_1: That I should never wait to chase my dreams, burst with excitement, or express myself authentically.

SPEAKER_1: She reminds me that love is meant to be shared, and that the only time that matters is the minute that is right here in front of me.

SPEAKER_1: I am beyond grateful for Joombug, and for all of the dog teachers I have been lucky enough to have in my life.

SPEAKER_1: We have so much that we can learn from them.

SPEAKER_1: So how do we begin to open up our minds and hearts to more curiosity, joy, love, optimism, playfulness, and presence?

SPEAKER_1: I’ve got three tips to get you started.

SPEAKER_1: Number one, know that you are right here.

SPEAKER_1: When you catch yourself time traveling to the past or to the future, pause, breathe, and assess.

SPEAKER_1: Slow down, take a few breaths, ask yourself, what’s happening right now? What am I thinking? What am I experiencing?
What do I want to experience? How can I shift my mindset to get there?
SPEAKER_1: Number two, seek out joy every single chance that you get.
SPEAKER_1: You can always find evidence of joy even on the toughest and stormiest days.

SPEAKER_1: If you focus your mind on it, you will spot it.
SPEAKER_1: And this is also a really great way to stay present.
SPEAKER_1: You might just be surprised at how much joy there is in this world.
SPEAKER_1: And lastly, number three. Get bold and be you, amazing ones.
SPEAKER_1: Live out loud and let go of who you think you should be.
SPEAKER_1: Express yourself in all of your fantastical, beautiful weirdness that makes you you.

SPEAKER_1: Show up authentically.
SPEAKER_1: Say yes to every chance that you have to share a kind word, your dreams, or to play.

SPEAKER_1: Love unconditionally.
SPEAKER_1: Share kisses.
SPEAKER_1: Jump into the arms of people that you love and let your tears of joy flow.

SPEAKER_1: Because if more of us lived like our dogs, imagine how fabulous our world would be.

SPEAKER_1: You have the power to tame your mind, and that means that you have the power to rule your world and make every single second of your life matter, just like June Bug.

SPEAKER_1: Thanks for being here today.

SPEAKER_1: If you have a story to share about a dog that’s made you a better human, I would love to hear it.

SPEAKER_1: Send me an email with a picture of you and your pooch to

SPEAKER_1: And if you’re ready to get out of this world, tame your mindset, and rule your world, head to the contact form on my website,, and send me a note.

SPEAKER_1: Let’s find out what’s possible for you together.
SPEAKER_1: Before I scoot today, remember this.
SPEAKER_1: There’s only one you.
SPEAKER_1: And in case no one’s told you yet today, that is what makes you amazing!

SPEAKER_1: Big love!

SPEAKER_1: I’ll see you next week.

SPEAKER_1: And that’s the end of the show today, everybody.

SPEAKER_1: I hope it has served you well.

SPEAKER_1: Thank you so much for tuning in.

SPEAKER_1: If you’ve liked what you’ve heard, please drop a review wherever you grab your favorite podcast.

SPEAKER_1: Please subscribe so you never miss an episode.
SPEAKER_1: And please be sure to share this podcast with another woman that you love.

SPEAKER_1: If you’d like to learn more about me or my work, check out my website,

SPEAKER_1: Until next time, remember to be super kind to yourself and do your very best to leave everyone and everything just a little bit better.

Cole Baker-Bagwell

Master Certified Professional Coach

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