In fairness, I understand that (to a degree) she was being whimsical -- I hope -- in using dogs as a fun way to get across lessons she thought were valuable. That said, the advice still has to hold up on its own, whether or not you were a dog. And happily, some of the "lessons" were perfectly fine, even if a bit surface and generic, like "Hugs are good" and "Take time for the simple things."
A few of them also sound reasonably good, too, if you don't think about them too closely, like "Reward yourself with treats every once in a while." The problem here is that, if left to themselves, most dogs likely wouldn't simply reward themselves with treats "every once in a while," but rather do so any time there was food around, whether the scraps were offered to them as a treat or was merely lying around on the floor. Or slurpable in a toilet bowl.
Or dog-advice like "Take good care of yourself." Sure, as she notes, dogs do take naps lick their fur (which is really more a cat thing) and go to the vet (though some dogs will fight you on that score). But I suspect that if dogs were really all that into taking good care of themselves, they wouldn't eat coins and run after cars and have that whole drinking from the toilet bowl thing.
And some are just really bad "life advice" for human folk. Especially her #1 lesson from dogs -- "Live in the moment." Now, to be fair, there's nothing wrong with telling people to live in the moment, and it is good (and important) to focus on what is at hand. But -- again, this is her #1 piece of advice -- living in the moment is pretty much ALL that dogs do. And that's sort of lousy advice for people, including life coaches. Indeed, I suspect that she herself has a 401K account and Social Security savings and life insurance coverage. And that's just the basics, for starters. Maybe she has career goals, or is doing family planning, or trying to coordinate appointment conflicts for next week
That's her #1 lesson from dogs. And at the other end of the list, at #10 is -- "Love is the only thing that really matters. If you are breathing, it's a good day." Now, of course, we all know that that "All you need is love" isn't necessarily from dogs at all, but rather the Beatles. But that quibble aside, while this is a good thing to remember when things are truly horrible in your life, the reality is that -- as advice -- it tends to be the kind of admonition you give to others if you are healthy. Or a dog.
Last week, for instance, my 94-year-old dad was feeling progressively worse as the day went on. He couldn't eat all day, he didn't get dressed, he didn't even get out of bed all day, he felt dismal and weaker and more miserable, until he finally was admitted to the hospital emergency room, where they discovered his electrolytes were problematically out of whack and his potassium level had skyrocketed and he was immediately put on 24-hour dialysis. Without asking him, I'm just going to guess he'd say that, although he was actually breathing, it wasn't what he'd consider an especially good day. In fact, when I did talk with him the next day -- he's doing much better, though still weak and under observation -- and commented on how much better he sounded the evening before, he said a bit sardonically, "Well, that isn't hard."
(On the other hand, my dad did consider today a good day. Not because he was breathing, mind you, but rather because they moved his room. A machine outside his previous room had a bell going off constantly, all night --
ding...ding...ding -- non-stop, unending, pounding in his head the whole time -- ding...ding...ding -- and for two nights had been unable to sleep. He was totally exhausted, wiped out, drained, but pleased for the silence. He did keep his sense of humor. "I'm sure that there are other people who wouldn't mind the sound," he said, adding, "like if they were comatose." But he's in a new room now -- all quiet on the Western ward -- and he's overjoyed. Quiet and a good rest. That is a good day.)
So, "If you're breathing, it's a good day," seems a pretty low standard. Where do you go from there on the scale? How high would you rate, "Breathing and sitting up?" Or where does "Able to eat solid foods" fit in? Again, I understand fully -- and with no sarcasm -- that breathing far and away beats being dead. Though even there, I suspect some people in total, pure agonizing misery and unendurable pain, might want to debate the point. In any event, when looking for a life coach, I just think you might want to have "If you're breathing, it's a good day" on your checklist of Advice to Avoid.
Unless you're a dog.