In her book, On Toby’s Terms, my friend and best selling author Charmaine Hammond writes about how her dog Toby misbehaved for months when they first brought their rescue dog home.   She finally realized that like humans Toby needed a purpose for his life.  Once he found his purpose as a Pet Therapy dog his behavior improved and life became much easier for Toby and his owners.  The book goes on to explain other lessons she learned from her dog.  We all can learn things from our pets.  It makes me wonder why humans can’t be more like them.  If we were, we would love unconditionally and give without wanting anything in return.  Remember, if a dog was the teacher you would learn things like:

·      Always run to greet your loved ones;  

·      Never pass up the opportunity to go for a joyride;  

·      Allow the experience of fresh air and the wind in your face to be pure Ecstasy;  

·      Take naps;  

·      Stretch before rising; 

·      Eat only when you're hungry; 

·      Run, romp, and play daily;  

·      Thrive on attention and let people cuddle you;  

·      Avoid biting when a simple growl will do;  

·      On warm days, stop to lie on your back on the grass;  

·      On hot days, drink lots of water and lie under a shady tree;  

·      When you’re happy, dance around and wag your entire body;  

·      Delight in the simple joy of a long walk;  

·      Be loyal;  

·      Never pretend to be something you're not;  

·      If what you want lies buried, dig until you find it;  

·      When someone is having a bad day, be silent, sit close by, and nuzzle them gently;  

Wouldn’t this world be a better place to live if we behaved more like our dog?  How happy and healthy we would be.  Our lives would be much more rosey.

The Dog

Sometimes keeping commitments is difficult; things come up, time runs out, plans change.    January is always the time of year when people want to make changes in their lives.  They set New Years resolutions only to break them weeks or even days later.

Resolutions are the commitments or intentions we make for ourselves.  For me it’s usually about losing weight, exercising more and being healthier.  It has been something I have struggled with most of my life.  How jealous I am of people who have the skinny genes and high metabolisms.  

This year, as I do every year, I make a commitment to get back on track in my health and fitness regime.  Why is it so much easier for me to keep commitments to others than it is to keep them to myself?  I am forever starting over.  I tell myself well I didn’t lose any but I didn’t gain any either.  I make excuses like I am too stressed out and there is too much going on in my life to worry about that now.   Why do I sabotage myself when I know that by eating right and exercising my life will be better in every other area?   Is it because it’s easier to disappoint myself then it is someone else, or do I believe that I am not as important as others?  Do I think that helping others is more important even when it interferes with my own plans?  Why do we think it’s wrong to put ourselves first?

Woman seem to be especially bad for this, maybe it is the nurturing side of us.  We put everyone else first before we look after our own needs.  But what happens more often then not is that after we have looked after everyone else there is no time or energy left to look after ourselves. 

Maybe we need to look at it from a different perspective.  What if we put ourselves first?  Would that be selfish of us?  Any time in my life when I have put myself first, pampered myself, gave my body and spirit what it needed, and filled myself up I had much more energy and was in a much better position to give even more to those I care about.   Instead of thinking this is self-ish why not think of it as self-love?  Isn’t it better to give when our spirit and energy is high?  Wouldn’t we have more to give and enjoy giving it more?

So now I will remind myself again to look after myself first and keep my commitments to myself even if it is just for today.  I promise to love myself more and do what I need to do to make my life and everyone else’s around me more rosey.

With love and commitment,