It’s a dog’s life 11/07

November 2007

dog

I’ve been sniffed and snarled at, jumped on, tripped and chased by dogs. No, I am not a letter carrier – I am a runner.

I’m not talking about stray dogs. I’m talking about beautiful, well-kept dogs whose owners care enough about them to exercise them on the same trails I choose to run. And I’m okay with that.

What strikes me is that the number of people on the trails with dogs outnumbers the number of people without dogs.

Friends have told me they wouldn’t be walking everyday if it weren’t for the dog. Can we deduce that some of you put more value to your pet’s health and fitness than your own? What would make you do that?

When Fido has a sore leg you take him to the vet. How long does it take you to seek out a doctor when you have a pain?

Of course this is not a scientific study, but I’m going to step out one more time and suggest that some people also put more value to their dog’s diet than their own. We generally feed them the balanced, nutritious dog food their bodies require and give them plenty of good, old-fashioned water to drink. Pepperoni pizza and Pepsi are not an option, though many dogs would probably enjoy it.

Like children, your pets are dependent on you. We all know that there are dogs who would happily indulge in pepperoni pizza, given the chance. The responsibility to provide and nurture, be it as parents or pet owners, makes you important – in and of itself.

Maybe we need to remember our value and elevate our self-worth to at least match, if not exceed the average house pet. Aren’t we the superior species after all? At least we shy away from eating shoes and socks.

If you don’t see your health as a priority, it might be worth considering who does. Stop to consider who sees you as important.
• Who might you be hurting?
• Who depends on you?
• How many lives do you impact on any given day?
• Who would miss you if you were gone?

If your lifestyle and health are in a downward spiral, think about the quality of life you’d like to live.

Dogs have a lot to teach us if we want to learn. They are experts at creating balance in their lives. Isn’t that why we say, “It’s a dog’s life?”

Snuggle up with someone you care about, maybe even Fido, and consider what you can learn from dogs.
• To be playful
• To not be afraid to look silly
• To play rain or shine
• To not make excuses
• To take time to rest
• To leave food in your bowl
• To appreciate simple food
• To be loyal
• To have balance
• To be curious
• To be friendly
• To find joy in simple things, i.e. sticks and balls, shoes and socks
• To be affectionate
• To be a good companion
• To love unconditionally

From my viewpoint, one of the best things about dogs is that they get people out on the trails, in the streets and in the parks. Together, people and dogs reap physical, emotional and spiritual benefits.

But I’m not here to sell dogs. My goal is to convince you that you and your body are important too. When you really believe that, you can’t help but make healthy choices – one decision after another, one step at a time, to a healthier you.

Practice what dogs do and watch your health and your relationships prosper. Be the dog. “Woof.”