It’s surprising how much my sister trusts me. I haven’t had any experience with dogs since my childhood, but I’m apparently a better choice than a kennel to care for Ziggy the Goldendoodle. Needless to say, there was some learning. And some luck. Ziggy lives in Florida.
This might be more obvious to pet owners, but bear with me. I learned:
How dogs love freely
Ziggy doesn’t choose or judge. Everyone he meets is a potential friend. All he wants is a little love back. Okay – a lot of love. Dog sitters were an obvious choice for such a people-loving, affectionate dog.
How dogs’ needs are simple
No streaming services, or fancy things required. Just food and water, rest, tennis balls and lots of loving.
How little dogs eat
Besides grass, twigs and the odd Christmas tree ornament Ziggy eats the exact same thing, once a day. And he often leaves food in his bowl. It seemed to be hardly anything for his 52 pounds.
How much sleep and exercise are required
Okay, there is a heavy emphasis on sleep, but what else can a dog do without the ability to use a smart phone or ride a bike? Walking twice a day is something.
How dogs are like us
We want to eat what’s easy and not always good for us and we might eat on the sneak.
Our dog training emphasized no human food. We did not understand that meant not even bread can be left out. (See no experience above.) Ziggy waited a week until we had fallen in love with him and was left alone, then went counter surfing.
What Ziggy shows us:
- Keep food out of sight, especially the food you want to eat less of. Like Pavlov’s (and my sister’s) dog, you will salivate and secrete insulin just thinking about, smelling or seeing food, which makes you hungry. If you see it, you’ll eat more of it. Willpower is limited.
The candy-on-the-desk study by Dr. Brian Wansink, Professor of Human Behavior and Director of the Food and Brand Lab at Cornell University shows us how we eat more of what we see.
- It’s good to have a team to support you. Family, friends, trainers, coaches, medical professionals, teachers…Who do you have or need right now? Ziggy had a team of sitters.
- We need less food and more exercise and rest. Nothing new here.
- Love unconditionally.
It’s a new day. It’s a new year. As Ted Lasso says, “Be a goldfish.” Or a dog.
Happy New Year.