I’ve been so fortunate that for most of my life I have had dogs. I have learned a lot from them.
But recently an experience with a dog taught me a lot about health….which
reminds me once again that there are gifts in everything.
Often I take my two rescue mutts to a large field where they can run off leash and meet other dogs. A few weeks before I had chatted with a young woman named Cindy & met her year-old Boxer “Max.” Cindy was a first time dog owner & was excited about having a dog. We talked about dog behavior and I told her of some of my “dog learning” experiences.
A few weeks later I was at the field and saw Cindy and a guy I assumed was her boyfriend as they were very involved with each other. However they were not very involved with Max.
Max was running around and getting further away from them. Cindy would occasionally pull her attention away from her boyfriend and call Max to “come.” When Max did not come, her calls became increasingly shrill.
She eventually came in my direction so I took the opportunity to offer her a dog treat to entice Max with, explaining that was a way I had taught my dogs to come. Cindy told me emphatically that Max didn’t deserve a treat, as he was being “bad.”
Finally Max did come to her and she began to hit him and tell him he was a bad dog. I was very upset to see this and felt I needed to intervene. I said that I knew she was frustrated but he would not want to come if he was punished when he did come. Of course she didn’t pay any attention to me and hauled Max away.
With a very heavy heart, I saw that the relationship between Cindy and Max was headed for trouble and possible abuse. And probably the pound for Max.
Later that day I was reminded of the relationship between Cindy and Max when I saw an article about exercise were the emphasis was on the ”No Pain, No gain” school of health.
It occurred to me that many of us have the same type of relationship to our bodies that I saw between Cindy to Max.
That is, we ignore our bodies until they don’t perform like we think they should and then we punish them and tell them they are “bad.” We treat our bodies like they need to be punished with brutal exercise and deprivation diets. We don’t take the time to learn much about what they need and we don’t pay attention to the “messages” we get about what makes our bodies feel good. So it is no surprise that our relationship to our bodies is one of frustration and confusion.
So I am going to suggest that we adopt a new view of health
starting with the motto:
“Your Body is Your Best Friend”
And the remembering these simple D.O.G ideas:
D= don’t rely on fad diets or quick fixes,
good relationships take time & care.
Do “check in” regularly to see where
your body is and where it is going.
O= Own that your body is unique and will
willingly tell you what makes it thrive.
Do you need more sleep than is?
“average”? Do you like walks more
Find out what works for YOU, not
what “experts tell you
G= Give your body the care and respect
it deserves.Walks, lots of play,
good food and loving attention
make dogs and bodies thrive.
Treat your body as well as you would
your Best Friend…because it
Be the person your dog thinks you are!
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