Monthly Archives: September 2019

STEALTH HEALTH: Using our dogs to keep us young #MFRWAuthor #BOB

a variation of this was first seen in Perspectives, the AKC Delegate newsletter

            Standard advice as we age is to get a dog or cat for company. We’re told they can 1936538_97029219860_1238899_nprovide unconditional love and comfort. Studies show owning a pet can help protect against loneliness and depression. More of those studies tell us pet owning people on Medicare make fewer visits to the (human) doctor. Dogs offer a wealth of benefits to the mature amongst us. Having a dog as a companion could add years to your lives and play a significant role in surviving heart attacks.

We know all that, don’t we? Most of us are reading with one hand on the head of our canine companion, or possibly with our lap full of demanding dog. We’ve had dogs for decades, we’ve whelped them, raised them, trained them, shown them, watched them age and held them for that last trip to the vet. We’re now down to the last one or two dogs, keeping us company as our lives slow down.

Why?

Not why do we have a dog or dogs with us. Why do we slow down? Barring medical issues why do we succumb to the idea that we are older therefore we can’t do anything too strenuous. Or maybe we’re too heavy, too weak, too…whatever.

We don’t stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing.

George Bernard Shaw

            Maybe we think we can’t compete with the young, athletic, up and coming people in our breed, or sport. Okay at some point we might not be able to keep up with them in Conformation. But what about other dog sports? Companion Events, Performance Events…the list grows every year of what we can do with our dogs. And in these events, we can compete against ourselves.

81876594-Friday-0450Rather than go to a gym or sign up for treadmill punishment, why not try, say, Agility? What, you don’t have a Border Collie, an Australian Shepherd, a Malinois? Take an afternoon and check out the trials. You’ll see every breed imaginable, and some mixed breeds, following their people’s guidance around obstacles (or making up their own courses). You’ll also see a wealth of silver…hair, that is. Not everyone is young and svelte! Agility requires time invested in training, and here comes the stealth part.

See, you don’t actually need to compete. You can take lessons, practice at home, give yourself and your dog a good workout and never chase another ribbon. If you convince a friend you need their company then both of you will benefit. Or you can make friends, good friends, at the training center. Eventually you might decide you want to leave your safe area and attempt a trial. Here’s the fun part…you don’t have to win to reap the rewards! You can have just as much fun with your dog, just as much frustration and confusion, and never qualify. Along the way you’ve gotten up off the sofa, out of the car, and pushed your heart rate to a healthy number. Soon you won’t have time to check out VVKC-28-15that new television series, you’ll be signing up for a seminar, helping out at a trial, working on a better approach to the obstacles.

Somewhere along the way you realize you’re sleeping better, waking up earlier, and looking forward to what the day will bring. You’ve fooled yourself into being healthier, and given your dog a new lease on his canine life. And you can do the same for your friend…why should you be the only one having so much fun?

 

I’m up earlier than usual, finishing this in the predawn. Soon I’ll be heading out with my little red girl, chasing that elusive green ribbon. Even better, sharing my day with the friends I’ve made and new friends I’ll meet.

Keep moving, moving, moving. But take a moment to hug your friends, tell them you love them, that you’re thinking of them. We never know when it’s going to be the last chance.

 

 

 

 

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The Reality of STUFF

A few weeks ago, Amazon held one of its Prime Shopping days. People filled their computers with great deals on ‘stuff’ and boxes rushed across the country. New treasures for our homes, our lives.

At the same time my local thrift store had a 50% off sale of anything in store. That means clothes, furniture, dishes…anything. A treasure trove of stuff. Some very nice, some more than acceptable.

In the past few months I’ve added to the local thrift store’s stock with ‘stuff’ that has been stacked in my house to be used ‘one day’.

My friend arrived from California, with a POD full of stuff, after leaving a mountain of  ‘stuff’ behind.

Signs on the side of the road, notices in the local papers for yard sales, estate sales, group sales. Of stuff.

Stuff.

Stuff.

Stuff.

We throw away more than people in less fortunate countries own in a lifetime and we are still choking on possessions. It’s not a new phenomenon…when our ancestors inched across the country, they brought along as much of their possessions as they could stuff in those large wagons, often leaving them along the way to lighten their load, choosing survival over possession.

Most of us know we are overloaded with stuff. Even so, we all too often go on a search for more…more…MORE. Just one more painting, one more pair of shoes, one more kitchen gadget that we are sure will make our lives easier (if only!). Our economy is based on consumption. Buy more stuff, keep the economy healthy. But is it better for us?

Most medical professionals say more ‘stuff’ does not make us happier and can often negatively effect our health. I have to say I agree, especially at those time when I feel like I’m drowning in stuff. Who needs that many black totes?

I’ve been researching the problem, trying to decide what should go, what should stay. What do I really NEED in my life? My friends, absolutely. My animals, yes. All those black totes…not really. Nor the red ones, the brown ones, the green ones. Sigh.

Organized people point out if there was a fire most of this stuff would be gone anyway. Well, duh. Do I want a fire to come along and eliminate everything? Not even, since items of value are in boxes set aside to be ‘gone through’ — several years ago. So slowly, slowly, slowly I sort. I took pictures I won’t share since I don’t need to depress myself any more! Yes, being surrounded by stuff can be depressing. Every box to the thrift store, every extra sack into the garbage lightens me a bit more.

Instead here’s a cool picture of a sunrise. Great beginnings.  IMG_9943

Call your family, hug your friends. The only time certain in our lives is now.

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