I've learned a lot of things from my dog, Willie, over the years. Good lessons that would make us all better people and a better society in general if we could adopt them into everyday life. The newest one is this: carrots are not only acceptable vegetation, they are a very good treat for a job well done. You see, Willie is undergoing some physical therapy at the moment. He has a partially torn ACL (or so they think), but not torn enough to actually do surgery on. So being an active "mom" and wanting to know what I can do to help fix it, I asked the vet... and he said, physical therapy... and lose a couple of pounds.
So he has to do things like sit/stand exercises, figure eights, and walking up and down the stairs. For the most part, he doesn't understand why we are doing these things so I thought we'd make it into a game. Sit/stand is only something he'll tolerate 2 or 3 times before he gets bored and either starts jumping (bad for the ACL) or just walks away and lays down. "Seriously, Mom, why do I need to stand up? I just sat down for crying out loud. What is your problem today? You on crack? Forget you told me to sit down just 2 seconds ago?" So we've incorporated sit/stand into the walking up and down the stairs exercise. This seems to go okay. We're supposed to do 5-10 reps. He hasn't gotten past six yet. His attention span is worse than mine! But at the end? Carrots. He thinks these are just a wonderful treat. And you know, pretty good for you if you're trying to be healthy or lose a few pounds
So I ask myself. Why don't I eat carrots as a reward? Nice crunch. Not a bad flavor (kind of taste a bit like dirt, but not bad). Healthy. And I want to be healthy. Oh yea, I know why... they don't taste like chocolate. Now if they made chocolate covered carrots I could get all over that, but they make carrots that taste a little like the dirt you pull them out of. Okay for a snack, but not going to do anything for my sweet tooth.
Every day I think to myself that I need to be more like my dog. When he's tired, he sleeps. When he wants a snack, carrot is totally fine, even exciting. When he sees I'm stressed, he brings me toys cause it must be time to play or change things up a bit. And he really gets into his exercise routine... mind you he doesn't care for some of the physical therapy exercises, but if I make them into a game it's okay. What he really likes though are his walks. He wouldn't dream of missing his walks. He has a schedule. It's more important than eating or sleeping. He needs to get those walks in - twice a day, rain or snow or wind or sun - hot/cold. It doesn't matter. He's out there, putting in the time, doing his thing - not cause he wants to win some race or better his muscle tone (his is fine) but because he likes walking. He likes sniffing the grass. Watching the birds. Chasing the squirrels and other earth bound creatures.
And in the afternoon when it's not too hot, you can find him outside laying on the grass or rolling in the grass or throwing his ball to himself. Just enjoying the great outdoors.
So - go outside today, play, enjoy the weather - whatever it brings, watch some birds, get some rest, eat healthy, change the scenario when you get stressed out, make exercise a fun part of your everyday existence, don't worry about tomorrow.