Life continues to be uncertain for me as it is for many. Work is in the middle of a career shift, we have a new home with a bit of remodeling that is being completed. There are a few external pressures beyond my control such as a pandemic, an election, and the weather. Compared to many we are quite lucky but stress and dealing with life today is not always easy for anyone.
So it dawned on me as I walked DaisyBelle, yesterday, that she may have some lessons to share for dealing with these challenging times.
People say dogs are simple and they go about their day with little care just wanting to be fed, walked, and an occasional pat on the head. I don’t think that is necessarily true. DaisyBelle is not just a bystander in our or her own life.
In fact, she is making choices and decisions all day that are not just focused on her and are seriously impacted by our moods, if we are sick, the weather, and of course if there are fireworks or loud noises nearby.
Join me as we review the typical day for DaisyBelle, and let’s see what lessons we can learn.
She and Lucky start our day around 5:30 AM. Let’s be clear it is as close to 5:30 AM as if an alarm went off. Lucky has this cute fish toy that if she hits it starts flapping around like it is on the deck of a boat, and she has learned that is a good toy to get us up and out of bed. DaisyBelle gets Frank up, but she tends to stay in bed with me until it is time for her walk. She knows our routine better than we do and waits patiently for Frank to feed Lucky so there is no need yet for her to get out of bed. Once Lucky has been fed, DaisyBelle snaps into action for her first walk of the day.
These walks are typically about an hour. She has a few responsibilities on that walk. The first is to be an amiable partner to Frank, which she is quite a good walking partner. However, she doesn't like repeating the same path for her walk. If you try and take her repeatedly on the same journey she will use her will, charm, and her 63 pounds of muscle to try and convince you that you need to change course.
Google swears that her sense of smell is 14000 times better than humans, so can you imagine the sensory overload of just walking down the trail? But, she doesn't let that totally distract her from paying attention to her Daddy, as his happiness is never too far from her focus. There are a few other key decisions in her walk such as where to pee and poop which are critical as not every spot of grass is created equally.
When she gets back from her walk, if I am not out of bed, she, and to some degree, Lucky will get upset that I am not up and about. If I am not feeling well she turns into nurse DaisBelle and doesn't tend to leave my side but if it is just sleeping all the way to 7 AM that won’t do.
Her morning continues with breakfast, and dare I say as in her walk she does not like to eat the same thing at every meal either. It amuses me that she was rescued from a shelter, where she did not eat well, and yet she is a very picky eater.
Her nap yields to her next walk which is 11 AM before lunchtime. During the week that is my time to walk her. If there are no calls or work pressing she and I get in the car. Could be simply to go to another part of the trail near our house, could be downtown, or even other neighborhoods for variety.
Lunchtime is fun, we discovered her tummy can be tricky so she is on the same three meals a day schedule we are. I forgot to mention at breakfast, but her standard meal is a part of a can of wet food, a scoop of dry, some yogurt, canned pumpkin, and occasionally rice all on a number of separate dishes. Still, especially at lunch, we have to up the flavor ante. Either a bit of cheese, or some of our tuna that was headed to our salads for lunch. So, simple and easy she is not!
After lunch, there is of course a nap and she is quite good at it. Sometimes I will sneak beside her on the bed and work and it is hard not to join her. The naps are good for her and they are definitely rejuvenating and are a good reminder we all need to take a mental break to help us stay focused and productive.
If she gets bored or wants a change of pace in the after she will nap outside if Frank is working on the patio. Sometimes she gets antsy and will come to get me to play ball with her in the yard and even tease Lucky.
Finally, right at 6 PM, DaisyBelle goes on her last walk. If it is me she will want a ride and an adventure. If Frank she expects a walk to his Mom’s and to check in on her dog and boyfriend Henry. Then she along with the two of and us have supper and then there is TV. When we get close to 9:30 PM she and Lucky start to get fidgety for a quick run outside and then to bed.
As you can see, her life and choices are not all that simple, and she wants to stay balanced between routine and variety.
So as we all deal with life and these times of uncertainty what can we learn from Miss Belle:
Your family is the most important key to happiness. Her happiness is definitely tied to ours. She not only wants to please us as much as possible, but she shows genuine concern for us if our mood is off or there is extra stress in the day.
You can’t get what you want if you don’t ask and don’t give up. Each walk or ride she is letting us know what, where, and how she wants to go even if it didn’t work the last time or even the time before. (She is also willing to trick you into her choice, but that is for another blog.)
Flexibility to adjust is a must. Routine is good, but the flexibility to change is necessary to keep the family happy. DaisyBelle is mighty good at finding happiness once she accepts the change.
Naps, or taking breaks during the day, are rejuvenating. Taking time out for your own rest is a must throughout the day.
Understand what makes you happy. Even though our happiness is important to her, Diasybelle is making choices, throughout the day, focused on keeping her happy including the right variety, exercises, and naps!
I do appreciate her life approach and I do realize she has the advantage of not being aware of many external stresses such as the pandemic and the upcoming election.
In addition, I get bored too easily. Routine is good, but I like change as well, and if life is too stable I tend to throw change and stir things up. As much as I may not like to admit it a little bit of chaos helps keep me going and happy where DaisyBelle wants more consistency at home, including a normal routine.
So DaisyBelle and I wish you all happiness and calm in these trying times and stay tuned there will be a similar blog with regards to Lucky.