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Your dog is an a**hole

Maybe not everyone…but some people definitely think so.

Newsflash, dog owners: Not everyone likes your dog.

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Yup. It’s true!

Dog owners (or guardian, caregiver, parent – whichever term you use), probably struggle the most with this concept.

Can’t they see how handsome/beautiful, intelligent, charming, and well-behaved Fido is??

“If you have a dog, you will have enemies in the neighborhood.”

~Claire J. Senecal (My mom)

People will take their dislike of you and/or your dog out on you secretly or passive aggressively.

Nine times out of 10, you and your dog will be targets in some way because you’re unconsciously being inconsiderate.

IS YOUR DOG LEASHED? It’s the law in most towns. Keeping Fido on a leash puts people at ease and provides you with better control over his behavior.

You’ll know when and where he’s pooped and can clean up. You should always clean up. Always.

If you disregard leash laws, most people assume you are disobeying other laws, like leaving your dog’s waste everywhere: parks, bike trails, sidewalks, front lawns.

Dog waste is a bacteria-filled biohazard. Nobody wants to step in it, slip on it, see it, or smell it. BE RESPONSIBLE.

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Fido can’t do it himself!

I guarantee you that if you choose to disregard leash etiquette, someone out there is secretly plotting revenge. Or fantasizing about it. I guarantee it.

Worse is when people walk their dogs without a leash and call out, as it’s running up to you, “It’s okay! He’s friendly!”

No, it’s not okay. You have no way of keeping that dog away from or off of me without a leash. You don’t know my (hypothetical) deepest fears or reasons dogs scare me. You don’t know how much therapy I’ve had to try to overcome that fear. I was enjoying my fresh air and exercise, and now I’m experiencing PTSD.

I’ve been training dogs for 40 years.  Every smart dog trainer or owner knows these three words to be true, “Never say never.”

Almost every dog bite begins with a dog who is not under physical control while his owner says, “My dog would NEVER run away or bite a person or dog.”

I know of at least a dozen people whose animals were bitten by an off-leash dog whose owners claimed, “He’s friendly. He would never bite another dog. He’s never done that before!”

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Owner: He’s wicked friendly!

If you’re out socializing with your dog, and you’re not at least a little stressed because you’re being hypervigilant about Fido’s interactions, then you’re doing it wrong.

We all make mistakes. I’ve made plenty. But I like to think I’ve learned from them.

“Do the best that you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.”

~Maya Angelou

One of my old neighbors (super nice guy) once said to me, “I think one of the neighbors poisoned my last dog. He used to complain about Rex pooping in his yard.”

Because Rex was let out to roam free around the neighborhood and do what he liked, wherever he liked, twice a day.

Rex may have been poisoned. It may have been intentional or unintentional. Rex could have inadvertently gotten into some spilled antifreeze. They’ll never know.

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Winter can bring dangers to pets you might not have considered.

The former neighbor’s next dog, Spot, was also let out to roam free around the neighborhood. Does this mean the neighbor’s a gambler? An optimist? Or just stupid or lazy?

What would you do if you suspected your dog had been poisoned?

Dogs are a wonderful addition to a family. They can improve your health, decrease your stress, calm your anxiety. But your dog is your responsibility. You need to be considerate of others’ feelings.

If your dog misbehaves, it’s because you didn’t train him well and aren’t providing a mentally and physically stimulating life for him.

If you really love your dog, you want him to be safe.

So, ask yourself: Who’s the real a**hole here?

 

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Overscheduled

Don’t you just hate sitting around in waiting rooms? Whether it’s a doctor’s office, an auto repair shop, or the DMV, you are at their mercy. Are they ever on time?

And who doesn’t feel resentful about it? You have to take time out of work, which infuriates your employer, or you’re losing money or precious free time if you’re taking vacation or are self-employed.

We are constantly running around and sometimes that’s the only thing keeping us from falling apart – inertia.

But while I was on my walk through the woods yesterday, I spotted a snow-covered bench and thought, “Let me clear this off today so that if I want to take a rest on my walk tomorrow, I can.”

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A clear spot for contemplation and reflection. Or just to sit my fat ass when I get tired. 😂

 

So I did. And today, I was grateful. The point is that we’re all going Mach 5, and we never have the time to breathe, nevermind to plan. My work environment was like that. It was unhealthy and counterproductive.

Humans need many things to thrive – not just survive. A tree may get plenty of water, but without the soil in which to plant its roots, one heavy wind can knock it over.

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Everything looks fine on the outside… until, WHAM!

 

We’re all very fragile these days. Can we at least agree to try not to be someone else’s heavy wind?

Listen, I’m not trying to pretend I’m the Dalai Lama or Confucius or any philosopher capable of deep, brilliant thoughts…but something about being out in nature enables me to think differently about a myriad of things.

Go outside. Take a walk. Change your perspective. You’ll thank yourself.

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Nature has answers to questions you didn’t know you had.
Presence, Uncategorized

Be present

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Can you see the forest for the trees?

I know what you’re thinking.

Oh boy *eye roll* another meditating, yogi-wannabe, vegan, soy-slurping, “peace-is-love” advice columnist.

I don’t blame you for thinking that, based on the title.

In all honesty, though, I’m way too ADHD to meditate, I HATED yoga, I love a good burger, and soy gives me gas.

I tried meditation and yoga because, like most Americans, stress was my natural state. There’s so much to worry about: Deadlines, increasing workloads, increasing costs of everything without increasing pay, physical health, mental health, family, pets…and the list goes on.

That’s when I decided to follow the inspirational poster:

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It’s not original by any stretch of the imagination. Yet we can’t quite pull the trigger most of the time.

I pulled the trigger. But I still have times that I’m plagued with doubt. I still find myself distracted at times because I haven’t met all my goals yet.

But then I have moments like this one below (and the one above) that I’m able to capture with my camera because I was paying attention.

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Photo taken by me Saturday, February 10, 2018, on my morning walk in Rhode Island.

And it reminds me to be present so I don’t miss these moments in the future.

 

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My hardest goodbye

jimihendrix1
Ahhh, Jimi…how we miss your poetry

Saying goodbye to my favorite fella felt like my heart was being ripped out.

Smitty! Don’t forget me – I’ll see you soon!

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Smitty leaving the house in RI.

What? You didn’t think I was talking about a human, did you?

I bought Smitty (my 2003 Harley Davidson 1200 Custom Sportster) in August 2003. That’s how long we’ve been together.

I experienced my first motorcycle ride when I was 6 or 7. My best friend’s father took me around the block, and I was hooked.

When I was a teenager, I sought motorcyclists to befriend.

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In 1990-ish with then-boyfriend at the Canadian border. We were detained on our way back into the States!

It took an embarrassingly long time for me to realize that I could get my own motorcycle and stop relying on others to go for a ride.

The biggest obstacle to buying my own motorcycle was my mother. I can’t say I blame her… I’d been in 10 car accidents – one severe enough to land me in the hospital for two weeks.

My brilliant idea: Take Mom motorcycle shopping and have her pick it out.

You may think that was crazy, but my mother had a knack for choosing good vehicles. Plus, she was the best negotiator I’d ever seen firsthand.

So here I was, 32 years old – a homeowner – taking Mom and Dad with me to pick out my motorcycle.

She chose Smitty. I chose his name. She negotiated an unheard-of $4,000 off the asking price.

And, you know what? It worked. Mom doesn’t worry as much about me riding.

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My friend Bonnie in Bluffton, SC, letting me know Smitty arrived safely!

When I’m sad, stressed, or generally feeling unsettled, Smitty and I hit the road. No one has ever made me feel as good. His magical healing power is the reason I decided to move South – so we could spend more quality time together.

If you ride, you get that.

So remember when you hit the road in the warmer weather: Please pay attention to the road. My fellow riders and I are out there trying to shake off the blues, or de-stress.

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Smitty, safely bundled up while being stored in my friend’s auto body shop in Bluffton. He added the “pigtails” to the mirrors to personify me! The employees are intrigued, I hear…😂

 

Uncategorized

Idle hands

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I look like this on the outside, but in my head, it’s like a pack of dogs vs. a vacuum cleaner.

Idle hands are the devil’s workshop” is what people say to encourage each other and themselves to stay out of trouble by keeping busy.

There’s a stigma to being. Just being. Being still, being contemplative. Oh, sure, all the online articles advise us to take a moment for ourselves… “You can’t pour from an empty cup,” and “Self care isn’t selfish,” blah blah blah.

We share the pre-made graphics with pretty colors and appealing fonts displaying these sayings, encouraging each other to care for ourselves.

But we don’t really. We’re too busy.

I’ve been stressed for so long that it’s my de facto state. Between my job, nursing my two elderly French bulldogs, being the handler for my alma mater’s mascot, and renovating my house, I have either been busy or feeling guilty for not doing what needed to be done.

Then the days I worked for arrived: No house, no job, and, unexpectedly, no dogs.

While I revel in achieving most of my goals, I also find myself a little lost and feeling more than a little guilty. From age 16, I’ve had two jobs, or I worked full time and went to school. What am I doing, laying around all day?

That’s where friends come in: Stop. Breathe. You’re not on a time table. Enjoy your sabbatical – you won’t have this opportunity again until retirement.

We all need reminders. I am exceedingly grateful for my friends, many of whom seem to know when I need that pep talk.

For now, I’m going to concentrate on being. Just being. Screw the stigma.

Uncategorized

Just relax

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My hair, post-massage. Yeah…it was that good.

Stress accompanies most major life changes.

  • Sell home of 17 years          ☑️
  • Quit job of 16 years              ☑️
  • Plan for 1,000 mile move   ☑️

Luckily, I have a friend who’s been there/done that, and he knew just what I needed: a professional therapeutic massage.

So off I went for my first ever massage at Essential Health in North Providence – a very generous gift.

It was fantastic. I highly recommend. If you’ve thought about going for one but are uncomfortable with the thought of getting naked in front of a stranger, don’t let it stop you. My massage therapist Michelle said, “I have clients who keep pants and socks on. Be comfortable!”

I know what you’re thinking…Yes, I got a happy ending. The kind that comes from having a professional skillfully massage out my knots and tension. Perverts. Don’t ask them about happy endings – you’re probably not paying enough for them to pretend to be amused by your unoriginal jokes for an hour.

But do go get a massage at Essential Health in North Providence, RI. Ask for Michelle.