Make Your Dog Proud

img_0970I woke up this morning and greeted the last day of 2016 as I’ve spent most of the year, exhausted. I’m physically, mentally, spiritually, parentally, and politically kaput. New Year’s Day, with its promise of a clean slate, is usually my favorite holiday but 2017 has me nervous. So I’m giving myself a low bar this year and dedicating my energy toward healthy preservation. This year I aspire to be more like our dog Opal, not to be confused with our anxiety ridden, butt-biting English Bulldog, Otis.

Be-More-Like-Opal 2017 Resolutions

Be nicer to my family
Opal does not complain, needle, or find fault. She enthusiastically appreciates her family but is more measured with strangers. It’s not that she doesn’t play well with others, she just has her love priorities straight.

Stop striving for happiness
Opal lives in the present moment and meets the day as it unfolds. She does not grasp at the past, worry about the future, nor elevate one state of being over another.

Embrace the discipline of ordinary
Opal is a minimalist and a connoisseur of simple pleasures. She never compares lives with other dogs or wonders if she needs to find her purpose. Each day she delights in her usual kibble, routine neighborhood walk, and ever-continuing skirmish with the backyard squirrels.

Accept my body, aging and all
Opal doesn’t mind her graying muzzle, her middle-aged spread, or that she can’t always make it to the couch on the first jump. At best she’s got six years left on the planet and she’s not going to waste her time thinking about whether her legs are too short or if Otis thinks she’s cute.

Own my emotional baggage
Opal came to us with a history we will never completely understand. Over the eight years that she has lived with us, she has worked through most of her issues, except for two. She continues to reactively pee on carpet and cowers when we put on her leash. Recovery and evolution are life-long. Rescue Remedy for Pets helps. There’s a formula for people too.

Opal is an excellent napper and yet always has energy for a new adventure. For my entire life, I’ve viewed sleep as the enemy. This year I vow to find my own Opalesque rest-work-play ratio.

Give more hugs
Opal experiences love tactically. I need to shrink my New Englander, WASPy comfort zone and hug more. Life is too short to have a big personal bubble.

Bark more and stand up for what I believe to be true
Opal is a world-class barker when she feels that her world is being threatened. It’s clear that barking will be required in 2017.

That’s all I’ve got – a tepid, worried, tired welcome to the New Year. Be gentle with yourself and kind to others, all others. Make your dog proud. The bar is low, your dog is already proud of you.