Choose You Blog
I was talking to my friend Morra the other day and she said, “I never worry about your dog.” I think I must have once again been talking about my dog, which seems to happen at least as often as I talk about my kids. What she meant, of course, was that my pets have a lush life indeed, and it’s true. I come by it honestly, though, because we have a family saying in my family, “When I die I hope I come back as one of my dad’s pets.”
My family’s pets live the good life, it’s true, but we consider that as it ought to be. Why bring in a pet, such as a dog, if you don’t plan to care for it properly? This includes training, walking and exercise, interaction, and most of all, love. Pets are good for us, when we’re good to them.
Pets have long been lauded in health care, particularly dogs:
- Research shows that caring for an animal can improve your mental and physical well-being—they can also help reduce stress and blood pressure in owners, increase longevity in those who’ve had heart attacks, and even relax and improve the appetites of Alzheimer’s patients.
- Dogs help wounded warriors heal at military hospitals
- Dogs make great therapists, psychological and occupational and physical, and have even been used for learning disabilities. My dog used to work with children, actually, as a therapy dog. These kids had mostly learning and developmental disabilities. That’s how awesome my dog is.
- Dogs can even smell cancer. No really, Google it: cancer sniffing dog.
I’m not saying you should rush out and get a pet, or a dog. Becoming a pet parent is a huge responsibility, and only those willing to invest the mostly time it takes should do this, and only if they have the space for it. Your call, but make it wisely. You need to make the same Choose You commitments for your pet as you do for yourself, because they are subject to the same health problems people are. In fact, my dog had cancer. A really bad, aggressive one that is typically fatal. But, we caught it early (go screening!) and were able to get ahead of it.
So my dog has the same Choose You commitments I do: get active, eat right, get check-ups and protect your skin. Okay so no, I don’t put sunscreen on my dog but I do take care of his skin and coat.
What do I get back? A lot of support from my dog. For example, on a daily basis we hit the track or trail for exercise and he:
- Helps me keep a good pace. A dog naturally varies his pace on a walk–speeding up and slowing down. That’s what current exercise theory says is good for you.
- Helps me stop and smell the roses (or spot birds, see flowers, etc.). My dog is on his walk to experience the surroundings, not just maintain a brisk pace for his girlish figure. And often, catching glimpse of a gorgeous heron taking flight will stop both of us in our tracks. Nothing like that to keep perspective, gain some balance and perspective, and de-stress.
- Helps me stay honest to my exercise regimen. Some days I might feel a big cop out coming on, but then he’ll meet me at the door and stare at me with his great big beautiful brown eyes and I just can’t let him down. That exercise time can be the highlight of the day for both of us.
This support, which sure, I get from friends and family, but I get it all the time, unconditionally from my dog, is crucial to my wellness commitments.
So who is your support system?
NOTE: For fellow Houstonians, this Saturday, it’s Paint the Town Teal for Ovarian Cancer Awareness (event details also on Facebook)!
Inspired by the survivorship story of our Assistant General Manager, Marion Burch, Memorial City Mall on September 1st kicked-off a month-long initiative with Memorial Hermann Memorial City Medical Center to raise awareness and funds for the Ovarian Cancer Research Fund (OCRF).
On Saturday, September 25th, Memorial Hermann Memorial City Medical Center and Dr. Barry Siller, Marion’s gynecologic oncologist, will conduct an educational presentation in the mall at 9:00 am. The event is free and open to the public. Booths in the mall will be staffed with medical professionals affiliated with the hospital to offer additional information and resources on ovarian cancer. Marion will be on hand to share her experiences.
To RSVP, please contact Memorial Hermann Healthcare System’s 222-CARE (2273) Customer Information Center and when prompted, select option two.
Also available for purchase at the seminar will be themed, reusable Paint the Town Teal shopping bags. Net profits benefit the OCRF, the largest private funding agency that supports ovarian cancer research. Inside the Paint the Town Teal bags, $15 each, are a teal ribbon lapel pin and exclusive savings offers and/or samples from Bath & Body Works, Metropark, G by Guess, L’Occitane en Provence, Sun & Ski Sports Expo and more.
* All images from a walk yesterday with my dog. Yes, we love it, we know it’s a blessing.