Advertising
Advertising

Personal Development, Canine-Style

Personal Development, Canine-Style
Bloodhound

    It must be morning; I’m hungry.
    Then again, I’m always hungry, so it could really be any time.
    I can hear the shower and feel the sun on my back, so I’m guessing the Boss is awake.
    I lift my head off my bed and look down the passage.
    I want a shower too.
    Sometimes I try and get in but he won’t let me.
    Boring.
    He’s not so happy in the mornings any more.
    He used to be, but things have changed.
    I think it’s stress.

    Not really sure what that is, but I know it’s not good.
    It’s a human thing.
    I’ve heard him talk about it on the phone.
    Don’t really know what a phone is either, but I know they’re good to chew.
    Chewing’s one of my favourite things.

    In the old days we wrestled every morning.
    He’d pull my ears and I’d jump on his head.
    These days, not so much.
    Before he went to work, we’d play ball.
    After work too.
    He’d throw, I’d fetch.
    He’d throw, I’d fetch.
    Forever.
    What an amazing game.
    Such fun.
    He’d laugh and talk human. I’d growl.
    I’d laugh if I could.
    Mostly, I’d just wag my tail.
    I think it’s sad that humans don’t have tails.
    Sometimes he’d lose focus, so I would nudge him.
    Maybe a little nip on the hand just to keep his head in the game.
    How much fun can one Golden Retriever and one human have?

    But lately he seems grumpy.

    Advertising

    Sometimes, I wonder if he still loves me.
    I lick him anyway because he’s my favourite human in the world.
    I get so excited to see him.
    When he hugs me, my tail wags all by itself.
    I wonder why my kisses don’t make him happy like they used to.

    In the good old days, we would walk to the park every day.
    We’d hang out with other dogs and humans.
    I mostly played with Kelvin the fat Labrador and the Boss would laugh with Kelvin’s human; a female who smelled like vanilla.
    I licked her once.
    She didn’t taste so good.
    We don’t walk together much these days.
    And when we do, he talks on the phone.
    I hate that phone.
    I’m gonna eat it when he’s not looking.

    I liked it more when we lived in the first house.
    The little one.
    Three houses ago.
    He played with me the most in that house.
    I loved that place.
    He was happier and he didn’t yell at me for getting on the couch.
    Or chewing his shoes.
    We used to watch TV together on the couch every night.
    Well, I slept, he watched.

    He would rest his hand on my head.
    I like that.

    Advertising

    Now we live in a big house, with a big stupid couch.
    A stupid couch for humans only.
    Not dogs.
    I don’t like the big house or the big couch.
    He makes me stay down on the stupid slippery polished floor boards.

    The other day I slid into the table and hurt my nose.
    Stupid floor boards.

    Walkies

      When I was puppy we used to go everywhere together.
      We would both ride in the old station wagon and I would put my head out the window.
      Or on his lap.
      It was the most fun ever.
      I don’t know why humans don’t do it.
      Head out the window, that is.
      Don’t they know?

      No more head out the window action for me these days though.
      Mr Serious has a new fancy schmancy car.
      Apparently, it’s a dog-free zone too.
      On the rare occasion that I do get a ride, I have to lie on three blankets.
      And no wind in my face.
      What’s the point of that?
      Like having a bone you can’t chew.
      Stupid.

      Advertising

      We used to go to the beach every weekend in that old station wagon.
      We surfed together.
      Well, he surfed, I chased seagulls, played in the waves and rolled in the sand.
      He liked talking to the girl humans who wanted to play with me.
      They only talked to him because I was there.
      Sometimes he got kisses but I always got more.
      On the way home I would put my wet, sandy, hairy body on the front seat and he was happy I was next to him.
      I loved that car too.
      Those were the days.
      We haven’t done that since I was four.
      Five years ago.

      Too busy apparently.
      Too busy being successful and important to have fun with me.
      Glad I’m not successful, it doesn’t look like much fun.

      But I’m so adorable, I don’t understand why he doesn’t miss me.
      In fact, I don’t really understand him sometimes.
      He’s meant to be smarter than me but lately, I’m not so sure.
      I know I’m just a dog and I don’t really understand a lot of human stuff, but I do know about fun and happiness.

      He’s rarely happy these days.
      And he’s always too tired to do anything.
      Even when I pull his sleeve.
      Or lick his face.
      If he got rid of the stupid slippery floor, the dumb couch, the dumb car and played with me more, then he would be happy.
      Me too.
      I used to sleep on the end of his bed.
      Used to.
      (heavy sigh)
      But now he has a new dog-free bed too.
      Of course.
      It’s expensive and apparently I moult.
      Whatever that means.
      I hate that bed.
      I chew the legs when he’s not around.

      Advertising

      Next year we’re moving to another house.
      A bigger one.
      Maybe that will make him happy.
      Hope so.
      Doubt it though.
      If I could speak, I’d tell him that too.
      I don’t get the big house thing; there’s only him and me.
      Us dogs don’t really care how big our kennel is, we just want to be near our human.

      Anyway, I’m very excited about today.
      I’m gonna hang out with Charlie for a while.
      He’s my buddy from over the fence.
      We made a hole so we can visit each other.
      I’m not really sure what kinda dog he is, but it doesn’t matter.
      He’s pretty smart but not quite as handsome as me.
      We do fun stuff together every day.

      Mostly we chase birds.
      I hate those birds.
      And we chew old lady Jacobs’ laundry baskets.
      We’ve eaten three of them.

      Baskets not birds.

      Then I might lie in the sun.
      And chew my foot for a while.
      I might have a power-nap too.
      Chasing birds makes me tired.
      I reckon the Boss should lie in the sun with me.
      And chew his foot for a while.
      It’s relaxing.
      It might help with his stress.

      Whatever that is.

      More by this author

      Craig Harper

      Leading presenter, writer and educator in the areas of high-performance, self-management, personal transformation and more

      Why Is Goal Setting Important to a Truly Fulfilling Life? Do You Make These 10 Common Mistakes Before Weighing Yourself? If your Childhood Sucked – It’s Time to Stop Blaming Your Parents! Exploring Relationships with the Single Weirdo Education Should be More than Academic Basics

      Trending in Lifestyle

      1 13 Bad Habits You Need to Quit Right Away 2 10 Most Entertaining Things To Do During A Long Journey 3 Definition and Techniques of Photo Editing 4 Can You Stop Depression from Damaging Your Brain? 5 How to Tap Into the Power of Positivity

      Read Next

      Advertising
      Advertising
      Advertising

      Last Updated on May 21, 2019

      13 Bad Habits You Need to Quit Right Away

      13 Bad Habits You Need to Quit Right Away

      Creating your productivity ritual — a routine that helps you to maintain a peak level of energy can get you the best out of your days.

      Part of creating your productivity routine involves removing activities that drain you (what I call “kryptonites”), and that includes your bad habits.

      Like it or not, bad habits are bad for you — mentally, physically, emotionally and even socially in some cases. While some bad habits are harder to quit than others, it doesn’t change the fact that you need to get rid of them. Here are 13 bad habits to quit right away:

      1. Stress Eating

      I used to be a serious stress eater. I would eat whenever I felt unhappy, stressed, disappointed, anxious, or even… happy! My eating had nothing to do with being hungry, and everything to do with using food to fill my emotional voids.

      While eating would comfort me, this feeling was momentary and would disappear right after I was done eating. Instead, what I had left would be the same emotional void that triggered me to eat in the first place (be it unhappiness or stress), a 2,000 excess calorie intake over what I should have eaten for the day, and anger at myself for having stress ate.

      I’ve since overcome stress eating. I have healthy eating habits and a healthy relationship with food today where I no longer use food as a tool to fill my emotions.

      If you are a stress eater, don’t fret — here’s how to manage your stress better:

      How to Manage Stress (A Step-by-Step Guide to Turn Stress Into Success)

      2. Nail Biting

      Not only is nail biting unhygienic, it is also socially repelling, leads to dental problems like malocclusion of the anterior teeth,[1] potentially cause stomach problems,[2] and lead to severely deformed fingernails in the long run.

      People who bite their nails tend to have shorter nails than the average person; their nail plates also experience scarring and may eventually become absent.[3]

      Understand what triggers your nail biting behavior and replace it with another neutral to positive habit. Make habits to break habits.

      For example, if you bite your nails when you are stressed, go for a walk or listen to music instead the next time you feel stressed.

      Advertising

      3. Hanging out with Naysayers

      We all know these people — people who play devil’s advocate to every idea you have and every goal you want to pursue. We are already our greatest self-critics, so it doesn’t help when there’s someone beside us, ever ready to pounce on what we say and tear it down.

      Hang out less with these naysayers and spend more time with supportive people who share constructive feedback instead. You will be much happier this way.

      Learn how to get rid of naysayers with these 10 Ways to Ignore the Naysayers and Achieve Your Dreams.

      4. Being with People Who Don’t Appreciate You

      Haven’t all of us been in this situation before? Trying to please people who don’t appreciate us? Bending over backwards to be there for people when they are never there for us?

      While we give without expectations of return, we need to draw a line with people who don’t value us because these people damage our souls.

      Stop spending time with people who don’t appreciate you, and spend more time with people who do instead.

      Unsure who you should get rid of? Learn about it here: 5 Kinds of Toxic People That You Need to Get Rid of Now

      5. Smoking

      Smoking is one of the leading causes of preventable death globally.[4]

      In just the United States alone, about 500,000 deaths are attributed to smoking-related diseases annually. A recent study estimated that as much as one-third of China’s male population will have significantly shortened life-spans due to smoking! Gender-wise, male and female smokers lose an average of 13.2 and 14.5 years of life respectively — that’s over a decade of life right there.[5]

      Not only that, smoking causes pre-mature skin aging (i.e. wrinkles), yellowing of teeth, bad breath, and worse of all — jeopardy of the health of people around you, including your loved ones. Studies have shown that non-smokers exposed to second-hand smoke are at risk to many of the health problems associated with direct smoking.[6]

      Smoking risks

        6. Excessive Drinking

        All of us know that drinking too much alcohol is bad for us, but do you know how bad it really is?

        Advertising

        According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, drinking too much — be it on a single occasion or over time — can seriously damage your health:[7]

        • Brain problems: Alcohol interferes with the brain’s communication pathways, making it harder to think clearly and move with coordination.
        • Heart diseases: Cardiomyopathy – Stretching and drooping of heart muscle, Arrhythmias – Irregular heart beat, stroke, high blood pressure
        • Liver diseases: Steatosis or fatty liver, alcoholic hepatitis, fibrosis, cirrhosis
        • Pancreas problems: Pancreatitis, a dangerous inflammation and swelling of the blood vessels in the pancreas that prevents proper digestion.
        • Different types of cancer: Mouth, esophagus, throat, liver, breast

        If you drink a lot, perhaps cutting it out right away will be tough. Cut down the number of glasses you drink each time, followed by the number of times you drink a week.

        If need be, seek help from an AA group — you aren’t alone in this. Change starts from today.

        7. Eating Junk Food (Including Diet Soda)

        Junk food — they are everywhere in our society today. From McDonald’s, to KFC, to Burger King, to 24-hour takeouts, junk food such as fries, highly processed burgers and sodas has become a staple in our society today.

        If you think, “Hey, but junk food is tasty!”, think again:

        A study by Paul Johnson and Paul Kenny suggests that junk food consumption alters brain activity in a way similar to addictive drugs like cocaine and heroin.[8]

        “After many weeks with unlimited access to junk food, the pleasure centers of rat brains became desensitized, requiring more food for pleasure.”

        And you wonder why you seem to crave fast food when you just had some the day before?

        While it may not be possible to remove junk food completely from our diet right away, we can reduce our junk food consumption starting today. Instead of soda, opt for a fruit juice (fresh juice, not the carbonated kind) or mineral water. Instead of fries, switch to mashed potato, a salad, or rice (many food outlets allow for this today). Instead of a fried meat patty, go for a grilled one.

        Where possible, opt for healthy food joints like salad bars and delis as opposed to fast food outlets. Every little step goes a long way.

        Here’re some healthy snacks ideas for you: 15 Healthy Snacks You Should Always Have At Home

        8. Eating Too Much Red Meat

        There has been conclusive evidence that consumption of red meat increases the risk of colorectal cancer; and suggestive evidence that it increases the risk of oesophageal cancer, lung cancer, pancreatic cancer, and endometrial cancer.

        Advertising

        In addition, some studies have linked consumption of large quantities of red meat with breast cancer, stomach cancer, lymphoma, bladder cancer, lung cancer and prostate cancer![9]

        Personally, I’m a vegetarian so I don’t consume red meat, but for those of you who consume red meat, do watch out and limit your intake — better still, cut it out of your diet. World Cancer Research Fund recommends limiting intake of red meat to less than 300g (11 oz) cooked weight per week, “very little, if any of which to be processed.”

        Of if you’re thinking about becoming a vegetarian, check out this guide: 5 Practical Tips For Starting a Vegetarian Lifestyle

        9. Watching Too Much TV

        I stopped watching TV since eight years ago and I have never regretted it. Every once in a while I will switch on the telly to see what is on, and then I will switch it off because it’s just the same boring shtick over and over again.

        Watching TV, particularly well-written dramas, can be a good way to unwind. However, remember that TV isn’t your life.

        Spending three hours every night watching TV will not change your life for the better. Rather, using that time to reflect on your life, take stock, and take action on your goals will.

        It’s not easy to remove TV from your daily routine right away, but follow these 6 Steps To Remove TV From Your Life.

        10. Being Late

        Not only is being late being rude to others, it also means that you’re always rushing from one place to another, playing catch up in your agenda, and having to apologize to every person you meet.

        Stop being late and not being punctual, but practice being early instead. Target to arrive 15 minutes earlier before any appointment and bring along something to do in those 15 minutes (or longer if the other person turns out to be late). Then you can stop playing catch up and stay ahead in life.

        Learn more tips about how to be more punctual here: How to Be On Time Every Time

        11. Being in Bad Relationships

        Are you always dating the wrong guys/girls? Do you end up with jerks all the time? Well, you may not be able to stop yourself from meeting bad partners but you can certainly stop yourself from furthering contact with them, spending time with them, or even… entering into a relationship with them.

        I used to invest myself in this guy who was nothing but toxic for me. After a good five months of experiencing nothing but getting burned over and over again, I realized that he was a total waste of my time and I deserved better. I decided to cut him off, and it was soon after that I met my soulmate.

        Advertising

        Learn about why you shouldn’t stay in a bad relationship and how to deal with it if you’re in one: Why Trying Hard to Stay in an Unhappy Relationship Is Not Love, but Fear

        12. Leaving Things to the Last Minute

        Burning the midnight oil isn’t fun — it’s exhausting.

        Those of you who got through college by burning the midnight oil would have learned this the hard way. Not only is it damaging for your body, it is also mentally draining as you’re constantly in a hyper-tense mode, feeling anxious about whether you can finish your work on time.

        Start today on a new note. Rather than react to your deadlines, be proactive about them by planning ahead, identifying what needs to be done for the week, and getting things done in advance.

        By staying ahead of your tasks, you can also use your extra time to plan ahead in your life and get more things done.

        Take a look at this guide and learn how to stop procrastinating: Procrastination – A Step-By-Step Guide to Stop Procrastinating

        13. Focusing on the Negatives

        In every situation, there are two ways you can react: zoom down to the problem areas and crib about how things aren’t the way you want, or celebrate the areas that are going well and work on making everything better.

        Many of us see the importance of doing the latter but in practice, we do the former. Why though? Criticizing and focusing on the negatives is easy but it doesn’t empower nor inspire us to be better.

        Make a change — for every negative encounter you run into, I challenge you to identify three things that are good about it. Practice doing this for one week, and by the end of the week you’ll find that your first instinct is to think positive, not negative.

        And here’re even more ways to help you stay positive: 11 Tips for Maintaining your Positive Attitude

        The Bottom Line

        So here you find the 13 most common bad habits and their consequences on your mind and body. The good news’ you can quit them all.

        Just spot out your own bad habits and take my suggestions to quit them. Then you’ll find your life a lot healthier and happier!

        Need more tips to break your bad habits? Check out these articles:

        Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

        Reference

        Read Next