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My Dog & I: My Dog Keeps Me Human.

I reach a hand down to touch my dog’s head and feel connected again.

The running and rushing of my life slows down a little and I take a deep breath.

We certainly include our dogs in our life for lots of reasons. Some are tangible and others less so. Dogs function as working partners and guardians, as helpmates and companions but the aspect of their contribution that I am noticing today is a less tangible one -their support of our “human-ness”.

The need to continuously stay on the leading edge of our complicated lives takes many of us to a place where we feel almost “disconnected” from our emotions and inner voices. This can lead to a sense of isolation from the very stuff that makes us “human”.

We do not think to put aside time to rebalance our lives with an hour beside the river or a simple walk without a cellphone tucked behind an ear. And frankly, I would often not do half of these things without my dogs’ coercion! The necessity of focusing on Portia’s needs, takes me away from my appointments schedule and brings me to a quieter place where I can start to notice my own rhythms.

Many of us know that we need to walk, train feed and pay attention to our canine partners without realizing the “side effects” of these “chores”.

We are becoming a much more sterile species. With less physical contact in our lives and with more and more of communication taking place on an electronic playing field, we are in danger of forgetting the healing power of touch. We are putting our “thinking” needs over our need to connect with a tangible, living being.

It is a wonderful contribution that our dogs make in our lives that allows us to touch, caress and connect with a breathing, sentient and empathetic creature in an uncomplicated way.

No need to make polite small talk or apologize for being late. No need to bring expensive presents or go “on holiday” together to reconnect. Your canine sidekick is there to bring you back “home” with her simple companionship and comforting presence.

When you are in that better space together it becomes easier to feel kinder, more tolerant and more open to the possibilities of a connection with your fellow humans. Putting yourself on a more elemental level with you dog puts you in a more accessible place with your family and friends…

It is not necessary to “dial your dog’s number” to reach her and if you did, she couldn’t pick up the phone. The communication tools that we use with each other these days are completely useless with your dog and in fact, would only obstruct your connection….Wait a minute! Perhaps the same is true with your human connections too… I wonder sometimes how long it will be before we stop shaking hands with each other??

I love that my dog takes me back to basics. I appreciate the fact that I have to look up from my phone to watch what she is doing. I am deeply grateful for her warmth, physical connection and unfailing forgiveness…In fact, I really believe that without my dog, I would be a lot less of a human…

 – Janine Lazarus, HashtagWV #105. September 2018. Follow Janine on instagram @goodladd_dogtraining and hire her at!

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