Did you know that August 26th is National dog day?
Well it is, and while i love the idea of a special day put aside for celebrating our furry friends i feel like one measly day a year isn't enough! These pugnatious pugs and dedicated dobermans are so good to us (and good for us) I feel they deserve to be celebrated every day.
Archaeological and genetic evidence indicate that our canine companions evolved from wolves. Over tens of thousands of years, the individuals best suited to living among us – those who had a taste for our food scraps, who were not too afraid approach us, and who were best able to trigger our affection – selectively passed on their genes, thereby strengthening those traits. Later, once dog-human companionship was established, humans took active control over their breeding to develop traits that made dogs even more sociable. Other dogs were bred to help us herd animals, or to hunt. Humans and dogs became interdependent.
Dogs, and the wolves they descended from, are profoundly social animals. To survive and thrive they must adapt to the customs of their group, figure out their place in the hierarchy, and be forgiving. While we influenced their development in major ways, we could not have done this with just any animal species. Dogs are trainable, and suited to being our companions, because they have an appreciation for the social order that is built into them from the start.
For all of these reasons dogs, possibly more than any other animal species, are able to influence us in ways that are good for our physical and mental health. Simply having a dog has been linked to greater health and longevity. Though the precise reasons for this are not known, some likely explanations are that the act of dog walking is healthy exercise, and that having a canine companion protects us from loneliness – and loneliness is deadly. Just being with a dog can reduce stress, and petting a dog has been shown to reduce blood pressure and to stimulate the release of oxytocin, a hormone associated with bonding and love.
Of course, dogs benefit from our companionship, too. In addition to getting their basic needs for food and shelter, they want and need our companionship – anyone who has come home from work to a bouncing, tail-wagging pooch can testify to that. And much like humans, dogs like and benefit from touch, though each individual dog has its own preferences; some may only want to be petted very little, others a lot. Petting should be adapted to suit the individual dog.
If a dog likes to be petted, does it logically follow that she might really enjoy a massage? Well, why not? Though you may never find a dog that is as into massage as this Corgi, if your dog likes to be petted there is no reason not to give her a basic canine massage. With practice, you should be able to customize the massage to best suit your dog. Meanwhile, you’ll be strengthening your bond all while getting your own health benefits.
Wait – what did you say? After all that you don’t even HAVE a dog?! Consider adopting one. The RSPCA has local chapters in all parts of the country that can help connect you with wonderful dogs (and other companion animals) that need a forever home.
Forget Valentine’s Day, it’s April and we are celebrating Couple Appreciation Month! Since February has become commercialized with giant red hearts filled with candy and car advertisements, we are going to take it down a notch and give you some simple tips to show your other half how much you appreciate them and how you can celebrate your relationship.
Tip #1: It doesn’t need to be flashy.
Too often showing our appreciation translates to buying something new. It doesn’t have to be that way. Instead of purchasing a big gift like jewelry or a new iPad, opt for ordering in and eating by candlelight. Take a walk. Plan a picnic. Plot a fun scavenger hunt.
Tip #2: Make it sentimental.
For the romantic types, having a sentimental spin on your celebration is not a bad thing. Is there a special place you met? Or maybe you have a significant moment you can honor in some way together. Spending meaningful, quality time will only make your bond stronger.
Tip #3: Create new memories.
Maybe looking to the past doesn’t cut it, so instead look to the future. Create new memories. Surprise your loved one with a single flower for every day of the month. Or write each other a letter expressing your appreciation for your lives together.
Tip #4: Keep it simple.
Let’s face it, we can get bogged down with work, raising a family, housework, and everything else that comes with managing a household. If you’re feeling frisky, offer to do the dishes, laundry or some other mundane task your partner can’t stand. Or go wild and hire someone else to do it for you for a day, a week, or the whole month!
Tip #5: Do it together.
Find something you can do together. Hire a babysitter or a pet sitter for the day and spend some one-on-one time with your honey. Venture out and try something new. Get a massage, or go skydiving. Or go skydiving and then get a massage.
Valentine’s Day has an air of “here’s your gift” but Couple Appreciation Month doesn’t have to be that way. There’s no right or wrong way to celebrate. What’s important is honoring your relationship and spending quality time with your other half.
It's February! We made it through the holidays just to get inundated with notions of chocolate, flowers, and extravagant weekends away to reconnect with the one you love. But what if we pass on the chocolate and heart covered cards and approach the day (or the whole month!) with a focus on connecting with the people we care about. Not just your significant other, but your best friend that you never have a chance to catch up with. Or maybe your favorite uncle who was always quick with a lousy joke and equally fast in sneaking you a cookie when your mom wasn't looking.
Share some time with someone. Make a pedicure date with your best friend. If you can each bring along your favorite mom, aunt, extremely sweet older neighbor who watches out for your kids, even better. If you can't set aside that much time with everyone's busy schedules, drop off a piece of cake from your favorite bakery. Or keep it crazy cost effective and have your kid finger-paint a very special valentine for their teacher.
Appreciate someone. Look your favorite dry cleaner/butcher/hairdresser right in the eye and say, "Thank you. I can't tell you how much I appreciate what you do for me. You make my life easier.". Or maybe drop an email to your kid's basketball coach and say, "Thank you. My kid loves playing basketball, and I really appreciate that you give your time to make that possible."
Massage someone. I know, this sounds weird, huh? I'm a massage therapist and I'm telling you to do it yourself. But massage doesn't have to be an hour long ordeal with fancy oils and a complicated routine. Watch a video and treat your partner to a hand or foot massage.
Connect with YOU. Not everyone schedules regular massage, and that's okay. But if it's been awhile, maybe it's time to practice a little self-care and get yourself a massage, too. The best gift you can give the people you love is a happy, healthy you.
You can pick up a gift certificate right here or book yourself in
So, yesterday held a few awkward moments for me when I had to sack my business advisor. She is a nice lady, educated and professional but she doesn't support same sex marriage.
I know this might be controversial and might make me unpopular but I am making my stance clear.
I support gay marriage.
I support the LGBTQI community.
I support your basic human right to love whoever you want.
I love the idea of random acts of kindness but i don't always have the budget to lavish gifts upon those who need it. Luckily that's not the only way we can committing a random act of kindness. Why not start small with something we can do every day for three different people:
Someone you don't know
This is pretty simple and can quickly become a habit. (That's a good thing!)
Smile. When you're in a depressingly long line at the bank, watching a parent deal with their toddler's public meltdown, or sitting next to another car in traffic. A kind grin goes a long way when you're feeling a bit hopeless about the daily hassles in life.
Someone you know
Take a moment to think about who in your life may be a little touch-deficient. Maybe you know someone who is recently widowed, a single parent with older children, or a new empty nester. Maybe even a young teenager in an especially introverted stage of awkwardness.
Make it a point to touch someone. It could be a warm hand shake, high-five, or great hug, whatever is appropriate for that person and situation. Touch is shown to make us happier and healthier, and it benefits both you and the receiver!
People depend on you, so it's important to take care of yourself. If you've only got a few minutes, steal away and flip through a great magazine. If you can set aside some more time, get a massage, go for a walk by yourself to recharge, or visit your favorite coffee shop.
Kindness doesn’t have to cost you anything, and it doesn’t need to be a grand gesture. All little goes a long way!