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A Lesson From My Dog: Take Time to Rest

lessons from Harriet

“Rest and be thankful.” – William Wordsworth

Denver saw the arrival of summer this past weekend with temperatures that reached in the high 70s, and after almost a month of consecutive rain, most were thrilled for the warmth and sunshine and headed outdoors. The warm weather always means that I am a little more likely to extend my morning walks with my dog, but yesterday she quickly let me know that she had something else in mind.

My dog, Harriet Ethel, has mostly black fur, so the heat really affects her. I always tend to forget that as it gets warmer, she gets tired faster because her little body is heating up like an oven. Yet, she has no problem reminding me. Yesterday, about 30 minutes into our walk she kept trying to pull me to the side. At first I thought she wanted to snatch something out of the grass, but I came to realize that she was pulling me into the shade. I decided to just let her pull me, and she pulled me to right underneath a tree where she laid down and just looked at me.

Part of me was thinking – let’s keep going, we are only half way done! But then I thought about it…She was telling me what she needed, and I had to listen to her. I really had nowhere to be, and it was absolutely gorgeous outside.  So the two of us just plopped down under that tree and sat there. Doing nothing.  She was happy as a clam to just be sitting there, in some shade, cooling down and watching the cars go by. After about 15 minutes, she clearly had cooled down, so I got up and she followed me. All she needed was just a little rest.

The lesson…we all need just a little rest from time-to-time. We can get so caught up in following the path we have created for ourself that we forget to take just 15 minutes to sit and do nothing. I couldn’t remember the last time I did that, and found myself very grateful. All thanks to sweet Harriet.

Dogs are really amazing because not only are they always living in the present moment, but they innately follow their basic needs – food, rest, exercise, shelter, companionship/love and fun.  Which – if you really stop and think about it are our basic needs, too. We just complicate things.

So – do as Harriet does…pick a tree and sit under it. Just breathing and observing. My guess is that after 15 minutes you will cool down, feel better and be ready to go on your merry way, too.

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