D.T. and Wrigley relaxing by the fireplace.

D.T. and Wrigley relaxing by the fireplace.
Can't we all just get along?

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Reason #8: Animals do not create heaps of laundry!!

Cutting down the amount of laundry. 
Even if you dress your pets up in those "cute" outfits, they still do not take up much space in the laundry heap.  I dislike doing laundry.  I don't mind the sorting and loading into the washer.  I even don't mind transferring the wet clothes into the dryer or drying rack.  But, I really dislike the folding, putting away and trying to find that matched sock that was there when you put them into the washer.  I don't even have a large family, just two adults and two children's worth of clothes.  So, here is a lovely picture of our kitten, Timone, cleaning our dog Wrigley.  Ahhh, thanks for the break, buddy!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Reason #7: Animals can teach some of life's great lessons.

Newest foster litter 2011
This is our second year working with our favorite no-kill animal shelter as a "foster family".  We volunteer to take in animals that would otherwise be euthanized and give them a home until a family can adopt them.  Yesterday, we picked up a litter of 6 week old kittens (pictured on left) and were reminded of some wonderful life lessons that do not require a long-winded lecture or self-help book.  These unwanted, motherless kittens, endured hours traveling in a crate, were poked and prodded for their health, uncertain of their fate and began purring the minute I picked them up.  It was as if they were telling me in those little motors how grateful they were that someone cared.  Fostering animals is a great experience, especially if you have children and/or don't want to commit to years of owning a pet.  My kids learn how to be patient with a timid and scared kitten, nurture a pregnant dog, the responsibility of feeding and taking care of a pet, see the acceptance of a litter welcoming an new, orphaned kitten, the compassion for living things and the joy of a foster pet being adopted.  It is also a great lesson in the circle of life and always amazes me how these little creatures already have a personality different from one another the moment you meet them.  I can't say enough positive things about working with your local animal shelter.  Even if you do not have the time or space to foster animals, the shelter is always looking for volunteers, donations and support from their community.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Reason #6: Animals are the masters of living in the moment!

"Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment"- Buddha.  I try to live by this quote but the biggest fault of mine is wishing time away.  "I can't wait until this stressful day is over, I'll buy that top when I lose 10 pounds, when the kids are older we'll go there, etc."  I wasn't in spin class this morning for five minutes before I was wishing it was over! :) Yoga is a great practice for being "in the now".  You have to be present  with the postures and the breathing to reap the benefits.  The hardest part, for me, is the meditation at the end without clouding up my mind with the day's to-do list.   No matter what is going on, an animal can live in the moment, no problem!  One of my favorite things to do is ask the dog "Do you want to go for a walk?"  Wrigley is always eager and willing and when outside she is SO happy and mindful of every scent, noise, green space, change in the wind and her family walking with her.  You don't need to read Eckhart Tolle's book, The Power of Now (although is IS very good) to learn how to live in the moment, you just need to BE with an animal and watch how they do it effortlessly.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Reason #5: Animals are more tolerant.

Today, I was helping out a friend and agreed to pick her child up from Pre-School.  I only had about twenty minutes between the time I had to pick her up to the time I had to be home to get our kids off the AM Kindergarten bus.  Time was of the essence!  I nicely asked the parents in line if I could "cut" to the front to get my friend's child first and knocked on the classroom door.  I was surprised by the other parents and teachers who all seemed "put-out" that I was budging in line as well as interrupting class (which was late, by the way) to get my friend's child.  Oh, well, I thought, they'll get over it.  I would gladly let someone go ahead of me if they had an emergency.  When I came home, I remembered a video I saw on You Tube that really did make me LOL.  It is a slide show of animals in ridiculous costumes and they all look miserable, but tolerant!  Even the music is perfect.  It's not Halloween, but the images are a bit eerie and scary (in a funny way).  I am pleased to say, I have never subjected my pets to this embarrassment, but I do think the scuba dog is my favorite!!

Friday, March 11, 2011

Reason #4: Animals do not stalk you!

 Well, unless you are a Gazelle on a savanna in Africa or my kitten versus the fish tank.  It is only midday and I have already received enough telemarketing phone calls on my land line and cell phone to want to switch my number!  If it's not the incessant phones calls asking me to buy this, donate that, claim my free car and/or thousands of dollars, then it's my kids' friends who want ME to host a play date!  I really do want my kids to have friends and learn to socialize with others, just not every waking moment.  And the unannounced, last minute dates are the WORST!  Really, do you think I am going to drop everything to host a play date which includes snacks, refereeing and the trashing of my house, so you can have a break?!  It is the first sunny day in a long time and I will bet a million dollars (if I had it) that my doorbell will ring the minute the bus pulls away.  TGIF!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Reason #3: Animals can problem solve effectively.

During another gloomy, dreary day in Chicagoland, I find myself wondering why I live here. Of course to be close to friends and family, but other than that (Chicago is a great city, too) the winter season is.....LONG! This morning to get out of my funk, I went to yoga, had some extra green tea, meditated, watched some funny T.V, tried to take a nap and read a book. As I came down the stairs, I found our dog, Wrigley, getting in some rays on the stairway landing. Not a huge area of rays, but enough to bask in some cheery sunlight for several minutes. Again, animals just "know" how to problem solve without reading a self-help book, phoning a friend or popping some pills! :) That's it for now....excuse me while I squeeze in next to Wrigley and pretend I am on the beach!
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