Almost every night, my mom and I walk Valery, Janko and Penny 2 or 3 miles. (Buckley requires his own walker, so we have to incorporate him with the help of an additional person!) And I have to say that especially on these muggy North Carolina nights we don’t feel like it. If it were just us, we’d probably opt out more than not…but we can’t…we care about our dogs.

Having a dog is a huge responsibility. They want to walk or play ball or run around the yard all the time, and we get tired or overwhelmed by life and it’s hard to keep up. But for me, that’s exactly when the power of my relationship with my dogs keeps ME going. When I wouldn’t get up off the couch for myself, I’ll do it for my dogs. When I think I can’t do another bit of house work, I’ll do it for my dogs. When I could care less about getting the exercise I need, I’ll do it for my dogs. Yes, dogs can be frustrating. Training isn’t easy, it isn’t fast, it isn’t a one size fits all proposition. But that’s because training is really about relationship and all relationships require a certain amount of self examination…not always an easy task.

In a time where we are so focused on technology, career advancement, and all the other things our society tells us we MUST DO or MUST HAVE, dogs have basically the same needs they have always have. Yes, food and water and exercise, but more importantly, relationship, companionship, and love. Dogs will always give to us more than we can give to them. To me, mine have given me clarity. Clarity on what it is I really want in life…relationship, companionship and love.