What I Love about My Dog

I never wanted a dog. I was so afraid of them that my hands would tremble and my heart would pound out of my chest, even at the sight of a five-pound Yorkie. (You can read more about my fear of dogs here). “If it is going to bite me, I don’t want to know about it,” I would think, as I close my eyes and enter a fetal position. The fear was most certainly real. Then, I met my husband. He made it very clear he wanted a wife, a truck, a house, and a dog. Fast forward almost 3 long years later, my dog, Bailey, is sleeping soundly on my feet as I type this blog post. I love her. She is my best friend and the reason I get out of bed every day (hello 7 AM wee wee time).

Have you ever considered a canine companion? I was afraid of dogs and now I don’t know what I would do without Bailey. Why? Continue reading…

Bailey

My dog, Bailey

She is always happy.

I can come home from the crappiest day at work and she greets me with her tail wagging and butt wiggling. The stresses of my day suddenly disappear when I see her excitement to have me home.

She keeps me healthy.

Every morning, Bailey sits on my feet as I drink my coffee. She paws and nudges my legs then runs to the door then runs back to me and sighs. She wants her morning walk. I wake up an hour earlier to take her on a thirty-minute walk before work. I leave my phone at home, and take the time to enjoy the outdoors with Bailey.

Adventure with my Dog

She practices non-judgment.

Do you really think she cares what I look like as parade down the street for our daily walk in my fleecy pajamas and sorority letter sweatshirt from almost ten years ago? And newsflash, that coffee mug I’m carrying, doesn’t have coffee in it. Bailey gives zero cares, and quite frankly, so do I.

She is my sidekick.

I must admit, I am super happy she doesn’t follow my husband. For a man who wanted a dog, he got a part-time friend. She is my sidekick and follows me wherever I go.  I love having my trusty companion with me and know that I am loved.

Bailey

Bailey loves to hydrate

She is a fierce protector.

It isn’t easy being a law enforcement officer’s wife. You spend a lot of time alone. I like being alone, but when you are alone and awakened at two o’clock in the morning, you are happy when your dog starts barking, alerting whomever it is, that she is present. I truly believe dogs have a sixth sense and will protect his or her owner.

She reads me like a book.

If I am happy, she is happy. She wags her tail and paws at me. If I am sad, she licks my tears away. If I am angry, she retreats to her dog bed, lies down, and looks at me, as if to say, “Are you done yet, Mom? Life is too short.” Whatever my emotion, she reads me and finds the perfect way to respond to my every need.

Dogs Just Want to Have Fun

She is fun.

Let’s rip open a new toy! Let’s go for a hike! Let’s play fetch! She is ready for anything at any time. She can’t contain her excitement for adventure, and neither can I. We have fun together. She teaches me to never pass up a fun, or new opportunity.

Final Thoughts

I love my dog. Bailey is truly my best friend.

I don’t know what I would do without her by my side.

Share what you love about your dog in the comment section. (If you don’t have a canine companion or a pet, what are you waiting for?)

Namaste.

What I Love About my Dog

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Why you NEED a Vacation

I just got back from a long weekend in Lake Placid, New York. I haven’t been on a vacation since August 2016. My husband and I both started new jobs, which comes with new stressors, change, and uncomfortable acclimation. The little things were starting to irritate us; our patience growing thin not only with each other, but with daily life tasks. We needed a break. Whether it be a staycation, a drivable long weekend getaway, or a trip to somewhere exotic, read below why you need a vacation…

Break your Routine

Alarm clock. Coffee. Get ready, commute to work. Work all day. Hit the gym for a super quick workout. Go grocery shopping. Shower. Prepare dinner. Clean something. Throw in a load of laundry. Prepare for the next day. Try to unwind. Sleep. Repeat. Does this sound familiar?

Do you know what my routine was on vacation? Oh wait, there was no routine. None. No alarm clock buzzing in my ear at five thirty AM. No preparing for the next day. No cleaning. I got out of bed when my body wanted to rise. I went to the gym every day at whatever time I wanted to go. I didn’t have to worry about picking up my husband’s dry cleaning or running to the supermarket after my workout. I ate at a new restaurant every meal, not worrying about having to scrub a pile of dishes. I didn’t do one load of laundry. I fixed my hair nicely; I applied makeup. I took a long shower, not worrying about my to-do list. I read a book AND a magazine. I spent quality time with my husband.

Being on vacation allows you a change of routine, habits, and roles, that you need for adequate relaxation and rejuvenation. Sleep in, don’t cook, and sit down and read something other than the monthly bills…

Try Something New

I went for a massage and received a cupping treatment. Cupping is where they use cups to create a suction over your muscles to reduce pain, inflammation, and to promote relaxation and healthy blood flow. I loved it. My back and neck had less tension! I want to continue receiving treatments now that I am home.

My husband and I also hiked two of the 46 high peaks. We tackled and accomplished Cascade and Porter mountains. It was an incredible experience that involved a lot of teamwork and really brought us closer together as a married couple. Hiking the high peaks is no joke, and we were so happy when we realized that we hiked 4,096 feet above sea level together. It was exhilarating and we are so excited to share our adventure with others.

Even if you have a staycation, do something new. Visit a rock climbing gym, experience a cooking class, or get a Reiki treatment.  If you go away, plan an excursion. Push yourself out of your comfort zone, and most importantly, have fun.

Hiking in Lake Placid

My husband, at the summit of Cascade Mountain

Take Care of Yourself

I spent time swimming in the pool, relaxing in the hot tub, and sweating in the sauna. Swimming is fantastic exercise, the hot tub is super relaxing, and the sauna helps my body rid toxins. I got an hour workout in the gym every day. My husband and I had conversations at dinner other than what needed to be done (around the house, errands, etc). I felt fantastic. We reconnected. Win-win. I also went to the beach and read a book, which was so calming and soothing. Breathing in the fresh lake air, reading a New York Times Bestseller, and sitting with my toes in the sand, while drinking a local craft brew…what could be better?

Try to rejuvenate all your needs when you take a vacation:

  • Mental: read a book, magazine, or newspaper, play a board/card game
  • Physical: go swimming, to the gym, hiking, walk around town, explore your surroundings
  • Emotional: meditate, reconnect with whomever your with
Relaxing in Lake Placid

Relaxing on the beach with a book & a beer in Lake Placid

Disconnect

I’m guilty of being on my phone; but for a few hours each day, I tried to stay off my phone and be one with myself and nature. We are constantly on our electronic devices when we are at home. Give your brain (and fingers) a rest and disconnect from everything! It feels good, trust me!

Nature in Lake Placid

Being one with Cascade Mountain

You’ll Return Happy

When you get home, you’ll be thrilled. You’ll get to sleep in your own bed, bathe in your own shower, and come home to share your stories with family, friends, and pets. You will feel relaxed, rested, and happy. You won’t be ready to return to work, but when you head back into the office, you will remind yourself that working will pay for your next adventure.

Final Thoughts

Take a vacation. You probably need it.

I saw a quotation that stated, “Create a life you don’t need a vacation from.” – I’m not there yet. My life is unfortunately not a vacation. I look forward to getting away from my daily habits, roles, and routines to visit new places, try new things, and reconnect with myself and my husband.

When is your next adventure? Where will you go? What will you do? 

Namaste.

PS. Stay tuned to the next post which will feature a Cruelty Free at Home Spa Night – if you can’t take a vacation, you can still feel like you are on vacation!

Why you NEED a Vacation

If I Died Tomorrow…

Death surrounds me. When I was doing my internship, my clinical instructor used to read the obituaries. She told me, “You just wait…when you are a therapist, if you work in a setting with older adults, you will read the obituaries too.” Five years later, I actually read the obituaries. I have both hated and enjoyed reading about one of my former patient’s passing. I have cut their obituary out of the paper, tucked it into my scrub pocket, and carried their 400-word blurb into work to share with my colleagues.

Nursing homes can be a pretty eerie place to work. The smells and sounds have most people running for the hills. I have had long walks down the corridors, only to find out that one of my patient’s expired. I hate that word, expire. It reminds me of milk…

Death is apart of my husband’s job, too, as he is a police officer. When he gets home, a conversation can go something like:

“How was your day?”

“Great. I had a young couple overdose on heroin. How was your day?”

“Great. One of my patients died…they didn’t make it to the hospital.”

Silence.

12:34. That is my Grandma’s signal for everything being in order…When she died, she would wake us up at 12:34 AM. Whenever I catch 12:34, I say, “Hi, Grandma!”

The foster puppies… I usually foster the older dogs, but I will hear that one or two of the puppies didn’t make it because of Parvo or some other illness. Dog rescue is not for the faint of heart. Very, very depressing.

Make sure you have your wishes in order. If you don’t already have one, make sure you have a will, power of attorney, and healthcare proxy. I have noticed that while working in a nursing home, it is really important that you have your stuff together and legalized to prevent any problems.

The past two weeks were very challenging. I went to two wakes, which made me think about my life.

If I died tomorrow…

  • Put me in a bio-degradable coffin and bury me in the ground. I am an environmentalist. Coffins are expensive and don’t decompose. Grow a tree, or plant flowers near me. Come visit me; talk to me, keep me posted on what is going on in your life. Cover me with a flannel blanket during the winter and place flip-flops on my grave in the summertime. Leave pictures of your travels and talk to me. I will be there for you.
  • Play good music during my wake. Play Trevor Hall, Amy Winehouse, Joss Stone. I don’t want to listen to elevator music, and neither do you. Don’t make it a super sappy event. I don’t want that. Cry, but talk about the good stuff. Laugh. Smile. It will be okay.
  • Dress me in anything royal blue and a fresh pair of sneakers. Comfortable is my favorite word when it comes to fashion.
  • Have pictures of Jason, my family, friends, and Bailey with me. I felt the most beautiful on my wedding day so include some mementos from that day. Replay my wedding video on a television. Put some pictures of the foster dogs I helped save. I know I will continue to rescue dogs in Heaven.
  • Make sure I have the Italian horns and hands with me; they will protect me and ward away any evil on my travels from earth to Heaven.
  • Flowers die. While beautiful, I rather you donate money to the rescue organization. The dogs need it more than I will.
  • At my repast, drink, eat, and be merry. This too shall pass. You will be fine and so will I.

I snap. I blink. I take a breath. Death could happen in that one, single second. I could get into an accident, fall down the stairs, or lightening could strike me dead. Boom. Lights out. Game over. Thanks for playing. It’s a crazy concept, isn’t it?

I try to live every day to the fullest. Sometimes, if my husband and I are discussing a big purchase, we will turn to one another and say, “YOLO!” as our reminder that we have ONE shot in life. Buy the item on your wish list. Get the manicure. Eat the brownie. When we wake up to see another day, we are truly blessed. The harsh reality is that death could be a moment away…

Death is a hard topic for some people to discuss. I leave you with some thoughts; If you were to die tomorrow, do people know what you want? Your desires and wishes? Would they know how you feel about them? Would you have lived to be your best self?

Namaste.

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