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Can 5 Minutes With a Dog Give You a Clearer Perspective?

Toby Moment of Zen

My was heart racing as if I were out for a vigorous jog, as I sat at my computer trying to make sense of the very technical email that came across the screen.

It was a Friday and the technical person who was bringing a project to fruition was about to knock off for the weekend. He needed an answer to the question in the email, which I knew nothing about, in order to launch the project.

The deadline suspended over me was getting ready to drop on me like a ton of concrete. I sat at my desk wringing my hands.

Out of the corner of my eye, I saw my dog Toby licking his paws, which usually means he wants a chew toy.

Since we share an office, I must admit that there are a lot of times when I ignore my dogs while working. If I stopped working every time they did something cute or tried to get my attention then I would have no clients.

However, at this particularly stressful time, I retrieved Toby’s beloved beef chew stick and let him at it.

In that moment, I wished I had a beef chew stick to gnaw on.

Because Toby has broken a couple of teeth chewing on tasty treats, I now hold onto anything solid that he nibbles on for an extended period of time.

While my mind was full of fear, anxiety and eagerness, I sat on the floor facilitating Toby’s chew session. He appreciated it and had pure enjoyment displayed on his face.

Then he put is paw on my hand. Granted, Toby was trying to get me to move the beef stick closer to him but his paw on my hand was the start of me calming down.

Toby suddenly had all of my attention. His sweet and furry face prompted me to move into a more positive mind space. 

I told Toby that I was so lucky to have him and how he is such a good dog.

Flashbacks came to mind about how my heart was so full the first night he was in the house asleep next to me. 

After about 5 minutes, Toby made a nice dent on his beef chew stick and I made my way back to my desk.

As I took a breath and read the time sensitive email again, I realized that it wasn’t as complicated as I made it out to be. The stress of the moment heightened everything.

I reviewed my project plan and the answer was blatantly clear. About a half hour later, all the work was done.

When chaos descends, don’t let it take you over.

Escape into a dog’s gaze or get to work on your chew toy.

By Margot Ahlquist, creator of Paws to Talk and professional life coach. Dogs Don't Overcomplicate Their Lives So Why Should We? Join the Pack of Hundreds Living Happier Lives at www.pawstotalk.com


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Carol Bryant

Great advice and I love "When chaos descends, don’t let it take you over."


I can't explain it but I've had a few moments like that. I'm not exactly sure if it's our dog or it's just when we spend time with them we divert our attention to them because we love them so much. And in doing so we clear our heads, reboot so to speak, which helps us get a clearer perspective of things afterwards.

Margot Ahlquist

Thank you Kimberly and Sandy for the great comments! I am glad this was helpful!

Sandy Lender

Margot, I have multiple deadlines each month with the publications I work on and the scenario you described here is the perfect way to settle down and refocus. I have companion parrots who appreciate the visit and neck scritches and little treats when I take that "brain break" to clear the chaos and refocus. It's amazing what a feathered friend's request for MORE SCRITCHES does for clearing the mind.

Kimberly Gauthier

This is beautiful. I can think of so many times when our dogs have been a welcome distraction to help me gain some perspective.

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