Do you neglect your dog? I’ll bet you don’t.
I’ll bet my last chocolate in the box that you look after your dog.
I’ll bet you worry about time when you’re out as you have to get back for the dog. You walk your dog regularly and only feed it the best food.
You’ve probably read all the reports about whether you should give your dog raw food or cooked food? And wouldn’t dream of opening a tin of dog food for your beloved pet.
Even if you’re opening a tin of beans for yourself?
Do you feed yourself as well as you feed your dog?
You wouldn’t make your dog miss a meal, would you? You wouldn’t put your dog on a diet and not give him breakfast. You ensure that you feed your dog at regular intervals, but can you say the same for yourself?
Do you put a bowl of cereal down for your dog because you can’t be bothered to make prepare his dinner? I’m guessing the answer is no.
So why do you do this for yourself? Why aren’t you eating regularly? Why aren’t you worth taking the time to prepare nutritionally balanced meals for yourself?
Do you give your dog crisps or chocolate? No? Why?
Because these things aren’t good for your dog. No shit Sherlock. You do know that these aren’t any good for you either, don’t you?
When it sits next to you, do you give your dog treats as you watch a film? No.
If your dog looks a bit overweight, you don’t punish it. You don’t continue to give it the same quantities as before or tell your dog that it’s not worth losing weight; no one will love it anyway.
You monitor your dog’s food; you make sure that your dog is getting the best quality food, and you cut down on treats.
You know that your dog would eat everything in sight if you let it. But you don’t let it because you want your dog to be healthy.
But you let yourself eat everything in sight if you want it.
I read that Nanette Newman, an actress from back in the day, felt a strange lump on her dog as she stroked him.
She immediately took him to the vet, where the vet took an x-ray and saw that the dog had eaten a metal skewer that had, fortunately, missed piercing any vital organs.
Their cook said that she thought she was missing one of the kebabs she had prepared.
The dog was operated on and the skewer removed, and the vet told the actress not to let him eat for a day, but the dog went straight in and swallowed a loaf of bread, still in the wrapper.
Grooming your dog
Do you groom your dog? You might have a short-haired non-molting breed, but your dog will still need some tender loving care.
I have a friend who is constantly cleaning out her dog’s ears which is a tiny bit gross. But she doesn’t mind; she happily tends to her dog’s paws, clips his nails, and de-fleas him.
But since working from home, she can barely remember to drag a brush through her hair. And let’s not go into the state of her nails.
She said, ‘oh, but he can’t do it for himself when I mentioned this to her.’
No, but you can.
Treat yourself with the same level of attention that you treat your dog.
How about the way you talk to your dog?
Please don’t tell me that you fall into one of those awful whiny voices that some people use when talking to babies?
I want to say that I’m not judging, but I’d be lying.
Do you tell your dog that it’s stupid? That it’s lazy? That it’s not fulfilling its doggy potential?
Do you say this kind of thing to yourself? You probably tell your dog how amazing it is for just existing, so why aren’t you praising yourself?
Are you as loving to yourself as you are to your dog? Why not? Let your inner narrator use the soft, kind voice you use for your dog when you tell yourself where you’re going wrong in life.
Instead of telling yourself that you look a bit rough this morning or that it’s time you lost weight, tell yourself how wonderful you are. What a lovely person.
You love your dog unconditionally, but do you put off loving yourself until you lose weight, get a better job, get a relationship, and on and on. You wouldn’t defer love and affection to your dog, would you?
Be as kind to yourself as you are to your dog and see how that feels.
Treat your partner the way you treat your dog
That might sound a bit insulting; after all, your partner isn’t an animal but think about it and answer honestly, are you as kind to your partner as you are to your dog?
If you didn’t pet your dog or talk to it kindly, how long before your dog stopped coming to you for affection?
The same goes for your partner.
How often do you stroke your partner? No, not like that; keep it clean. I mean, how often do you pet your partner. Touch them as they pass you. Do you kiss your partner’s head as often as you kiss your dog’s head?
Relationships between people can wither if they’re not attended to in the same way a relationship with an animal can so share that love around.
We talked about using the same voice that you use on your dog to yourself, but how about your partner? Do you use the same voice to the person you share your life with that you use to the dog you share your life with?
You might ask your dog if it’s tired? Or wants to go out? But how often do you check in with your partner to see if their needs are met?
I wouldn’t want you to neglect your dog. That would be cruel and unnecessary. So don’t neglect your partner or your relationship.
And don’t neglect yourself.