"Dealing with cancer is challenging on many levels. It is stressful, it's frightening but it can also empowering. One thing that helps us cope with the struggle is the support of our friends, our families, caring strangers and our dogs. Given that this Malibu's first annual BARK FOR LIFE fundraising walk, I should say especially our dogs. As someone who has grappled with cancer and other serious issues, I've seen firsthand the difference a 4-legged therapist can make. That's why I'm here today...to speak about how dogs help comfort and heal us when we need it most.
1) THEY ARE CHEAPER THAN DOCTORS AND THERAPISTS, MORE FUN AND ALWAYS ON CALL.-- That's why they make such great healers. We know they will be there for us no matter what. They don't care if we have insurance, and for most of us, their 'fee' is some cuddles and a rawhide treat or two…or five.
2) DOGS DON'T JUDGE - Except when it comes squeaky toys, they don't judge. They don't care if you lose weight, gain weight, have more hair, less hair or no hair. They don't care about our jobs, the cars we drive or the clothes we wear. To our dogs, we have no flaws. We're perfect just the way we are. They love us because that's what they do. Period. All they ask from us in return is a little exercise and affection. if only all of our two-legged pals were so easy and accommodating.
3) DOG ARE PLAYFUL - Regardless of what's going on in the world or our bodies - if the stock market's down, or Dwight Howard ditches us for Houston, or Congress is behaving like
unruly kindergartners, or we're feeling like we've been run over by a cement truck - our dogs are always up for play. We can take a lesson from them and when things get stressful, or seem hopeless, we can go for a ride and stick our head out the car window, or go for a run, a walk or just sit on a bench in the sun. Your dog never looks at you and says 'We really need to work more'.
4) DOGS ARE WISE! - They live in harmony with nature. They don't care about social trends, how many Twitter followers or Facebook friends you have, how much your movie grossed, how many books you've sold. They have no list of 'should's. They sleep when they're tired, eat when they're hungry (except pugs and labs, who eat all the time), play when they need exercise. They don't worry (well, maybe just a little around dinner time) and they never give advice. They don't dwell on the past, or try to control the future. They are fully PRESENT. Every day, they get, up wag their tails and go about their lives, doing their very best, living in the moment, every moment. They have one message: be joyous, be present, and LET'S PLAY! or as Laura so aptly put it, let's BARK FOR LIFE."
|Lou & Tanner with Bark for Life organizer Laura Leonard and her rescue dog Barkley.|