Tuesday, April 10, 2007


One of the rewards (hazards?) of reading professor/writer blogs is the possibility of being assigned some homework. Today's assignment? Answer the question, "What are five things you do every day to contribute to your success?"

Since this is a dog blog - I hope Tenured Professor Dr. Auntie Cara (TPDAC) won't mind if I add the words "as a foster home for Helping Paws" to the end of the question.

  1. Get myself ready for the day before I take care of the animals. This may sound like a no-brainer, but when Belle was a little puppy I got so focused on avoiding accidents in the house that the first thing I did every day was take her outside. When we came in from that duty, the cats were whining to be fed, their box needed to be clean, and oh, while I'm down in the basement, why not start some laundry? Then, back upstairs and it's time to get breakfast for Molly and I, and you get the drift. Before I knew it, half the day would be gone and I'd feel like a heap.
  2. Go for a long morning and evening walk with Belle. Not only is this good exercise for us both, but it has many other advantages as well. Such as - the opportunity to meet my neighbors and other fellow dog walkers; a chance to practice new and old cues in different settings; and time for reflection and thought.
  3. Work through Belle's daily homework upon return from the morning walk. Focus on the tasks that she (or I) struggle with - and end each work session with her favorite thing to do.
  4. Play with Belle. Oh how she thrives on play. Throwing the ball, hiding her kong, and the coupe d' gras, inviting a dog pal over to play.
  5. Finally, write about what we do each day. Writing helps me focus what our shared experiences reveal. Since I tend to see things in black and white, writing has provided a color commentary of sorts on the many ways to view our training together. Invaluable when Belle and I are struggling, enchanting when we're not.
So what's with the weird spelling in the title of this post? It's just another reward from reading writer/professor blogs each day - you get to learn new words. Meme (rhymes with theme) is the second one of the week for me (the first was "encomia" - a formal speech or writing praising someone). I'd never heard of meme before reading the good TPDAC's post, but according to Wikipedia, it's been around since 1976 thanks to a biologist by the name of Dr. Dawkins. Wikipedia has a great formal definition having to do with the propagation of ideas, but to me it seems like a Rubik's cube that's been handed to me with a "here, see what you can make of this" theme.

What do you make of this post? What are the five things you do every day to contribute to your success?

1 comment:

carrot, aka TPDAC said...

Great list! I especially like #1. Kind of the dog-trainer's version of the old airline mantra, "Put on your oxygen mask first before assisting others." The idea of "taking care of yourself first" is so important in many contexts. A good reminder!