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Day 10: How My Dogs Keep Me Sane, Part One…

A daily blog post on mental health and wellness is a real challenge.

More than I imagined when I blithely began this blogathon on June 11 on a whim after reading about Margarita Tartakovsky‘s success on her 31-day blogathon.

I want to stay hard and close to my subject, Coming Out Crazy, but there are times when I long to digress.

And if the truth be known, craziness is a wild and woolly subject. We’re all crazy at times in our lives. Being a bit crazy is quite liberating, I think. So I hope you’ll understand if I share some of the strategies that keep me sane.

The Canine Strategies

Today, it’s 91.4 degrees Fahrenheit (or 33 degrees Celsius) outside. My two Dandie Dinmont Terriers who go into spasms of joy and practically have orgasms at the mere mention the word, “walkies,” were not pleased to go outside this morning. They did. They stopped and flopped down on the grass for rests from time to time, their sweet pink tongues hanging out of their mouths, but they did what they had to do and now they’re flaked out on the floor.

My dogs beat any psychotropic drugs on the planet. They stabilize me and my life.

My Two Dandie Dinmonts Thrive On Routine

Thus, my life must adapt to their needs and their routines.

We do not have an enclosed backyard so they have to walk or rather they have to be walked several times each day. Without fail. At least four or five times each day. Rain. Snow. Sleet. Or sizzling sun.

As they are terriers and they were bred to chase small animals ~ squirrels, chipmunks and especially rabbits ~ they are never off leash. Ever. They might run away and never come back.

If they’re dawdling and I’m anxious to get home with them, all I have to say is “Rabbits” and they start running. Chasing. Even if there’s nothing to chase. “Rabbits” is a magical word for them and they dream of catching one. We have a couple of pesky bunnies in our backyard who taunt my dogs incessantly.

When My Dogs Run, I Run

I walk them tethered together and I have no choice. Together, they weigh close to 55 lbs. and their chase instinct is very strong. Normally, when they’re simply walking, they go a good clip. But when they chase, beware. Nothing will stop them. For all of us, it’s great cardiovascular exercise.

Also, because my eight-year-old male Riley is a Canadian Champion, a stud dog and not neutered, it’s imperative that he be leashed.

Both Lucy and Riley are adorable and highly friendly little dogs, but they are also extremely protective of me so I never know how they will react to other dogs.

In truth, no one does. Reading a dog’s body language and interpreting their signals is highly complex so I err on the side of caution and keep a watchful eye when they meet their canine neighbours. They’ve both graduated from socialization and junior obedience classes and they are almost always friendly, but you never know about other dogs and how socialized they are. It depends.

You Haven’t Lived Until Two Dogs Welcome You Home

Walking them is the best exercise in the world. I walk Riley and Lucy first thing in the morning and last thing at night. When the weather is less extreme, we go out in the afternoon, too.

I love walking with them and we love meeting our neighbours and their dogs. They’re great company; they are always near me at home, often at my feet.

You wouldn’t believe the welcome they give me when I come home. Deafening though it is, there’s nothing more enchanting and heartwarming than two little doggies (Riley is 24 lbs. and Lucy is 21 lbs.) jumping all over each other to give you kisses.

If that doesn’t keep you sane. Nothing will.

To Be Continued…


Image: Sandy Naiman iPhoto collection

Day 10: How My Dogs Keep Me Sane, Part One…

Sandy Naiman

Sandy Naiman is a Toronto freelance journalist.

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APA Reference
Naiman, S. (2019). Day 10: How My Dogs Keep Me Sane, Part One…. Psych Central. Retrieved on December 10, 2019, from


Last updated: 26 Mar 2019
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