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Be the Dog: Lessons I Learned from my Greyhound

Cat people vs. dog people

I am not…strike that. I WAS not a dog person. It’s been said that there are two kinds of people in this world…dog people and cat people. We…my husband and I…were definitely cat people. Cats are self-cleaning, independent, and fairly quiet; they didn’t need much attention, much exercise, or much of anything from us. An occasional pet and snuggle was all a cat needed to be purring and on her merry way.

That was the truth for over 20 years of our marriage. We had a collection of family cats during that time…all we loved and cared for and who brought our family endless memories of entertainment and love and loss. But then came my brain injury and my resulting depression.

The dark cloud that surrounded me seemed bottomless and all encompassing. In many attempts at healing, I scoured the internet looking for answers, solutions, and tips to lift my fog and come back into the “real” world. Anything would be better than the place I was in…then the idea struck me.

We needed a dog!

Article after article from people with alphabet soup after their name reported that adopting a dog would help with my recovery and depression. After a lot of discussion and prayer and research, we decided to get a retired greyhound racer…a former professional athlete who needed a retirement home.

Now the story of the day we got Guy and how we almost ended up in jail and/or in the hospital will have to be for another blog. But after 5 years of having our furry mister around, I can definitely say that he (and the proper medications, brain therapy, and counseling) saved my bruised brain.

How I want to be like my dog

Other than thin, muscular, and natural blonde, Guy (my dog) has many attributes that I try to emulate everyday. Here is a taste of the philosophy that I have gained from him over the years that I have studied his ways.

Wag when those you love come near.

Be aware of your body language and show those you love that you are happy to have them near. Be present in the moment…be here and now. This is the moment we are living. Don’t hold back your joy…life goes quickly and can turn suddenly.

Go outside for breaks.

Vitamin D is great for your body and mood and an outdoor break is needed everyday. Smell the fresh air. Walk in circles. Chase a squirrel or a rabbit or a ball.

Eat on a schedule.

Greyhounds are do not function well with extra weight. They are suppose to be that thin. We had to learn how to feed him to keep his weight within healthy limits and keep his metabolism high. I’m still learning with this with my 40-something-year-old body, but most of the dietitians agree that scheduled meals keep the metabolism healthy and stable.


Playing is a serious matter. My boy needs at least one game of Fetch-ish (it’s not exactly fetch) every day to keep his brain sharp and his muscles strong. Plus, it’s a great relationship builder. I love throwing the ball and seeing if or when he will bring it back.

Love always!

No matter what happens he loves us unconditionally. Guy knows he’s a big time retired professional athlete, but he treats our modest home like it’s his castle. We all should not think too highly of ourselves when meeting and loving others.

Stretch everyday.

As a yoga teacher, I fully embrace this philosophy and have sharpened my downward dog because of Guy’s instruction. Get those muscles moving and flowing each day to keep it strong and limber. Our bodies were meant to move so move it.

Take a nap.

Yes! Master Guy is a pro at the napping game! Play, eat, nap is his mantra. A daily nap has been shown over and over again by researchers to help aid our brains with increase in focus and decrease in brain aging.

Drink lots of water.

Drink water like it’s on sale. Guy loves water so much that he splashes it everywhere…I call it sharing. We all know proper hydration helps everything…including weight, brain function, and overall health.

Home is where the heart is.

Sometimes we just need to recognize that we’ve got to go out there in order to come back. Dogs are homely creatures, and while they may need reminding of this on occasion, there are plenty of tools that can help us. The Halo Collar reviews online are one great example of ways to help with this, but we don’t need to venture everywhere– just relaxing at home with the people and animals you love can be just as rejuvenating as an expedition on the other side of the world.


Bring the love home.

Ultimately, I’m not saying everyone needs a pet to heal their inner struggles, but sometimes we need to get a new perspective on our old situations. Guy brought me a new way to look at my broken condition and helped me to find a way out of the turmoil that surrounds it. Plus, if I didn’t walk him everyday he would tear up our house, so the added exercise was a bonus. For political correctness, we still have two adorable cats who are equally as lovable but are just not that into me.

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Dawn Miller

Dawn is a small-town farm girl who married her mountain man after college. She's a mom of 4 amazing kids and 3 beautiful fur-babies. Having her degree in psychology and English, she pursued social work after college but soon became a SAHM and homeschool teacher. Now that her kids are all older and in high school or college, she has started over with a career in yoga and Christian meditation through Everyday Dawn Yoga. Beyond her family, she loves coffee, dark chocolate, running trails, Jesus, and laughing hysterically until she pees.

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