Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Who Says Dogs Don't Mourn?

by Caroline Golon


ketzel the compsing cat
Last week, the world watched as faithful chocolate lab, Hawkeye, refused to leave the casket of his owner, Navy SEAL Petty Officer 1st Class Jon T. Tumilson, during the hero’s funeral in Rockford, Iowa.

Tumilson was one of the more than 30 U.S. troops killed August 6 by Taliban insurgents.

When the video of the sad scene Tumilson’s cousin filmed went viral, many wondered what would become of the SEAL’s best friend, Hawkeye. But there was no need to worry. Another of Tumilson’s loyal friends, Scott Nichols, will provide Hawkeye his new forever home.

Jon and HawkeyeHawkeye would often stay with Nichols while Tumilson was deployed, so the two are already friends and Hawkeye is going to a home he knows and loves. was so moved by the story that they're donating 5,000 meals of Halo Spot's Stew to Pets for Patriots in honor of Officer Jon T. Tumilson and his loyal companion Hawkeye.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Women & Cats and Men & Dogs


by Bob Dave

"Women and cats will do as they please, and men and dogs should relax and get used to the idea."  

~  Robert Heinlein ~
Science Fiction writer

The Post Journalism Existentialist

NON SEQUITUR Comic Strip by Wiley Miller


zen habits: Best Procrastination Tip Ever

Pink Lotus
Post written by Leo Babauta on August 29, 2011
Your first thought as you look at this article will be, "I'll read this later."  But don't.  Let the urge to switch to a new task pass.  Read this now.  It'll take you two minutes.  It'll save you countless hours.

I've written the book on ending procrastination, but I've since come up with a very simple technique for beating everyone's nemesis.  It is incredibly easy, but as with anything, it takes a little practice.

Try it now:

Identify the most important thing you have to do today.

Decide to do just the first little part of it --- just the first minute, or even 30 seconds of it.
Getting started is the only thing in the world that matters.

Clear away distractions.  Turn everything off.  Close all programs.  There should just be you, and your task.

Sit there, and focus on getting started.  Not doing the whole tasks, just starting.

Pay attention to your mind, as it starts to have urges to switch to another task.  You will have urges to check email or Facebook or Twitter or your favorite website.  You will want to play a game or make a call or do another task.  Notice these urges.  Let each one pass.

Notice also your mind trying to justify not doing the task.  Also let these self-rationalizing thoughts pass.

Now just take one small action to get started.  As tiny a step as possible.

Get started, and the rest will flow.

*  Zen Habits is about finding simplicity in the daily chaos of our lives.  It's about clearing the clutter so we can focus on what's important, create something amazing, find happiness.

It also happens to be one of the Top 25 blogs and Top 50 websites in the world, with about 225,000 readers, and is uncoprighted.  Zen Habits features one or two powerful articles a week on:  simplicity, health & fitness, motivation and inspiration, frugality, family life, happiness, goals, getting great things done, and living in the moment.

Leo Babauta is the creator and writer of Zen Habits and lives in San Francisco with his wife and six children.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Happiness is A Way of Being

Lilies by Robert Mann
 Article by Ruth Cherry, Ph.D.

The inmates I work with at the state penitentiary have very few choices.  The young guys complain about being told what to do or being treated inconsiderately or losing privileges while the old timers just smile.  They know those things carry no weight.  They've taught me that one basic choice no one can take is their ability to choose happiness.

They know that happiness isn't a result of doing what you want or receiving what you request or being in control.  Happiness is a response to life.  It doesn't matter what the day's events may be, you can always choose happiness.

In that sense happiness isn't a feeling but a life stance.  Happiness doesn't result from an occurrence over which we have no influence or even after a self-defined 'victory.'

*  Happiness is a way of being.
*  Happiness is saying 'Yes" to life and  'Thank you' and 'I accept everything.'
*  Happiness is releasing resistance and overlooking our petty willfulness and choosing to be open-hearted.
*  Happiness is living as large as we can and saying, 'I'm so lucky to participate in this experience!'
*  Happiness doesn't depend on feeling good or on things going right.

We choose happiness because it's the wisest and most life affirming choice we can make for ourselves, not because it's logical.

Have you ever said, "If only I had more money or a great career or a super lover or  (fill in the blank), then I'd be happy"?  It actually works the other way around.  When you are happy, then you receive gifts from the world.

You bless life and life blesses you.  But by then you will also realize that experiencing the magic and mystery of each moment is a greater gift than anything our minds concoct.  Choosing happiness is choosing aliveness this moment, no matter how it feels.  Funny, isn't it, that we work so hard to be happy when the opposite-surrender--is what's required?

The act of choosing happiness is a lesson in surrender and trust.  A deep peace ensues and we know that by aligning with Life, we become more ourselves.  It is proclaiming YES to life, not trying to manipulate or control.  Happiness this way isn't fleeting.  Since it doesn't depend on anything happening or not happening, just on our affirmation that we choose happiness, we're not in danger of losing it.  We're completely 'in control.'

Trying to control our surroundings in order to feel happy is a doomed effort.  Maybe that's why the inmates learn this lesson faster than the rest of us.  Since they have no control and no hope of control, their choice is clear.  The rest of us can learn from them.


Carlson, R. and Carlson, K. Dont't Sweat the Small Stuff.  New Your, Hyperion, 1999

About the Author:

Ruth Cherry, Ph.D.  is a clinical psychologist in private practice in San Luis Obispo, CA.  Her specialty is midlife when psychological and spiritual dynamics merge.  Dr. Cherry leads guided meditation groups weekly both for the public and for inmates in a state penitentiary.  Originally published 12/16/08

What You Should Know About Anger

Aspens by Ansel Adams

Your Anger: What Is Anger? and Why?
by Constance McKenzie,
Anger is one of the most misunderstood and overused of human emotions. First, anger is a reaction to an inner emotion and not a planned action. Second, anger is easier to show: everyone has anger issues. Third, the feelings underlying the anger reaction make us feel vulnerable and weak; your anger makes you feel, at least momentarily, strong and in control. Fourth, angry behaviors are learned over the life-span and therefore can be unlearned and replaced with healthier patterns of coping . Fifth, anger can be an immediate reaction to an isolated event or it can be a response after numerous events.
To repress anger is unhealthy (Hankins and Hankins, 1988) and yet to express it impulsively, as we so often do, may give momentary relief but inevitably will carry negative consequences (Hankins and Hankins, 1988; Ellis, 1992; Luhn, 1992). To alter our angry responses, we need to understand from where it comes. There are a variety of factors that increase the probability of an anger reaction.
First, if we have seen our parents get angry first and resolve an issue after, we are more likely to use the same approach. Thus, types of anger are learned. Second, if we are frustrated and feel stressed, we are more likely to react with anger. Third, if we are tired, we are more prone to react in an angry fashion. Fourth, if we tend to hold our feelings inside rather than talk them out, we are more likely to have an angry outburst as the pressure increase much like a pressure cooker.

Styles Of Anger
Each of us develops their own special style of anger:
·                       The "Mad Hatter" Driver: This person yells, curses, and offers gestures to other drivers when s/he is in a hurry and frustrated.
·                       The Sulker: This person shuts down in a chair and stops speaking and looking at others.
·                       Safe Haven Abuser: This person takes her/his frustration out only on the ones s/he loves.
·                       The Distractor: This person disregards the object of his annoyance by reading the paper, forgetting to run an errand, or playing the radio too loudly. When s/he is confronted, the response is: I didn't know; I forgot; I'm tired.
·                       The Blamer: This person blames everybody for everything and rarely accepts responsibility for his own short comings.
·                       The Avenger: This person believes s/he has been given the right to seek vengeance in any way for anything by  using the excuse: they deserved it.
Anger Issues Check List -- How Is Your Anger?
·                       People tell you that you need to calm down.
·                       You feel tense much of the time.
·                       At work, you find yourself not saying what is on your mind.
·                       When you are upset, you try to block the world out by watching TV,
                          reading a book or magazine, or going to sleep.
·                       You are drinking or smoking marijuana almost daily to help you calm down.
·                       You have trouble going to sleep.
·                       You feel misunderstood or not listened to much of the time.
·                       People ask you not to yell or curse so much.
·                       Your loved ones keep saying that you are hurting them.
·                       Friends do not seek you out as much.

If you scored:

0 - 2
you could benefit from relaxation training
3 - 5
you need to learn more about what stresses you, and learn stress management techniques
6 +
you have an anger problem that could benefit from learning anger management techniques

Anger reactions have been likened to a train running out of control and about to derail. A little anger can motivate us to take action in positive ways. A lot of anger will make us "red with rage." The price for your anger is that you are out of control, you drive away those whom you love the most, and endanger your employment.

Ellis, Albert, (1992) Anger: How to Live With and Without It, New York:Citadel Press Book. Hankins, Gary, and Hankins, Carol, (1988) Prescription for Anger, New York:Warner. Luhn, Rebecca R., (1992) Managing Anger, Menlo Park, Cal.:Crisp Publications.

About the Author:
Constance McKenzie, M.Ed., M.A., NCC, MAC, CBCC, CBAT Specializing in depression, victims, victimizers, and addiction, I have been a therapist for thirty years, and a college instructor for twenty. My article, "A Study of Serial Murder" was published in 1995.
Originally published 5/28/98 Revised 11/05/08 by Marlene M. Maheu, Ph.D.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Regarding Love & Fear

Buddy by Susan Rios

Love is what we are born with,
Fear is what we learn.

~ Marianne Williamson ~

The Lives of Innocent Men and Women

Heading Home 2004 by
Thomas Kinkade

Studies by Medical Corps psychiatrists
of combat fatigue cases...found that fear of killing, rather than fear of being killed, was the most common cause of battle failure, and that fear of failure ran a strong second.

~ S.L.A. Marshall ~

S.L.A. Marshall (full name, Samuel Lyman Atwood Marshall) (July 18, 1900 – December 17, 1977) was a chief U.S. Army combat historian during World War II and the Korean War. He authored some 30 books about warfare, including Pork Chop Hill: The American Fighting Man in Action, which was made into a film of the same name.

To be ambitious for wealth

Beside Still Waters  by
Thomas Kinkade

To be ambitious for wealth, and yet always expecting to be poor, to be always doubting your ability to get what you long for, is like trying to reach east by traveling west.... No matter how hard you work for success, if your thought is saturated with the fear of failure, it will kill your efforts, neutralize your endeavors and make success impossible.

~ Charles Baudouin ~

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Dreams In A Box

Stone Curves by
Sean McHugh

 There are people who put their dreams in a little box and say, "Yes I've got dreams, of course, I've got dreams."  Then they put the box away and bring it out once in a while to look in it, and yep, they're still there.  These are great dreams, but they never even get out of the box.  It takes an uncommon amount of guts to put your dreams on the line, to hold them up and say, "How good or how bad am I?"  That's where courage comes in.

~ Erma Bombeck ~

Lucy's Philosophy


Shukuru, one of many orphaned elephants

THE MOMENT  Michael Nichols

Quiet Time  Getting too attached to animals is something Michael Nichols tries to avoid when he's on assignment.  As a journalist, he says it's important to appear neutral.  Still, certain subjects---like the orphaned elephants of Kenya that he photographed for this issue---tug at his heart.  One example is Shukuru, pictured below at seven months old, settling down for the night with her keeper.  "For me," says Nichols, "elephants represent an important level of nature that we need to understand better."  ~ Catherine Zuckerman


This photograph feels very private.  What is happening in this scene?

Michael Nichols:  It's dusk at the nursery.  Shukuru has had her evening milk and is now getting ready for bed.  Her keeper, Jiba Galgallo, will spend the night with her; orphan elephants are never left alone.  The blanket is for warmth and comfort---it's meant to mimic the feel of Shukuru's mother.  Young elephants are extremely tactile, so the blanket is essential.
Why does this image have special meaning to you?

Michael Nichols:  An elephant's ears are so important.  They indicate if danger is afoot, and they also regulate body temperature--- but you rarely get to see the backs of them like this.  Here you can see all of Shukuru's blood vessels.  It might not be apparent from this angle, but she is a total sweetheart.

As for Galgallo, what he's doing is not just a job.  It's much more spiritual than that.  I like the light in his eyes.  Many African tribesmen are pastoralists, and they love animals.  I was trying to capture that feeling.  Shukuru was rescued from death. This picture talks softly, but it says what I wanted it to say:  that these two really love each other.

The above article appeared in the September 2011 issue of National Geographic

     The meeting of two personalities is like the contact of two chemical substances:  if there is any reaction, both are transformed.

~Carl Jung~

Very Special Friendships

A Friend may well be reckoned the masterpiece of Nature.

~Ralph Waldo Emerson~


Best Friends

This includes the experience of happiness or contentment for any period of time at any time in your life.  Of course being happy, at all happy---feeling good---comfortable with one's self and others---is something we all strive for in many ways and it is too often an elusive, but a wonderful human enterprise and experience.  But here, too---like love---if an adult's history is completely lacking in this experience, the prognosis is very serious.  Many experiences of contentment---and I don't mean resignation and feeling anesthetized or dead, I mean being happy, feeling good---are an indication of great security about one's self and much overall health.

*Excerpted from, The Winner's Notebook , by Theodore Isaac Rubin, M.D.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Dog Won't Leave Fallen Navy SEAL's Side

Dog Won’t Leave Fallen Navy SEAL’s Side

 Petty Officer Jon T. Tumilson was laid to rest Friday in Rockford, Iowa, where an estimated 1,500 mourners came to pay respects for the fallen Navy SEAL, including his dog Hawkeye. In fact, Hakeye’s loyalty to his owner at the funeral was visible, creating a heart-wrenching image as he laid down by the casket of his owner during the entire service:

Navy SEAL Jon Tumilson had a very close friend in his life – his dog, Hawkeye. Tumilson, a former San Diego resident, was killed August 6 in the Chinook helicopter crash that also claimed the lives of 29 other American servicemembers.
Tumilson’s funeral was on Friday in Rockford, Iowa at Rockford Senior High. Hawkeye was one of the 1,500 souls who attended. As you can see by the gut-wrenching photo on the right, Hawkeye refused to leave his master’s side during the service.
The picture was taken by Lisa Pembleton, Tumilson’s cousin. Pembleton contacted Home Post with this message:
Hawkeye is/was his loyal “son”. To say that
he was an amazing man doesn’t do him justice. The loss of Jon to his
family, military family and friends is immeasurable. I hadn’t planned
on taking any pictures other than with family. However, from my seat
at the funeral, I felt compelled to take one photo to share with
family members that couldn’t make it or couldn’t see what I could from
the aisile. This is that photo…

Brain Health........Easier than you think!

You & Your Health
Brain Health

Snooze or Lose

Study finds the sleep deprived age faster


* A good night's sleep isn't just refreshing:  New research shows that lack of sleep ages the brain.  Researchers asked study participants how much sleep they were getting--- first as a baseline then five years later.  Those whose sleep decreased during the five years showed an accelerated mental decline during cognitive testing that was equal to an extra four to seven years of aging.

"Sleep regenerates neurons that enable the brain to function optimally,"  says lead author Jane Ferrie, PH.D., senior researcher at University College London Medical School.  Intriguingly, the study found that those whose sleep increased during the five years also exhibited cognitive decline, possibly due to depression, heart disease, or some other illness.  So what's optimal?  Six to eight hours---consistently.

* September/October 2011

Exceptional Evan and His Seizure Dog

Exceptional Evan and His Seizure Dog
By Mimi Ausland

Pit Bull
Proud Evan!
Evan Moss can't wait for next year when he gets his new dog and gets to "give him a big hug!" He has a huge reason to be excited for his future furry friend, because not only will he be a great companion, but he will also be a lifesaver. Literally.
Evan has epilepsy and suffers from severe, possibly life-threatening seizures. So when he and his parents (Lisa and Rob Moss) found out about a type of specially trained dog that can detect seizures and act to help him, they knew they needed to find a way to get one. That's when this amazing 7-year-old boy had the idea to write his very own book to help raise the $13,000.00 needed to buy a seizure dog.
It's one thing to have the idea to write the book and another to actually make it happen. But he did it – and did it really well. Evan wrote and illustrated "My Seizure Dog", available on He even got to have his very first book signing where about 650 people came to buy the book and meet him. "The lines stretched out the door and down the block." Says Lisa. "We sold out of books and people still stood in line just to meet Evan". One of his favorite parts of the day was meeting service dogs. "There were 7 or 8 service dogs in attendance and Evan got to meet them and interact with them. He loves dogs and it seemed like every time he began to get tired another dog would come in and he would be recharged", Lisa says.
Pit Bull
Evan at his book-signing
Everything about this story is exceptional. But the best part is that the Mosses have reached their fundraising goal to get Evan's seizure dog. In fact, he exceeded his goal and the extra funds raised will go to 4 Paws for Ability to help several other children in similar situations with their fundraising efforts.
Having this dog will turn Evan's life around. At one point, he was having 300-400 short seizures a month. Brain surgery stopped those from happening. But two years ago, much longer and more serious seizures started - the kind that can require serious medication and emergency medical response. Having a seizure dog can provide critical help.
The experience of Evan writing the book spurred Rob and Lisa to create the Seizure Tracker Web Site, a free and innovative way for epileptics (and other disease sufferers) to record and share the times and amounts of medications and events. The site has 8,000 registered users worldwide!
Despite having epilepsy, Evan is upbeat and excited about living life to the fullest. And in June 2012, when he receives his new dog, his life will become more full!
For more information, or to support 4 Paws for Ability, check them out here.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Ribbit & Ribbit

To Be A Better Dog




Money and Happiness: It's Not About The Bling


Excerpted from:  Bottom Line's Daily Health News
August 25, 2011

You know how people are always saying that money can't buy happiness?  It turns out they're wrong!

I've recently seen not one but two studies that reveal some important findings on what cash can deliver in terms of quality of life.


First comes a report from Princeton University published late last year in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.  Using data involving 450,000 Americans from the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index, the researchers analyzed the relationship between household income and each respondent's self-reported emotional state (what the researchers call"day-to-day happiness") as well as their overall feelings about their well-being and "satisfaction" with life.

Happiness has a price tag: The researchers learned that happiness climbed right along with income up to about $75,000 per year, after which more income didn't predictably buy more happiness.  But -- here's the interesting point -- satisfaction with life overall did continue to rise right along with income beyond $75,000 per year.  People who earned more... and more...felt that much better about the quality of their lives.


And now we've just seen a second study on happiness, a meta-analysis (study of other studies), that is quite remarkable.  Social scientists from the Victoria University of Wellington in New Zealand were looking to learn whether having money or having choices in life ("autonomy") is more important for well-being.  They examined data from a huge sample (420,599 individuals from 63 countries spanning more than 30 years) --  some of these people were wealthy, some poor ... some living in capitalist societies, some socialist... some in developed nations and others in countries that can still be classified as "third-world."

Result:  Regardless of where respondents lived, they tended to report greater well-being if they felt that they had autonomy.  And if money bought the ability to make more and better choices -- as it does here in the US, for instance -- it did indeed buy happiness.  In situations where money did not correlate with autonomy -- you guessed it -- no correlation with happiness or a better life.


I put in a call to James Maddux, PhD, a psychology professor at George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia, and asked for his help in putting this information into contex.  He told me that the real surprise is in  the second study, that showed that across cultures, happiness depended upon having matter what their background, humans want to have the chance at independent accomplishment.

Dr. Maddux explained that "in broad strokes, previous research has demonstrated that in Western cultures, like those in the US, Canada and Europe, autonomy and individualism correlated with happiness, but not so in traditional Eastern cultures (such as Japan, China and India), where identity is collectivist, rooted less in personal identity than in what the group -- you family, your community, your employer -- has accomplished."

Beyond that, said Dr. Maddux, the body of research studing the link between income and satisfaction with life has yielded some wisdom that is generalizable (and, frankly, familiar) to most people trying to find the correct balance between money and satisfaction in life...

There's nothing magic about $75,000.  The real point of that study, Dr. Maddux explained, is that it reinforces that being poor is no picnic.  "It is important to have enough income to meet your basic needs," he said.  Cost of living varies greatly depending on many variables -- where you live, how you are accustomed to living, wherther you live alone or with a spouse or family, etc., so $75,000 represented a kind of a rough marker in the study.

After your needs are met, money counts for less.  Once you've reached the point where you are comfortably able to pay your bills, earning more will make you happier...just not as much as you might guess.  Dr. Maddux said that "additional income buys additional happiness to a point...then a bit more money buys a bit more happiness... and so on... but for everyone, there comes a point when extra money isn't really going to add anything to you life at all."

Personal development matters.  Using money to expand your knowledge and understanding (for instance, putting your dollars toward travel, education, the pursuit of special interests or donating money to philanthropy) increases happiness, Dr. Maddux noted.

Possessions can make you less happy.  In contrast, "the body of research suggests that if you want additional money so you can buy stuff -- like cars, clothes and jewelry -- with the goal of impressing or keeping up with others, these pursuits will actually diminish your happiness," Dr. Maddux said, adding that "research shows that the pursuit of 'bling' contributes to unhappiness because people probably are pursuing material goods at the expense of self-development and relationships."

Personally, I am not surprised by these findings -- they are entirely consistent with what I believe about every aspect of life.  Having the opportunity to function as an individual, free to work hard and to be rewarded for it -- emotionally and financially -- leads to great satisfaction.  There is no better feeling than the feeling of accomplishment.


 * Source by James Maddux, PhD, professor of psychology
George Mason University
Fairfax, Virginia

Meet Molly - A Most Heatwarming Story

Meet Molly
She's a grey speckled pony who was abandoned by her owners when Hurricane Katrina hit southern Louisiana.  She spent weeks on her own before finally being rescued and taken to a farm where abandoned animals were stockpiled.  While there, she was attacked by a dog and almost died.  Her gnawed right front leg became infected, and her vet went to LSU for help, but LSU was overwhelmed, and this pony was a welfare case.  You know how that goes.
But after surgeon Rustin met Molly, he changed his mind.  He saw how the pony was careful to lie down on different sides so she didn't seem to get sores, and how she allowed people to handle her.  She protected her injured leg.  She constantly shifted her weight and didn't overload her good leg.  She was a smart pony with a serious survival ethic.

Moore agreed to remove her leg below the knee, and a temporary artificial limb was built.  Molly walked out of the clinic and her story really begins there. ' This was the right horse and the right owner,' Moore insists.  Molly happened to be a one-in-a-million patient.  She's tough as nails, but sweet, and she was willing to cope with pain.  She made it obvious she understood that she was in trouble.  The other important factor, according to Moore, is having a truly committed and compliant owner who is dedicated to providing the daily care required over the lifetime of the horse.  Molly's story turns into a parable for life in Post-Katrina Louisiana.  The little pony gained weight, and her mane finally felt a comb.  A human prosthesis designer built her a leg.  The prosthetic has given Molly a whole new life, Allison Barca DVN, Molly's regular vet, reports.  And she asks for it.  She will put her little limb out, and come to you and let you know that she wants you to put it on.  Sometimes she wants you to take it off too.  And sometimes, Molly gets away from Barca.  "It can be pretty bad when you can't catch a three-legged horse,' she laughs.  Most important of all, Molly has a job now.  Kay, the rescue farm owner, started taking Molly to shelters, hospitals, nursing homes, and rehabilitation centers.  Anywhere she thought that people needed hope.  Wherever Molly went, she showed people her pluck.  She inspired people, and she had a good time doing it.  'It's obvious to me that Molly had a bigger role to play in life, Moore said.  She survived the hurricane, she survived a horrible injury, and now she is giving hope to others.' Barca concluded, 'She's not back to normal, but she's going to be better.  To me, she could be a symbol for New Orleans itself.'

This is Molly's most recent prosthesis.
The bottom photo shows the ground surface
that she stands on, which has a Smiley Face
embossed in it.  Wherever Molly goes,
she leaves a smiley hoof print behind.

Share Molly's story with all of the animal lovers you know.
 Molly reflects a characteristic we should all strive to have!

Husband and Wife Save Thousands of Greyhounds

by Diane Herbst

ketzel the compsing catIn 1991, Dennis Tyler's passion for Greyhounds began when he adopted Clara Voyant, a former track racing dog. His love grew stronger as he and his wife, Claire, realized how calm and loving she was. In obedience class, Clara aced all the commands. "She was incredible," says Tyler, 65, a retired mechanic who worked at the Kennedy Space Center. "That dog was the beginning."

When Tyler, of Melbourne, Florida, realized that thousands of Greyhounds at Florida tracks who could no longer race needed to be adopted or faced euthanization, he and Claire, 65, took action. "Looking at those faces and knowing they need to be adopted when they are done," says Tyler, "you get concerned."

rescued GreyhoundSince then, the Tylers have found homes for over 7,000 Greyhounds, placing them Florida and all along the East Coast. Funded by donations, the couple's Greyhound Pets of America, Central Florida ( can take in up to 78 Greyhounds at two kennels they maintain at a track, provide them with any needed medical care as well as spaying and neutering.

In a specially-outfitted trailer that can hold up to 44 dogs, Claire and Dennis hit the open road 12 to 15 times a year and drive to Greyhound rescues as far north as Buffalo, New York and a whole host of states in between; the rescues then find good homes in their area for the pups. Tyler also visits many of the homes that adopts his dogs. "After a trip we're tired, dog tired," says Tyler. "You worry about problems along the way. It's very challenging, we're responsible."

The couple, who have two grown children, two of their own Greyhounds, and who recently celebrated their 44th wedding anniversary, are paid back for their tireless efforts by the dogs. "Seeing them getting into these homes," Tyler says, "they thank us enough." was so inspired by the work Dennis and Claire are doing that they made a donation of 10,000 meals of Halo Spot’s Stew to Greyhound Pets of America, Emerald Coast, in their name. "Greyhounds being abandoned by racetracks is a serious situation," says Freekibble's Kelly Ausland. "We're honored to be able to help Dennis and Claire with their lifesaving work."

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Create a Brighter Future


We have more power to change our lives than we think we do.  Much of the unhappiness and frustration in life arises from the stories we tell ourselves---the conclusions that we draw and predictions that we make based on what has happened to us in the past.  The events of the past lead us to form the beliefs and assumptions that guide the future.

  Examples:  No one in my family can handle money...I can't help it, I'm attracted to irresponsible mates...I'm just not a good communicator...I've always been overweight.

  Most people view these beliefs as unchangeable truths.  They remain unaware that they have "authored" their own stories.  Meanwhile, the way they habitually talk about their lives---whether out loud or silently---continues to shape their circumstances.  Because they have not taken responsibility for their stories, they keep gathering data to support the same beliefs...and they remain stuck.

  Example:  If you keep telling yourself the story that people are inconsiderate and selfish, you will focus on every instance of selfishness and ignore generous behavior, thereby gathering more evidence to reinforce your point of view.
You can have a more fulfilling life by rewriting the stories that hold you back.
How to do it...


  You need to identify your stories before you can change them.  

  Pick an area of your life that you are not happy with---such as money, marriage, work, health, friendship or parenting.  Then do a written "purge."  Write out everything that bothers you about this area.  Describe any hurtful incidents you remember in connection with this theme and how you felt at the you feel now...whose fault you think the problem is...what you expect to happen...what you fear.

  Example:  A person who is having difficulty finding the love of his/her life may write a purge such as one of these--- Dating is tough...My last three relationships didn't work...Men are horrible at communicating...I'm never going to fall in love.


    Now examine your story. You are not trying to change anything at this point.  You are just getting to know your story better as a story, identifying the assumptions behind it so that you can better understand how your thinking functions.  Your written purge has all the information you need for this step.
Look for...
 >Theories and generalizations.
These are statements you wrote that seem to explain why your problem exists.
Examples:  No matter how hard I work no one ever appreciates me....I can never fulfill my career goals as long as I am taking care of my kids...Men (or women) are untrustworthy...I'm just not disciplined...No one will hire you if you're over 50.

>Contradictions with your life. 
These are ways in which what you say you want is incongruent with what you actually do in your life.
Example:  You say that you would like to be slim and fit, yet you avoid exercising.

This refers to ways that your own behavior reflects your family's traits and actions.

Ask yourself,  how does this situation remind me of my father, mother, siblings, grandparents?
Lineage can be seen not only in similarity but also in dramatically opposite behavior.
Example:  If your parents had a distant relationship with each other, you may have gone to the other extreme, acting intrusive or needy.


Now that you have identified your assumptions, look for evidence in your life that could refute those beliefs.  Two ways to do this...

     1.  Find examples of times you were successful in that same problem area, no matter how small the success or how long ago it occurred.
Example:  Someone who struggles with debt remembers the time in elementary school when he saved for months to buy a bicycle.

     2.  Think of an area of your life in which you have been successful, and write down the skills that contributed to this success.  Use that information to demonstrate to yourself that you have the ability to succeed...and then you can apply the same skills to the problem area.
Example:  A high-powered executive in his late 40s refused to go to any doctor for years despite worsening dental problems and shortness of breath.  When he wrote out his story, he described how his father used to claim that doctors were like crooked auto mechanics who would find all kinds of made-up problems that supposedly needed fixing.  The executive realized that he had adopted his father's fear of doctors.  He also had taken on his father's belief that that failing health was inevitable in middle age and that going to the doctor just made things worse.
  Although the executive had not been able to manage his health care, he did know how to manage successfully in business.  At work, he was confident and effective at evaluating risks and making tough decisions.  He resolved to approach his health the way he would approach a management issue at work.  He listed the results he wanted to achieve, the steps he needed to take and the doctors he needed to consult in order to reach that outcome.


On a new sheet of paper, write, The truth about me is...  Then describe the positive outcome you long for.
Example 1:  The truth about me is...I could manage my health as well as I manage my business.
Example 2:  The truth about me is...I have mourned  my late husband, and it now is time to find another love.  There is someone for me, and I will find him.
  Next write, What I will do about it now is...Ask yourself, If this new story were true, what actions would be consistent with it?  List every action you would take if you really believed the new story.


Once a day, read you new story and do at least one action from your list of actions.
Tell your story to someone else who believes in you.  Ask him/her to help make sure you follow through with the actions that you have committed to taking.
Keep rereading your story every day for a least 30 days---and longer, if necessary, until your actions generate momentum and you truly believe your new story without having to convince yourself.
Shifting your story happens remarkably quickly once you recognize that you are the author. *

Lauren Zander, cofounder and chairman of The Handel Group, a corporate consulting and private coaching company based in Mew York City.