I know my dog isn’t a real child…but just humor me a moment.
I made plans with a dear friend who I hadn’t seen in way too
long. Our plans entailed a morning walk
with a stop at a café for breakfast. I
realized with my afternoon plans later that day– the only time I would be able
to exercise my 3-year old Vizsla, Alpine was the morning – and so, he joined us
on our adult hangout. Little did I know
my friend does not care for dogs! She
wasn’t entertained by his puppy dog eyes, his sweet demeanor or his charming
manners. She wasn’t even swayed to care
when several people we passed on the street took the time to pet him, tell me
how amazing Vizsla’s are and one even wanted a picture of him to show her
boyfriend her future pet. During
breakfast, Apline put his head on my friends lap under the table and she
finally said, “now that’s cute” – but her hands never actually made physical
contact with him.
When we were saying goodbye, I thanked her for allowing
Alpine to join us and made a comment about how he is literally like my 3rd
child. “Well, no, he’s a dog” she
So, of course he’s a dog.
He’s fur from head to toe, pees on his own feet, sniffs the
butts of other animals, eats out of a dog bowl and isn’t allowed on the
couch. He can be left alone for hours at
a time and doesn’t go on every family vacation with us. I will never have to save money for college
or his wedding. I will never have to
worry about his reading level, if he’s getting bullied in school and certainly
won’t ever have to navigate the crazy world of middle school, listen to his
drama with his friends or console him during breakups and heartache.
The truth is, I also wasn’t aware of the intense bond humans
and animals could create until I actually became a “doggy mom”. He is another being living in our home and
he matters. In his three years with us, he has brought us
daily laughs, blood pressure lowering cuddles, unconditional love, miles and
miles of walks, new friends and a completeness to our family I never could
imagine existed. He lightens the mood
and I appreciate and love him for the simple being he is in a complicated and
over stressed world. But just like the
real kids, he requires medication, baths, nail trims, doctor visits, food,
attention and an advanced degree in time management trying to fit in his
exercise needs with the rest of our busy lives.
Another friend said to me once “my kids are my world, but my
dogs are my therapy”. I couldn’t agree
more. I look forward to my morning runs
with my guy. I smile when I see his head
out the car window – jowls and ears blowing in the wind and I relax at the end
of the day cuddling with him on the floor.
Nothing will ever equal the level of love and commitment I
have for my human kids, but the feelings and emotions I have for the “dog” have
taken me by surprise. And when my kids
are out of my house (which will happen, sadly in a blink of an eye), my furry
baby will still need me to love on him and nurture him.
In less than 15 years, his loss will be unbearable. Research has found that a loss of a pet can
be greater than a loss of some family members or a friend because family
members and friends aren’t intertwined in your day to day life and don’t
require you to rearrange your daily schedule to accommodate them like a pet. The sorrow over the loss of a pet triggers
the same grief because it all comes from the same place.
So yes, the dog that looks like “just a dog” to you is part
of my family gets treated like “one of the kids”. Like I said, he’s like my 3rd
By now you must know that I am obsessed with my dog. So much so that I hate even calling him a dog. Because he is so much more than that. He’s my daily running partner, unofficial health coach, my faithful work companion, and my kid’s perpetual toddler-like playmate.
But I promise you I am not the crazy dog lady. This is my first dog and I am constantly amazed at how these 4-legged creatures can live in the moment, love unconditionally and provide an optimistic view of the world. So, as I said, I spend a lot of time with my guy – mostly in the mornings running him – or tiring him out so I can get something (anything!) done the rest of the day without him whining and dropping a ball at my feet.
But this dude also gives me occasional inspiration (not to mention he is the only one in my house that will let me post him on social media).
Alpine is a 2-year-old Vizsla. A natural born hunter. On our walks, he stalks nearly ever critter from lizards, and birds to his favorite – squirrels. Stalking the skunk didn’t work out so well… Every day he stands in his instinctive preying position – body to tail – straight. Still. Slowly and silently creeping up upon his prey. And every single day he is unsuccessful. He has never, ever caught a thing. One time, in Balboa Park, we let him do his ritual and a woman scolded us for allowing the dog to hunt (poor squirrel, she said). If she only knew the pup never caught anything…
Stay with me, people, I am getting to my point. So I began to think about his tenacity, resiliency, patience and attitude about himself while trying to hunt. And I began to think about how this relates to us, in our lives and our businesses. Alpine begins each day with the same rigor and excitement about hunting as the day before! He doesn’t have negative self-talk. I doubt he tells himself he’s a loser, or don’t bother you never catch anything, just forget it or, worse, I give up. Each day his focus is renewed. Each day, he employs his talents and gifts and says (or barks) that today is the day I will succeed.
In our lives and businesses, we should emulate Alpine’s attitude. Just because we don’t reach a goal, or don’t know how to do something today or (yikes) fail at something (or many things) – we should always think about Alpine and his dedication towards his goal.
Our squirrel is out there. Everyday. Waiting for us to catch.
Never give up trying to catch your squirrel.
Why are titles and labels so important??? I mean, I guess it’s a way to categorize everyone. Give them their place – where they belong – or where others think they belong. At one hotel I worked for, as a sales manager, we were always reminded of our titles as they held certain privileges (or drawbacks). I had to discuss issues or problems with my Director of Group Sales. He could then bring them to the Director of Sales, who could bring them to the General Manager. Heaven forbid I actually TALK to the General Manager as a peon Sales Manager! And then there were senior sales managers. They were sales managers with more tenure. Other than that, there was nothing more “senior” about them but they felt all the more superior! And at another job as a Marketing Specialist when they wanted to justify pay cuts, I was “demoted” to Marketing Coordinator – yet I was still doing the exact same job. Huh. But I digress… I was so glad to leave behind titles and hierarchy when exiting the corporate world to open up shop on my own.
What was my title in my own organization of one? Owner. Marketing Director. Head honcho. Business Owner. President. CFO. WHO CARES! I was just reveling in my new journey with a business and freedom!
But then… I discovered I was being classified as an entrepreneur! Oxford defines an entrepreneur as “a person who organizes and operates a business or businesses, taking on greater than normal financial risks in order to do so.” So yeah, I thought. I am an entrepreneur. Go me!!! In light of this new information “what do I do” was now answered with “I started my own marketing consulting company. I am an entrepreneur”. Darn it. I just gave in to my new title. A new label to justify my status. My worth. My contribution to society.
But, it’s only me. Ah! So, I am a solopreneur.
But, I am a mom and work in condensed hours while the kids are at school or sleeping or playing in traffic (just kidding). So, I am a mompreneur.
But I am a headstrong female. So, I’m a fempreneur.
I have an informational DIY video course for sale so I am an infopreneur.
Had I been a student starting a company, I’d be a studentprenuer
Once when applying for a job, HR described the position as “intrapreneurial”! Entrepreneur minded while working for an organization.
And on. And on.
I soon realized that even in the world of owning your own biz, there is still the need to categorize! And oh don’t get me started on the several strings of social media posts I have been involved in trying to determine if people working with direct sales companies are business owners, entrepreneurs, sales representatives or something else! If you want to start a heated debate, post this on your wall!
So the question is – why do we all care so much?
I can only guess that by saying I am an entre-solo-mom-fem-info-preneur that I will attract like-minded people into my warm, fuzzy tribe. It’s my niche so to speak.
But why the competitiveness between folks for a title?
Can’t everyone agree that each one of us is just trying to do our best? To find something we can get behind? Something we believe in? Something that allows us to use our “gifts”? And that aligns with our values? And allows us to pay our mortgage, put food on the table and pay the Nordstrom bill at the end of the month? And oh yeah, be proud of who we are when we look in the mirror. Exhausting, isn’t it?
Let’s all make a difference where we can. So, call me what you want. At the end of the day, I like to say I am a marketing partner. A marketing therapist. A marketing consultant. And a mom. And a business of one. And a kick-ass female. Oh gosh – here I go again…
The positive effects of bringing home puppy…
Alpine – 11 week old Vizsla
We are three weeks into puppyhood. Alpine, or Little Al, is now 11 weeks old as I write this. And let me start out by saying, I have lasted an entire week more than my mother ever did with a dog. We had several dogs enter our house during my childhood, all of whom went back to wherever they came about two weeks in as my mother could not handle the crazy puppy stage – at least not with two toddlers at home.
Which brings me to say that if you would have asked me any earlier in my kid’s childhoods if I wanted a dog, the answer was Heck NO! I didn’t want to take care of another life (up until that point, “pet’s” have been a fancy mouse who has been adopted by a friend, a long gone sea frog I killed by accident, a hermit crab who suffered an untimely death and several praying mantids – my son’s favorite insect).
So, when my 9-year-old daughter announced she wanted to make organic dog treats and pass them out to our neighbor’s dog’s, at the same time my husband went to look at a litter of Vizsla puppies (in Alpine, hence his name) without telling me, we knew we were finally on the same puppy page.
I finally started to tell people we were getting a puppy and their responses were mostly the same – “don’t do it! Do you know what a big commitment that is? You have no idea what you’re getting yourself into!” And I’m thinking, um, yeah, maybe not, but did I utter those same words back to you when you told me you were expecting your third child????? My response became, “I know – it is going to change our lives – good and bad, but let us experience it for ourselves.”
So here are just a few ways in which the puppy has changed our lives, for the better.
- I hate to admit that I let my kids eat wherever. In the living room watching tv, in the formal living room – as long as they ate and I could go back to whatever task I was doing while they ate- great. But now, I don’t want crumbs all over the place for the puppy to find and eat and so, food is confined to, yep, you guessed it, the kitchen and the kitchen ONLY!
- And yeah, my kids are 9 and 10 and I would still make them their chocolate milk because I’m their mom… But now, since I am busier with the puppy, I caught my son making his own grilled cheese the other day!
- They finally experience loving something other than themselves.
- A bit more sacrifice. I have had to miss going on several field trips because the puppy can’t last that many hours in the crate. My kids accept the trade-offs in order to have their own puppy.
- And lastly, they are finally picking up their stuff off the floor and putting things away! One too many flip-flops missing is all it takes!
- I was becoming complacent. I am still building my marketing consulting biz, and everything else took precedence because I had “time” to get things done, if not now, later. But later came, and I wasn’t getting things done. With the puppy, who demands a ton of attention, I am now consolidating my work and doing it when the puppy naps or when the kids are home to watch him and I have regained my capacity to be productive again. Yippee.
- We are all on our devices less
- and outside playing more. Enough said about the benefits there.
So, yes, it’s a lot of work – along with many other things that flourish when given attention. And I can’t remember other than “real people’s” infancy when I have been this tired. I am in the midst of cleaning up puddles of pee, figuring out how to get him to like riding in the travel crate in the car, dealing with razor sharp puppy teeth and perfecting my very own puppy-approved voice I use to praise my good boy.
But life is also becoming richer, funnier and sillier with our new fuzzy being.
Now Sit. And Stay. Sign up to get more blog posts of my crazy thoughts on life (and also a media pitch template to download)!
Hi all! WOW! 30 minutes packed with great tips on how small businesses can work with a PR firm.
My guest, Stephanie Thompson of Stephanie Thompson Communications dished out some great stuff!
Watch the replay HERE
How fun to be a guest on a Blab blabbing away about one of my very favorite topics ever – relationship marketing and connecting to grow your business. Of course SEO and media spots go hand in hand and should both be incorporated into your strategy. Enjoy!
Be sure to add a comment below!
And of course, reach out to me if you want to bounce around ideas for your business!