It seems like every day, week, and month there’s an official Awareness Observance for just about every thing under the sun. For instance, as I write we’re in the midst of Spiritual Literacy Month established in 1996 to encourage us to read books with spiritual themes, we are also currently in the middle of “It’s About Time” Week with its goal to make us more aware of how we use our time and be more efficient and, on a lighter note, National Chocolate Day was observed this past week and as most know, chocolate can be a mood enhancer when eaten in moderation.
Serious, silly, sentimental, spiritual – while learning about these unique observances we gain knowledge about the obscure, or little-known, people, places and things of our world. A few years back, I contributed to Ruff Drafts, the newsletter of the Dog Writer’s Association of America, with a quarterly column titled Observance Breeds Awareness where I wrote about the origins and significance of those observances established just for our canines of which there are many.
My “discovery” of an observance called National Dog Week in 2009, changed my life in many ways, and still influences me profoundly. It was what inspired me to take up writing. Founded in 1928 by Captain Wm. Lewis Judy, its goal was to make us humans more responsible for the dogs in our lives and to have regard for their emotional lives. One of my favorite Judy quotes is, “Try to the god on earth, the all-powerful and all-mighty your dog thinks you are. Never let him learn his mistake.”
These beautiful canine creatures are always there for us at times when humans aren’t or can’t be. In last week’s post I wrote about the role of dogs in coping with Widowhood. Our pets, especially our dogs, are integral to so many aspects of our lives and assist in the healing process when we are dealing with life-changing events, or just providing comfort and companionship during ordinary days.
Captain Judy was a man ahead of his time. Trained for the ministry, he ultimately went on to purchase and then publish Dog World Magazine for decades influencing a new generation of American dog-lovers that increasingly allowed dogs into their hearts and homes. His spiritual approach to dog care and training was progressive. Before it was even mainstream, Judy understood the therapeutic potential of dogs in hospital and rehab settings.
January is a time when so many look to make changes in their lives. Often we overshoot with unrealistic goals and give up on our expectations by the end of the month. January is Celebration of Life Month which reminds us to celebrate life itself by embracing the simple fact that we’ve lived another day. Established by Food for Life, this observance encourages to, “cater to our bodies, which in turn caters to our souls.” After all the overindulgence experienced during the holiday season it is a good time to check ourselves. Good physical health is the foundation for emotional well-being and resilience and we always have a choice in how we nourish ourselves (if we don’t make excuses) and if you have a bad eating day, try for better the next.
And in staying true to my writer’s platform, I share that January is also Unchain a Dog, Walk Your Pet and Train Your Dog Month. Walking one’s well-trained dog is a good way to enrich one’s life; beneficial for those on both ends of the leash.
In my writing journey, I’ve found that sometimes literally helping the underdogs (canine, equine, feline, hu-mine) is a good way to help get through life one day at a time. If my writing inspires or helps just one reader, I consider that a successful day.
Happy New Year and Wishing you all Awareness in those areas of your life in which it is needed, or desired. Work joyfully and peacefully, and let the events of each day unfold in their own good time. Thanks for reading.