Making Lemonade

Every day the headlines shout about our terrible economy. Gas prices launch out of control, and subsequently food prices are on the rise. Everyone I know is tightening up their budgets and buckling down their expenditures. The economy is not so great right now and sometimes it does make me anxious.

I don’t fret too much though, because everyday when I stop reading The Huffington Post and pause to look down at my feet my spirits are buoyed. My three dogs sit near me while I work at my desk. Dune and Hugo on one side, curled up on a way-too-small leopard-print bed, and on the other side lays Claude on his big square mat. (Also leopard-print, have you tried it? Leopard-print is the perfect camouflage for a dog bed.)

Dogs don’t follow the economy, (okay, maybe some Border Collies and Malinois do) but if they did they would probably be very pleased with our current downturn. Rising gas prices mean people stay home more often. It also means we bike and walk more. Dogs like it when we’re home, or walking, or biking because it means we get to spend more time with them.

I encourage you to take advantage of our financial situation and to make the best lemonade out of the sour lemons of our economy this summer.

Why not walk to your local coffee shop rather than drive? And bring the dog.

Instead of holing up in a dark movie theater at $7 - $12 dollars a pop, why not explore your local hiking trails or parkland? Dogs love hiking and it is excellent exercise for both of you. You’ll get to know your neighborhood and neighbors all over again, or for the first time if you take advantage of the long days and make a stroll your evening entertainment.

How about enrolling in a training class with your dog this summer? It is not free, but it is much more affordable than a vacation or a new Wii.

If you’ve never taken a basic training class with your dog, I suggest you do, even if your dog is already well behaved. I promise you’ll learn something and better still you’ll strengthen your communication. And if your dog really is that well trained already what better place than a dog class to show of your skills as a team? There are also plenty of advanced-level classes where you and your dog can kick it up a notch, turbo-infuse your training savvy with a turn on a dime recall from ANYTHING, or a new trick, or dog sport such as agility.

So spend your summer hanging out with your dog, it just plain makes economic sense. You’ll get a great return on your investment in sloppy dog-kisses, wags, cute photo ops, exercise, and maybe even a winning ribbon or graduation certificate or two. But most importantly you’ll strengthen your bond with your beloved furry friend and create memories to last a lifetime.

Now, if you'll excuse me I've got a date with three gorgeous fellows......

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