Take Care of Yourself – Good for the Dog; Good for You

“No, don’t mind me.”

“I’m fine climbing this snowy mountain in my socks. Really, you need the boots more. It must be cold riding in that sled.”

“C’mon, Honey. Keep up.”

Honey the Golden Retriever gets a kayak ride.

Paddle faster, woman. We’ll never catch those geese.

The only thing worse than my willingness to sacrifice myself so I don’t make someone else uncomfortable is when I drag my family along.

I’m trying to learn to take better care of myself. And hopefully, better care of others who rely on me.

Take Care of Honey

Honey and I made a new friend when our latest foster dog, Titus, came to stay with us.

Scratch that. I made a new friend. Honey didn’t.

Titus is a pitbull mix foster dog lying on the couch.

How could anyone not love this face?
I don’t know. Ask Honey.

Although they had a happy little greeting and enjoyed a few moments of play in the back yard, Honey was uneasy with Titus.

When I sat down in the yard to give Titus time to get used to me, Honey practically sat on my lap.

Inside, Honey kept looking at Titus out of the corner of her eye. When he blocked her way out of a tight spot, Honey walked across the furniture rather than pass by him on the floor.

I don’t know why Honey was so uncomfortable with Titus. He was a little invasive with his sniffing. But I saw nothing in his body language that helped me understand Honey’s discomfort.

Was it because he was an intact male?

I don’t know and probably never will. But when I emailed the behaviorist at the SPCA about Honey’s reaction, she decided to pick Titus up.

Twenty years ago I wasn’t a good advocate for my dogs. But I think I’m getting better. And I’m thankful to volunteer for an organization that always puts dogs first—both the dogs in the shelter and the dogs of their foster families.

I know that whether Titus goes to another foster family or stays in the shelter to work with the volunteers and staff there, he’ll be in the very best hands.

And I know that Honey, although she can’t make choices to care for herself, is glad I can do it for her.

Take Care of Me

I’m still not very good at advocating for myself. I recently worked at the borrowed desk I sit at in my office beside a gigantic window unit that left me a little over a foot to squeeze in and out of.

But I’m getting better. And it’s why I asked my husband to borrow a Carshare car to pick me up from work tomorrow night instead of me schlepping all my teaching materials back on my bike in the dark from the house where my home buyer’s class will meet.

Honey the Golden Retriever naps beside kayaks.

I hope you don’t expect me to pull those kayaks home. I’ll stand up for myself.

Maybe if someone asks me to hike up a snowy mountain in my socks (or the real life equivalent), I’ll stand up for myself and say, “No way!” I certainly won’t drag Honey along.

After all, taking care of myself is good for me. And good for my dog too.

Your Turn: Do you remember to care for yourself? Are you as good at caring for yourself as you are at caring for our dog?



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  1. Sorry Honey was uncomfortable with Titus. Maybe better he has gone back. Have a marvellous Monday.
    Best wishes Molly

  2. goldenrescue says:

    I am so glad you paid attention to Honey. I heard, recently, of a case where someone forced her old dog, who wanted nothing to do with a foster, to go out in the yard with him. The foster killed the old dog. I think our first duty is to our own pets. If we can help others without harming our own, that’s great. But it’s my job to keep the ones who are totally dependent on me happy and healthy.

  3. Aww, sorry Honey didn’t mesh with Titus. Good on you for intervening *before* the problems escalated at all. It would be terrible for Titus to get a bad reputation.

  4. Mom usually worries about us and others much more than herself but she is trying to learn to put herself out front more.

  5. I am sorry Honey and Titus didn’t get along, but think it’s great that you handled the situation and took care of what was best for Honey…really, for both dogs. It made me think of Moses and how difficult that situation was to assess–even though Kelly was clearly not happy with Moses at all. When you see Moses you see this big, sweet, laid back old golden and you wonder how the two dogs could have not got along. For days I thought maybe we’d work it out. But smart and caring people helped us see that it wouldn’t work. Then along came Brooks and it was so easy.
    Fostering is a challenge, and you’re doing so great!

  6. Sue @ The Golden Life says:

    Sometimes things just don’t work out. Sorry for Titus, but like you said, he’s in very good hands. For whatever reason, Honey just did not like Titus. I’m sure you feel like that about other people at times. It doesn’t mean that your feelings are right or wrong, they just ARE. Feelings are feelings, period. The same goes for dogs — or any other animal — something about another dog just rubs one the wrong way sometimes. You did the right thing for Honey by acknowledging and honoring her discomfort; do the same for yourself.

  7. Sadly, I fail at caring for myself more times than not.

    But my dogs on the other hand, well their needs are always met! :)

  8. Yup. Dogs first. Always.

  9. I feel bad for Titus. He’s being moved again just when he was settling in. However, Honey is your dog and you did the right thing meeting Honey’s needs. You couldn’t let Honey be so uncomfortable in her own home. As for you, you would be concerned of what might happened between the two and on the look out all the time.

    Let’s hope Titus finds a good forever home. He deserves it.

  10. I will advocate for my dog faster and harder than I will for myself.

    Well it sounds like you did the right thing for Honey, don’t you sometimes wish they could talk and tell you what is wrong?

    Titus is lucky that he landed with you, someone else might have forced the issue and created a situation and someone could have lost. I know your shelter will find the right place for him.

  11. Wonder what it was about Titus ? I do take better care of Gizmo than I do of myself…I watch his diet more carefully and think aabout exercising him before I do me…But I do know that I have to stay healthy if I’m going to continue to care for him so I try…

    Thank you for the kind words today about my review…It meant a lot

  12. Your title is fantastic. I agree 100% with that idea. I have cats, so I have to take care of myself or I get no respect at all.

  13. I’m much better about taking care of Rita (and the hubs) than myself. But I’m trying to be better about it.

    I’m sorry things didn’t work out with Honey and Titus, but it’s good that they were understanding about coming and getting him. I had a friend have a very bad situation with a foster and her own dogs, and even after her dog was attacked, they still wanted her to keep the foster dog. Luckily she was able to stand up for her dogs and insist they come get the foster.

  14. That was a good thing you did for Honey. I’m sure Titus will be put in other good hands. Do take as good of car of myself as I do my dogs? Most of the time. But not this weekend. I went for a long walk with Pierson on Saturday. Since he has long hair, I got him wet first in order to help keep him cool. I put on his cooling dog collar, which is a collar that has small ice packs in it. And I brought water and a portable dog bowl along. But I forgot my cap, my sunglasses, and to wear sunscreen!

  15. Taking care of the dogs is taking care of myself. When I’m really struggling I will talk myself into taking a dog for a walk or playing a game with them and I find I feel better. I’ve been getting better at taking care of myself and finding out the joy it gives me. Blogging after everyone is in bed is like heaven and my total ME time.

    Sorry that Titus didn’t work out with Honey. Could be as simple as some dogs don’t like other dogs. So glad Honey has you to look out for her. That’s just awesome!!

  16. Good for you!!

  17. Isn’t that interesting! It might have been the adolescent intact maleness of Titus that Honey didn’t take to or something else completely different. As Jodi said, if only they could talk. There’s lots of questions I’d like to ask Frankie :) For instance, why is any Greyhound he has never met greeted like a long lost friend when they visit or come to stay for a while yet an old mate from where we used to live isn’t welcome here?

    Great that the SPCA picked Titus up so quickly and saved Honey any further discomfort. He looks like a lovely dog and I hope the right home turns up for him soon.