• October 22, 2014

Dogs help us get back in routine

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Posted: Friday, August 22, 2014 4:30 am

August heat means one thing around here, back to school and routines that we’ve been lax on for the better part of two months.

Our dogs have tried to keep me on a schedule by keeping their potty times regular at the crack of dawn, but the siren call of my pillow is stronger than the desire to stay awake. I won’t admit that it’s because I stay up too late at night, but that might be part of the problem.

So as the school bell looms in my immediate future, I need to get us all back on a schedule and am using my dogs to help us do that.

Mastiffs are natural sleepers. Most dogs are great at falling asleep and can sleep 12 to 14 hours a day.

If only it was that easy for us.

Nighttime seems to be the only time I have to myself. The time I can catch up on things that needed to be done during the day, but didn’t need little helpers or maybe that TV show the kids shouldn’t see that we like to watch. You know the one you DVR every week and stay up late for? Or that book that just needs to be finished tonight so that you can find out who did whatever awful thing to imaginary characters that are real to you thanks to an amazing author?

I just realized why dogs fall asleep and stay asleep easier than we do.

We fill our lives with so much stuff all the time that when we need to be settling down for the night, our brains can’t shut down.

Another lesson we can learn from our dogs is to just stop.

Stop obsessing over everything.

Will the world really end if the book waits until tomorrow or the TV show doesn’t get watched? What about those last few emails? Would we get more rest if we shut it all down a couple of hours before bed?

In preparation for schedules and routines, I will attempt to put my cellphone, iPad, book and TV remote down two hours before bed and follow my dog’s examples, just be with my people. Enjoy their energy and prepare for the next day without electronics.

How about joining me? Think it’s too hard to do or won’t work?

We won’t know if we don’t try and I’m willing to give it a go so join me.

Let’s start a good night’s sleep revolution in town and see our days improve. Once our days improve, our moods will follow and then our community as a whole will reap the benefits.

All credit will be given to the power of the sleeping dogs and their humans; and we might make it out of the house on time for school come Monday morning.

Kathryn Leisinger is dean of the School of Wags and a Herald correspondent.

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