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Striking the right balance

Yellow Lab

Yellow Lab

As a working mother with 2 young Labs, I am constantly struggling to find “the right balance.” How do I get my office work done, my housework done, dinner made (or bought), my teenager’s needs met, and most important, the dogs tired. It is not an easy task, and I have the perfect set-up.

After 10 years of commuting almost 2 hours a day to work, I moved my office to my home. I decided to put my computer next to the outside door leading to the backyard so that I could let my labs Sam, who is 2 years, and Jessie, who is six months, run in and out as they pleased. Sounds easy? Was I surprised.

To make things easier, I decided that they needed at least an hour a day at the dog park. I live in Texas, and it is unbearably hot, so this time of year we need to go early. I wake up, quickly drink a cup of coffee, cover up my back seat so the dirt, grass, twig, critters and water damage will be minimal, and off we go. I am very lucky to have a great dog park 7 minutes from home.

According to Cesar Millan, “Dogs are not humans. Before they receive love and affection, they need exercise, clear direction, and leadership. Giving them love alone doesn’t create balance in their lives. Be a pack leader!”

With this in mind, I run the dogs for at least an hour by constantly throwing a ball or Frisbee, and trying to keep them from emptying dog park water dish with their paws. Some people just don’t understand that Labs are water dogs, their coats are designed with 2 layers to repel water and a strong “otter like” tail to help them balance in water. Not only are they designed to swim, they are drawn to water, especially in the heat of the summer. So what if their paws are in the water bowl…some owners of other breeds just get so uptight! And, once in a while, my dogs do drink the water instead of playing with it.

So, my plan is to run them for an hour, run to the gym for an hour, start the laundry, empty the dishwasher, defrost dinner and have 8 calm hours to work. I thought that I had it all figured out. The dogs would be tired and I would be ready to be productive.

As it turned out, the dogs were tired when they got home from the dog park, but used the hour that I was at the gym to sleep and “recharge”. By the time I came home, they were full of energy, and any work was going to be a struggle.

My six month old likes to unplug my computer when she doesn’t get the attention she’s looking for, and my 2 year old just stares at me until i get up and play with her. Who can resist a Labrador’s eyes?

So I keep searching for the right balance. I know that I will get it right… eventually.

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