Follow The Leader
Many years ago, I found myself face to face with Cesar Millan who you might know from television as The Dog Whisper.
I had recently rescued a dog named Roxy from the South Central Pound in Los Angeles and she came with a host of issues – aggression being one of them. I had tried everything to get Roxy to be a more model citizen but she was far from that. “What can I do?” I asked him. Cesar’s advice? Take care of your own emotional imbalances, and you’ll have an easier time helping Roxy let go of hers. He then told me something I will never forget – a dog won’t follow an unbalanced leader but a human will.
The Presidential Blues
Since the presidential election, It feels as though a lot of us are suffering from the political pain that comes from following unbalanced leaders. No matter what your political beliefs are, it is obvious that we are a divided a nation and the divide doesn’t seem to be going away. The chasm exists between neighbors, friends, even within families. Daily I wake up with hope but I’ll be honest, it’s challenging.
My Question of the Week
Recently I posted a question on Facebook; What quality do you admire most in a leader? The question must have hit a nerve because a flood of answers came in. Among them were: kindness, authenticity, honesty, empathy, heart, and wisdom. Compassion, integrity, and courage were the qualities people repeated most.
In an era where technology is king, I don’t think the king can help our leaders or any of us embody greater compassion, or to live with integrity or demonstrate true courage. But our pets just might.
Of all of the people to whom I’ve asked the question, “If your dog were your doctor or your cat your nurse, what advice would they give you?” not one dog lover has responded, “My dog would advise me to be angrier and to worry more.” Not one cat guardian has said, “My cat really inspires me to be less patient and act more selfishly.” In fact, they’ve said quite the opposite, sharing tales of love, connection, and gratitude that have touched their hearts enriched their lives, and served as a source of joy.
People have shared with me how adopting an animal in need has made them feel more compassionate and empathetic. They have revealed how their animal friends have helped them be a little more courageous. And when it comes to authenticity and integrity when have you ever seen a Chihuahua trying to be a poodle or a cat trying to be a lion? Humans wear all kinds of masks and get in trouble when they can’t sustain those personas. Happiness lies in being your most authentic self regardless of what anyone thinks.
Dogs on The Hill
Our leaders could learn so much from the pawsitive attributes our animal friends embody, as can we all. In fact, there was a recent news story that showed how many politicians are bringing their Canines to Capitol Hill. These extraordinary little beings have a soothing effect on stress, help soften bad attitudes, and have even brought down an ego or two.
Like angels whispering into our ears, our animal friends can inspire us in their own simple ways: a touch of a paw at the right time to open our heart; a knowing look that peers into our soul; and their repeated courage when it comes to forgiving us over and over for our human foibles. If our politicians could learn from these moments of connection with their animal friends they too might embrace the compassion, integrity, and courage we so desperately desire to see in each and every one of them.