Well, it is January, and I, along with many other Irish-Viking Dachshund Americans are starting the new year with the idea of being healthier. My promise to myself, and my Companions, was to spend 2016 trying to exercise more, eat more nutritiously, and generally take better care of myself. Of course, my loyal Companions were eager to join me in this endeavor.
To this end, I began incorporating healthy habits in the Family Bed right away. I’ve eliminated in between meal snacking by putting a retinal scanner on the Commissary door. Since none of the Companions have actual retinas – it’s been working very effectively. Of course, Bachmann has tried to outsmart the locking mechanism several times, but he’s only accomplished getting himself zapped by the alarm system. It’s amusing, but growing tiresome. I do hope he finds a better way to occupy himself soon.
Another health-conscious change to the Bed has been increased workouts for all Companions. We are all benefiting from these expanded conditioning sessions. In fact, I’ve already seen a huge difference in Candace’s balance and Je M’appelle Claude’s eye/claw coordination. Even Ernst is looking more svelte and sleek. I, myself, noticed a significant increase in my own haunch-flex ratio after just a few weeks of daily work.
Naturally, diet is one of the most important components of good health. Nutrition has always been a priority in the Family Bed, and now, more than ever, I am making decisions about food choices with that in mind. I’ve added many more nuts and legumes to the menu plans – a change that most of the Companions are quite pleased over. Of course, many of the aquatic creatures are disappointed with the lack of variety in the seafood department, but as I’ve explained many times, we just don’t have sufficient refrigerator space to keep seafood fresh for any length of time. And no one wants old fish stinking up the place. Except Bachmann, but he’s always the dissenter in any conversation. I do try to bring in organically raised, sustainably-sourced wild-caught salmon when possible and Raoul likes to grill it with just a little lime juice and dill. Very tasty.
Additionally, I’m regularly attending local farmer’s markets to obtain the freshest possible produce for my vegetarian Companions. Well, and for myself, of course – who does’t love a fresh, crisp apple right out of Mama Dog’s hand? Hmmm?? While I have been forced to outsource for some of our dietary needs – dairy in particular (Candace doesn’t like to talk about it, but she’s lactose intolerant, which is quite embarrassing for a cow, as you would imagine.) – most of the Companions don’t mind only having goats’ milk cheese or yogurt a few times a week.
We’ve been working to eliminate artificial food from our diets, as well, including sugar. And believe me, that hasn’t been easy. Dijon in particular has quite the sweet tooth. I’ve been substituting stevia in my dessert recipes with good success. Dijon has not seemed to notice any loss of sweetness or richness in his nightly dish of flan, for which I am grateful. He becomes absolutely unbearable when he doesn’t have his nightly flan … breathing fire over the other Companions as they try to watch television in the Commons area, slashing his tail around the room, bellowing, and generally making a real scene. It’s just better to avoid that sort of theatrics altogether whenever possible.
Overall, I believe the Companions are much more focused mentally with the addition of these changes in physical activity and nutrition. I’ve kept careful notes in their behavior charts over the past few weeks and have seen an upswing in both their general happiness and gross motor function. It’s very rewarding to see a plan achieve such success.
As we move forward, I will be increasing the number of discussion group sessions for the Companions, as well. I think giving them more opportunity to work through their individual issues through group discourse will bring them closer together and create a real sense of community within the Bed. As I have mentioned before, Family Bed harmony is often non-existent. And I plan to incorporate even more options for physical training as the weather warms up and the Companions can work out of doors. Tai Chi on the Lawn; Gopher Hole Digging 101; Voice Projection; Releasing Your W.O.I.D. (Wrath of Irish Dachshund); and Quiet Wandering are just a few of the new classes that will begin in the spring. There is already considerable interest in this area.
I sincerely hope each of you is experiencing the success with your own goals for the new year that we in the Family Bed Education, Training and Rehabilitation Center are experiencing. I just can’t express how rewarding it is to lead this group of Companions on a path to better health and well-being. Oh, yes, a few are not really coming along willingly. But you always have a few stragglers and late-bloomers in any educational setting, don’t you? You just drag them along until they get tired of fighting you and then … well, everyone’s happy, aren’t they? Indeed.
So. Good luck to all of you, dear readers, in your New Year’s goals and objectives. Good Day, and thank you for your support.