A Dog Can Change the Way you See the World:

Ringing in a new year brings desire for change.  People resolve to lose weight, cut sugar from their diet, exercise more, drink less alcohol, take more vacations, be nicer, spend more time with loved ones,  etc….  As we all know, many of these resolutions are broken within 3 weeks, so it makes me wonder what it really takes to change a behavior, mindset, or attitude.

For the past 3 months, I have had the unique responsibility of raising a future Leader Dog.  In taking on this commitment, I agreed to properly train and socialize a yellow lab puppy. The goal: to raise a  well mannered, behaviorally sound dog who will then go on to provide  independence and a life-changing experience to someone blind or visually impaired.

When we launched The BOLO Project, we knew that the process of raising this puppy would positively impact those involved.  Over the past several weeks and, particularly during the holiday season, BOLO has impacted how I view many things.

If it's worth doing... it's worth overdoingI work a lot.  I always have. The mantra “If its worth doing, it’s worth overdoing”- found in our greeting card and magnet lines, has been my modus operandi for most of my life, but raising BOLO has given me opportunity to re- evaluate this personality trait. As I spend many hours each day with BOLO, knowing what her future holds, I have taken a deeper look at how she behaves and reacts to things.  I have come to embrace the idea that if we take our cues from the behavior of dogs, in other words- live a life inspired by Dog, then maybe we will achieve higher levels of success, both personally and in business.

Focused Down Stay Close UpDogs don’t multi-task.  They focus in the moment.  They don’t worry about what they did not accomplish or look back and wonder if they made the right choices. Interestingly, they don’t even make New Years resolutions.They truly live in the moment and do what works best for them.

BOLO has three modes: Working, Playing, and Sleeping. There is a distinct balance among these three modes.  When its time work, BOLO keeps her “Eye on the Ball” (well ,not literally, because she actually can’t play with balls), but when we are training she never takes her eye off the task at hand.  When she is playing, she is fully engaged in the activity.  Her “doggie smiles” and exhuberant involvement in play make all of us around laugh, smile, and actually relax.  She takes us briefly away from the minutia of our daily to-do lists, moments I truly find therapeutic. “Making time for Play” leaves one with a clear mind, enabling us to then focus more effectively on work and  those things that can truly make a difference in the lives of others.

When BOLO sleeps….she sleeps deeply and soundly.  There is no tossing and turning or laying with eyes open worrying about something- only snoring and the occasional yelp of excitement when she is dreaming. When the alarm goes off, signifying the start of new day, BOLO wakes up enthused, excited, and raring to greet the day ahead.  She wakes up like this every single morning.  I have never known a happier dog. When I watch her, I can’t help feeling a sense of joy as well. It makes me wonder  what  each day might be like if everyone woke up in this manner.  Can you Imagine the kind of year 2014 could be with such a happy and upbeat attitude to kick start the day?

Through her, I have begun to see the real importance of balance. Taking inspirations from BOLO and the dogs in our lives shows me that a balanced approach gives us opportunity, not only to “Leave Our Mark”, but to find joy, happiness, and fulfillment along the way- and isn’t that what it is really all about?

Always Leave Your MarkBOLO has changed the way in which I see the world. I suppose the best resolution I could make in 2014 is to live a life inspired by Dog…inspired by BOLO.

Happy New Year! Best Wishes for a Dog inspired 2014