blah blah blah.... you know the rest. Things have been pretty quiet around here.. mostly because I got the plague.. yup H1N1 I think... and then, just for fun..Bronchitis.... I'm on week 4 now and I'm still coughing. I know I'm all "try the natural approach first" but breathing in steam, drinking tea with honey and lemon, chest and back rubs with eucalyptus and rosemary just haven't done the trick. So, mucinex it is... good stuff that. I just spent the day in NYC yesterday, in spite of the creeping crud that has invaded my lungs. I took it easy, rested when I needed to which wasn't very often thank goodness. One flight of stairs at the American Natural History Museum almost did me in... but after about 3 minutes, the heart palpitations stopped... not getting enough oxygen really stinks! So while we were walking on the Upper West Side, after dinner at Kefi, I noticed that it was dog walking hour. Everyone had their dogs out, on leash, out for their "evening constitutional". And these dogs were the most balanced dogs I had seen in a while. I mentioned to LB that I couldn't believe what I was seeing. Amidst the chaos of cars and people and noise, these dogs were just walking nicely on leash.. giving a sniff here and there and ignoring people. Shel says "Well of course, these dogs are walked every day. In NYC, you can't just toss them in the back yard and ignore them." Duh. Guess the cold meds went to my brain. It's true. Often I hear people say that they don't understand why their dogs are so CRAZY, after all they get so much exercise. The thing is, running amok in the backyard is not brain exercise. This past week, my job was VERY slow... this happens sometimes. The week before I was crazy busy. Now, since I've been sick, I've been tired. (that not enough oxygen thing) but I was feeling better when I was busy. I was more stressed about not having much to do (except stuffing envelopes.. boooring) so my brain didn't get any exercise. These NYC dogs, out on their walks, had their brains challenged. They had to pay attention to their handlers, the street noise, the people, the new smells... all this stuff that stimulates their brains. My friend who is a chiropractic veterinarian, has been doing a lot of research on brains, and how dogs that have mental challenges live long and live better. She also says that a good way to tire out a dog is to make them think. And imagine, you get to spend quality time with your dog! If going for walks are not possible where you live (and I know that there are many people who live in areas that aren't safe for walks) you could try tricks or teach them a new skill! You really don't need a lot of room. We train obedience in our small house. We do recalls around corners. We play find it with treats. Sit, down, Stay, twirl, spin, weave can all be taught in a small space. For some great ideas, I suggest checking out these lenses from Johann the Dog! Fun things to do with your dog How you and your dog can have loads of fun learning tricks!