Earlier this year, I’ve rescued one little puppy whose mother died when he was too young to survive on his own. Naturally, the breeder sold the puppy as soon as he could, despite his very young age. Puppies like that are a handful, as they require a lot of special care and need... So much, that the new owner also quickly realized that his house didn’t really need a puppy.
When he was 4 weeks old, he already lived in 2 houses and was actively seeking his third. It was heartbreaking already, and on top of this, they offered the puppy to me exactly on 2nd anniversary of Blue's death. Blue was my soldier and the inspiration for my book "Turn Your Shit Into Magic". Not to mention, the puppy was also an American Bulldog, just like Blue. My conscious allowed the puppy to move in and turn my always clean living room into a puppy playground/bathroom.
It was a weird combination, so I just poured myself a glass of wine and said: “Ok Puppy, let’s put seatbelts on, and take this rite together.” Not sure how many of you took on a little puppy at a mature age, but I tell you, there are a lot of bumps on the road.
It seems counterintuitive to think puppies get anything in return for the work they put in, but mine, quickly taught me a valuable lesson, which I would love to share.
To ensure potty training is successful, one needs to take the puppy out every two hours. You ought to have some good currency to reward puppies. It’s not just about the treats. We can reward dogs with affection, playtime, or, as I observed, even with pure enthusiasm. I often noticed that my dog is very observant and when he saw me laugh at something, he did, he would continue to repeat that action over and over.
On our frequent potty trips, I've noticed that he loves to lay and stretch on the grass. Work kept me busy, and I didn’t have time for anything else, other than going potty. But instead of heading back home, the puppy would slam on his brakes and stare at me. He begged me to stay out a little longer and sit on the grass with him.
One day I did. It was a nice out, so I took my shoes off, sat next to the dog, and a feeling of elation washed over me. This was more than just the sensation of the grass, spiky, soggy, or dry, but also the feelings coursing through me, the lightning bolts of memory that make you feel connected to the Earth, connected to yourself, connected to those nostalgic and happy memories of your own childhood. My feelings took me over, and for a moment I was in a wormhole, as if I was a child again, running barefoot. The sensations were all there, but I did not have the vocabulary to describe them. According to philosophers, every moment in time never really ends, is never destroyed, but simply continues. Sometimes you remember the smallest, darkest memories, and sometimes the biggest, brightest ones.
The puppy showed me a stunning cognitive tool to help me relive those unforgettable moments whenever I wanted. And it was so easy to use. The puppy was looking right into my eyes and I understood what he was trying to say: “If you’re not hungry or don’t need to go potty, check out how cool nature is.”
According to research, people who have a stronger connection with nature have a more positive attitude toward wildlife, habitats, and the environment. Hence, establishing an enduring relationship between people and nature may be crucial to conservation in the future.
I realized we have very few opportunities to do so. This is due both to our busy lives and to the concrete desert surrounding us, especially in large urban areas like New York City. We are supposed to rely on sustainable development to protect us. However, the true sustainability agenda is simply unfeasible. The main reason is that most people with power, both public and private, do not believe we are in danger. Our beautiful facilities continue to be built amidst illegal dumps with weeds and piles of trash, and other things I won’t mention. Americans are at high risk for air pollution-related illnesses. Because of our land-use decisions, obesity, diabetes, and asthma are more prevalent. Our cities are running out of space to build parks, which are vital to both our health and our well-being. With this growth, urban planners face several challenges - more housing, more schools, more hospitals, along with more infrastructure, such as transportation, and water.
Parks are often overlooked in this race for space. This can have an impact on cities with high populations, especially on those with a high density. Cities are plagued by many problems (such as concrete, bitumen, and glass), run-off from storm water, and fewer parks for children to play in. There are also negative health effects associated with fewer parks, such as obesity, anxiety, and depression.
Some cities consider green spaces a luxury rather than a necessity, which is even worse. During these tough economic times, some city managers and elected officials make decisions that may negatively affect the quality of life of urban residents, both now and in the future.
We prefer to stay indoors because who would want to go for a walk in a toxic environment Even our children prefer to stay indoors near an electrical outlet. In today’s world, we feel disconnected from nature and have forgotten what a valuable resource it is. We are hindered from finding meaning in life because of this nature-deflected disorder.
There have been numerous studies demonstrating the benefits of spending time in nature. It has also been shown to boost immunity. During the COVID-19 outbreak, anxiety and stress levels have soared, so any activity that reduces stress and improves health is not just welcome, but essential.
My appreciation for the gifts of nature was sparked by an 8-week old puppy. Walking barefoot over grass soothed my worries. My stress levels have decreased significantly since we began doing it more often. I began playing on the grass and walking through puddles after a rainstorm on a more frequent basis.
Do not let the lack of parks deter you from enjoying nature. Go to the nearest place where you can walk barefoot on grass, hear birds, and dip your toes in a stream.
When we are surrounded by nature, we can perform good deeds. Instead of treating nature as just another resource, let’s acknowledge the value of it as well.
Mother Nature teaches us stillness, how to bend with the wind, patience and strength. When we are open to the lessons, she can teach us everything we really need to know. Spend some time this year seeking nature's hidden treasures and listening to her messages and lessons. It will transform your life.