My favorite part of everyday is being outdoors walking or hiking with my dogs. We get to enjoy each other and the beautiful surroundings…literally taking time to smell the flowers. Something I witness all too often is a pet owner out with their dog walking with their head buried looking at their cell phone.
Really? You have taken that precious time to walk your dog and you are still connected to your device? The absolute best “present” you can give your pet is to be PRESENT. Take time to really connect with them and give them your attention. They live each day just to be with you, to please you, and to share that connection with you.
You have seen the stats on the how distracting our mobile devices are. Data shows us that parents of human children will often be distracted by their phones during times that have traditionally been sacred family time. A couple of eye opening stats from various studies for you:
-More than a third of children (11-18 years old) interviewed asked, would like their parents to stop checking their devices so frequently
-82% of kids interviewed thought that meal time should be device free. 14% of these kids said their parents spent time on their devices during meal time. 95% of those same parents when polled said they did not access their devices during meal time.
Many of us consider our pets our children. Unfortunately, people have let these devices steal valuable time from these kids too! If you are a busy parent and you are already trying to make time for your human children, your four-legged children may get pushed even further down the list. If you are a working person you get maybe 5-6 waking hours at the end of each day to get everything in your home life taken care of and this includes giving true undivided attention to your loved ones. We try to multi task just about everything in our lives but there are some things that are truly best to do without distractions. Consider some boundaries that might benefit both of you.
-If you are a pet parent that does make time for a walk everyday…devote that time to your pet. If you feel like you need to carry your cell phone with you as a safety precaution that is understandable; but leave it in the pocket and give your pup this time as your time together.
-Some people work in their home and think…well I’m home with them all day. When we work from our home we are very focused on completing our work. We are on our computers or talking on the phone, we are not generally giving our attention to our pet even if we are there in body. It is important that you still take a few minutes to truly connect with them. That might mean taking a 5-10-minute break to sit on the floor and play with the ball or just give your cat or pup belly rubs.
-Do you talk to your pet? They are listening. You might think I am just saying this because I am that crazy lady that talks to my own dog….maybe. But there is some real research that says it matters. A new study from the University of Sussex found that dogs process speech they recognize in a similar manner to humans, meaning that sounds they recognize are processed in their brain’s left hemisphere, while other sounds or unusual noises are processed in the right hemisphere. Because of the way the brain is “wired”, dogs will move their head to the opposite side of the side that’s doing the processing. Having speech and sound processed differently by the brain’s two hemispheres is very similar to how humans process speech. According to the university, this means that dogs are paying attention to how we say things, who is talking and what we’re saying.
These simple things are good for you too. Living in the moment and being present gives your mind and body a break that we all need.
In summary, just remember we have a big world with lots of moving parts that we live in each day. Your cat or dog’s world is not as big; their life is centered around you and what interaction they get to have with you. They give us their 100% the instant we ask for it, so it is the least we can do to take a little bit of time that is just for them.
Do you make special time each day for your pet?