My dog is a five-year-old boxer named Indiana. Indy has been through a lot and is always teaching me lessons, for which I’m grateful.

Today as I sit here, I realize that Indy is teaching me about self-care. Interesting because it seems that during each and every session with any client, be it Reiki or life coaching, grief coaching or anything else,  we always spend some time chatting about the importance of self-care.

A few days ago the boxer-mix that we had been fostering went to live with his new family. Duke appears amazingly happy and I’m grateful for this. While Duke has lived with us for the past few months, Indy has adjusted and made room for him to be a part of our pack.

Way to go Indy!

They would lie on either side of me to get their Reiki nearly every night, each knew just what position the other would occupy when we went on walks and they quickly fell into a mealtime routine that was easy for Duke.

Indy made all of these adjustments with a no muss, no fuss attitude. He just seemed to know what needed to happen, he followed his instinct.

Now Duke is not here. Indy is adjusting again. I think he’s missing his buddy a little bit and feeling as though he needs a little more of my attention. He’s generally telling me this in gentle ways. Coming to sit on my feet or curling next to me on the couch (generally a big no-no).

He’s also finding ways that are not quite so subtle. Stealing food from a countertop, something he’s never done before. Doing a little bit of digging in a great big plant, again something he has never done before, not even when he was a pup.

Indy is taking care of himself by letting me know in as clear a manner as possible that he needs a bit more attention from me right now.

And he’ll get that attention. His ways of asking may seem naughty, but let’s face it, he has limited options for communicating with me. I don’t understand the subtle body language of my canine friend as well as I would like and good behavior is expected and easily dismissed. So, he has resorted to a bit of misbehavior.

Perfectly understandable.

No, Indy is not being scolded or reprimanded in any way. I didn’t catch him breaking the rules, simply discovered the results. What he is getting is more cuddle time. More walking, cuddling, training, Reiki time, just more of my attention in whatever way feels right at the time.

More time focused on Indiana and taking care of his needs. It’s always a delight to do these things and I really appreciate that Indiana has reminded me of the need to spend more time together.

I have deep admiration, respect, and appreciation for my pal Indy. He Indy knows what he needs and is doing his best to communicate these needs to me. He’s clearly feeling a bit sad and lonely and he knows that spending time with me doing the activities that he likes best will make him feel better. Indy knows himself and he is taking care of himself to the very best of his ability.

Taking a page from the Training Book of Indy, I will always encourage others to take the time to focus on their own needs.

Are these needs being met? Are your needs being met? If not, how can that be remedied?

Consider taking a little bit of time to listen to your heart and soul, it always tells us what we need to know. I encourage you to then find a way to express or meet those needs. It’s different for all of us, and that’s okay.

For me, Reiki helps an awful lot, yard work, walking. For my husband it’s exercise, for Indiana, it’s a combination of Reiki, exercise, and companionship.

What works for you?

This week, I’d like to thank my buddy for sharing his wants and needs with me. I’m honored to be able to be part of his life and I’m grateful that he’s willing to continue teaching me.


Master Grief Coach
Master Grief Coach Trainer