I opened my inbox this morning to this brief, simple message from “The Dog Whisperer,” Cesar Millan, who I first read about in a dozen-page profile in The New Yorker a few years back. Cesar is one of my idols, one of my dream interviews, the man who taught be everything I’ve learned about how to be a master to my sweet mutt Redford, and taught me more than my own family or spiritual faith ever could about working with my own frustration; and learning to be strong without being angry, and learning to be kind without being enabling (idiot compassion, as Buddhists call it).
One of my favorite quotes is from the calm-assertive leader Gandhi: “The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.”
These words are particularly meaningful as we celebrate Be Kind to Animals Month. Every year, the United States celebrates and promotes compassion towards animals big and small. To me, that says a lot about the greatness of this nation!
Your pets – canine and otherwise – benefit from and appreciate the love that you express on a daily basis, but there are thousands of animals at shelters and rescues in need of your kindness. This May, spend some time at a shelter or rescue group. Take a dog for a walk. Volunteer at an adoption event. But when you go, do what’s best for these dogs: leave your feelings of pity and sadness at home. Instead, share the positive, calm-assertive energy of a pack leader. Give these animals a day to remember!
Stay calm and assertive,