Ella helps me with some yoga.

I just went on the most glorious walk with Ella. Lots of warm weather here in Southern California, today is currently 73˚ with a slight breeze. Sorry to rub it in, but I can’t help but breathe in the air and be grateful to live here! Even if I did just inhale some smog too. Its crazy for me to think that Ella has only been with me for five months when I see the progress she has made. Our first walks consisted of pulling (the entire time) and lunging at everything in sight. Today, we walked passed other dogs, people eating outside, and people in general without lunging! So proud =D

Ella reminds me that we can all make profound changes in our lives with just a little patience and understanding. If you had asked me in October if I ever thought she could walk by my side, I would have told you that you were crazy. Yes, she still pulls when she sees a squirrel or we walk with her BFFL Josie, but the majority of the time she is pretty well behaved.

In fact, just last week she passed her AKC Canine Good Citizen® (CGC) test! I like to think of it as college level obedience, as it includes walking on a loose leash, coming when called, supervised separation, not reacting to other dogs, sitting for petting and some other stuff. We have our Therapy Dogs International test a week from Thursday, which adds upon the skills required for the CGC test. She’s not nervous, as she has no idea what is happening, but I hope I can pull it together so we can pass!

But back to what our canine companions can teach us – the art of patience, practice, and living in the moment. It has helped to shape Ella into the most loving and cuddly friend a girl could ever ask for, and I hope she appreciates all the love too!

So the next time you try to get down on yourself for something you can or cannot do, remind yourself that as humans, we are completely plastic. We have the ability to change ourselves in any way – our outward physical appearance, our physical health, or even just how we hold ourselves. All it takes is some dedication…