Aman goes to the village and he ask to speak with the Wiseman. He tells the Wiseman, “I have two dogs inside me. One dog is positive, loving, kind and gentle. The other dog is mean spirited, angry, quick to judge and is always negative.” The man then says, “I do not know which one is going to win.” The Wiseman quickly says, “I do! The dog you feed the most will win. So, feed the positive dog.”

I am a veterinarian. Obviously, I gravitate towards this tale because it is about dogs.

Every day we have the option to wake up and look at the bright side of things. It is our choice to have a positive outlook on life. But to one up the Wiseman’s tale, let me share a life lesson from two of my dearest patients.

“Whistling Dixie” was a black Labrador, who lived life to the fullest. She never got out of the puppy stage and she ate every meal like she had not eaten in days. Dixie was one of my first regular canine blood donors. She donated 3-4 times a year for years. She offered the gift of life and saved many four legged friends. What can we learn from Dixie? Give of yourself to help others without expecting anything in return. She would bound out of the truck, run into the clinic, dance with excitement in the treatment room, give her donation, and then would dance again. Each time she came she had the same attitude of happiness. Whether it is little acts of kindness for a stranger or something a little more significant for a friend, know that helping others without expecting anything in return will improve the quality of your life like nothing else. Take the time to listen to someone who needs to talk, help someone who needs an extra hand, or offer time to a cause that is important—these things matter in life.

Ringo “The Man in the Can”, a weimaraner, was a wise fella. Ringo did not like his feet touched. He was a serious day napper that could convince even the best multitasker to stop and take a little cat nap. I would have to say that Ringo got more happiness from a car ride than anything else. What can we learn from Ringo? Enjoy the journey, unplug, and be flexible.

When Ringo would go for a car ride, he would stick his head out the window (or sun roof), smell the air and feel the wind flap his huge ears from side to side. Ringo never asked, “Where are going?” Ringo never cared where he was going. He was just enjoying the journey. Although goals must be set, we often forget that it’s life’s journey that matters most. When we get too attracted to the outcome, we set ourselves up for frustration or even anger if our exact expectations are not met. Next time you set a goal, be open to other possibilities and be flexible along the ride.

Be kind. Enjoy the ride. Take naps. Unplug (literally put the phone down). Read a magazine. Give of yourself. Donate your time. Be Flexible. Be a good listener. Be loving. Being positive doesn’t just make you better, it makes everyone around you better. Take possession of your mind and remember that what you feed it is what you will attract.

Feed the Positive Dog.