ParentMap, August 2012

 Whoever coined the term “man’s best friend” was certainly onto something. From puppies that win our hearts to equine companions that teach compassion and help kids cope with challenges, animals undoubtedly have some kind of special powers. This month we help you to help your kids navigate the responsibilities of pet ownership and remind you how to put safety first.

It’s summer! And nothing says summer quite like . . . snow, right? We show you how Crystal Mountain glows with a magic all its own in the glorious “off season.”

Plus, you know those people who always seem to be so upbeat? Well optimism happens to be great for our health. And it turns out we can all become those peppy people with 10 simple steps.

So read up, snuggle your pet, breathe in summer's mountain air and be happy!

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Ages & Stages:
0-2 Pets and babies: Why vigilance is vital
3-6 When a pet dies: Helping your child cope
7-11 Whose pet is it, anyway? Getting your kids to walk the walk (and walk the dog)
12-18 Teen volunteers: Enriching animals’ lives, elevating their own

Someone you should know: University of Washington College of Education Dean Tom Stritikus, Ph.D.

Feature: The power of pets: How raising animals creates compassion and builds integrity

Out & About: Crystal Mountain’s off-season magic: Six reasons to love this summer getaway

Giving Together
Green Bites
Mind + Body

About this issue

Bobby, Maya, and Bailey FarfelPuppy love 30 years later
“Pathological optimist” is what a business consultant labeled me years back. This was based upon my overly positive business outlook and unwillingness to concede defeat.

I love the label and feel blessed I was born an optimist. Come on, get happy cites a recent Harvard School of Public Health report corroborating what we intuit: Positive people live healthier lives. Given my inability to commit to consistent exercise, I am counting heavily on positivity.

I love the Harvard report but the list of 10 ways to build a more positive attitude is missing an essential #11: Adopt a pet pooch!

My husband of 30 years (this month!) and I descend from generations of woof-less families. Fill in your foulest expletive in the statement, “We will never own a ______ dog,” and you’re hearing my mate’s decades-old mantra refusing our two elder children’s repeated requests for a puppy.

But our third child filed what we call her “Supreme Court brief” to the high court of dear old dad. She eloquently argued her case, highlighting her father’s negative bias. She beautifully articulated the many positives of canine ownership stated in The Power of pets: lessons in patience, responsibility, tolerance and family exercise.

Our then-9-year-old won her case.

With the zeal of a religious convert, my husband Bobby is now an uproarious caricature of a dog lover. He walks in daily from work, rarely greeting the humanoids first. We smirk at each other, listening to his doggy rasp voice unwrapping a new bone or sharing the woes of his “dog-eat-dog” day. “You people don’t welcome me like Bailey Farfel,” he tells us later. “His ecstatic greeting with his tail wildly wagging and big smiles is irresistible. Do you see how intently he listens while I’m delivering life’s most brilliant insights?”

We all agree a longer life awaits Bailey’s devoted papa; he’s less stressed, laughs and frolics more.

If you’re taking a pass on pets, perhaps you’ll consider bonfires, bikes and s’mores? Crystal Mountain’s off-season magic offers six easy reasons to make this your August adventure. “One of these days we’ll hike the entirety of the Wonderland Trail,” says adventure author Margot Page of the 93-mile trail that circles Rainier. Now that is what I call pathological optimism!

Tom Stritikus, Dean of the UW College of Education is Someone You Should Know. An innovative and collaborative leader who is passionate about excellence and equity for students, he inspires great confidence for the future of education.

Finally, speaking of education, check out School Scoop, our new column that highlights happenings in schools around the Sound.


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