Sometimes it’s good for your health to just stop and rest.  Our five and a-half year old Doberman Skye taught me this lesson yesterday.

She got up and ate breakfast as usual, but once she lay down for her morning siesta she refused to get up, even when coaxed with the offer of a treat.  Her hanging head, droopy eyes and low energy were uncharacteristic.  She also felt warm and a bit clammy.  Both my husband and I were concerned so I scheduled an appointment with the veterinarian.

Throughout the day her lethargy increased and she became more resistant to getting up from her bed.  When I lay next to her, gently petting and loving her, she just looked up with her sad eyes and then looked away.  Once up, she hesitated and went slowly but didn’t show signs of significant injury.

I had to drag her off the bed when it was time  for her appointment.  She hung her head and followed me outside but refused to climb into the car.  She got her front feet onto the floor behind the driver’s seat,  then stopped and looked at me.  I lifted her rear end and boosted her up onto the seat.  She pulled her front legs up on her own and collapsed in a heap tucking her nose and curling up—gazing at me with gloomy eyes.

The vet took her temperature, manually examined her belly, legs, mouth and other parts for problems.  “It’s a mystery.  We can run blood tests or x-ray her insides to make sure nothing’s wrong, but I’m not sure that’s necessary.  I’d wait and see how she is tomorrow.”

The rest of the day and evening she maintained her refusal to move for anything other than food, but her mood and energy brightened a bit.

This morning she’s back to her old frisky self — dancing around the kitchen in celebration of breakfast and tussling with our other dog Grace.

Skye was listening to her body yesterday.  She knew she needed to stop and she did.  One day of deep rest and she’s back to normal.

I tend to delay stopping as long as possible.  Like my group member Monica who tried to come back from a sprained ankle too quickly and ended up in recovery for over a year, I often refuse to stop moving even when my instinct tells me it’s in my own best interest.

We live in a world that highly values productivity, busyness and activity. The women I work with are often over-achievers.  They’ve succeeded by adapting to a culturally sanctioned too-busy lifestyle.  But at some point it’s stopped working for them.  Their health, relationships and sometimes even their work performance begin to suffer—usually in that order.

I teach them what I’m still learning myself.  And they teach me through their examples of both success and failure.  We’re learning together lessons that dogs and children know instinctively: stop and rest when you’re tired, ask for help when you need a boost, and dance when you’re happy!

May we all be more connected to our natural instincts to stop for rest, to ask for help, and to dance!