Mindfulness and Man's Best Friend

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As Rolo and I walked along the sidewalk on a brisk fall morning, I couldn't help but smile when I looked at his curly tail, swaying back and forth like a metronome with each step. His cream-colored ears with shades of black gently flopped up and down in perfect rhythm with his gait, and he kept his head up, taking in the sights and smells all around us. As we continued, I saw a flock of birds flying overhead. The sun was cutting through the clouds, and I noticed an amber glow on the white underbellies of the birds. Birds had flown overhead before, but before today I had never paused to appreciate the colors and contours of their bodies.

Rolo is my pet Havanese dog, now two years old. Because of Rolo, I wake up every morning and step outside to witness the day unfold. I hear the rustle of wind through the leaves of trees and birds chirping and walk outside homes wafting the smell of bacon cooking for breakfast.

Because of Rolo, I am learning to pause as he does when he is sniffing and slow down and enjoy the moment before me without rushing it or judging it or changing it, but simply being part of it.

Because of Rolo, I put away my cell phone for 30 minutes every day and learn that there are beautiful trees of many varieties right here in my own neighborhood that I never appreciated before.

As a physician, I am always interested in new discoveries in health and medicine. Increasingly, we are realizing the importance of the intricate dance between mind and body and how they rely on each other for optimal performance. There is a growing body of evidence on the importance of mindfulness. Being present in the moment, accepting the moment as it is and being fully engaged in it offer real benefits for emotional and physical health.


Mindfulness is effortless for Rolo as it is for all dogs. One day, it may come naturally to me, thanks to Rolo.

As Rolo and I finish up our morning walk, I open the door to our house and he pounces up the stairs, eager to see my wife and two daughters. I squat down, give him a pat on the head, look into his eyes that look like pools of caramel, and say "Thank you."

With a Perspective, I'm Navneet Singh.

Navneet Singh is a pediatrician practicing in West San Jose.