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Monday, February 20, 2012

Ask What You Can Do

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The AKC Canine Good Citizen (CGC) Test is open to any dog. There is no age limit. Although your dog does not have to attend any obedience course, he or she must pass all the components of the test. Attending a course that is geared to passing the test is helpfulBefore taking the Canine Good Citizen test, owners sign the Responsible Dog Owners pledge. AKC believes that responsible dog ownership is a key part of the CGC concept. By signing the pledge, owners agree to take care of their dog's health needs, safety, exercise, training and quality of life. Owners also agree to show responsibility by doing things such as cleaning up after their dogs in public places and never letting dogs infringe on the rights of others. I believe every animal shelter needs to require people to sign a responsible pet ownership pledge during each animal adoption.

I used to think that my big sister was bossy and mean. She is an Alpha with a strong personality that intimidates people like me. I didn’t get along with my older sister because she is very demanding and I couldn’t say no to her. As a child, I was afraid to incur her wrath if I didn’t do what she wanted me to do. This pattern was set by age eight. I let this be me, so our relationship was full of conflict and wasn’t good at all. I thought she was a bully. I was half right because she is a natural leader, but I was also wrong because she has the biggest heart. I know she loves me and just shows up as being bossy and hot tempered because she expects the best of me. She gets impatient when I don’t perform to her standards. My sister used to yell at me and call me names that made me feel stupid. My way of coping with her was to retreat into my invisible fortress and protect my feelings from the hurt. I had to survive, so I created a façade of being agreeable and low-key.  That wasn’t the real me. I wasn’t being authentic with her, with my family or with myself. I blamed her for bullying me when we were young, but didn’t take responsibility for my own weakness (the need to please other people is one of my innate traits). 

We tend to be inconsiderate in our words and actions. When we make a mess, we avoid cleaning things up. Do you tend to act or speak without thinking about the effect of your actions and words? Have you regretted the things you've done or said, even apologized for them only to repeat the same mistakes? Consider that this is a bad habit that you have. I am aware of this pattern in me and it keeps me from having good relationships with my family and the people I care about. I believe that when every one becomes a good citizen, show responsibility by doing things like focusing on the greater good, taking care of their health, their families and the environment, then the world will be transformed. "Ask not what your country can do for you - ask what you can do for your country." President John F. Kennedy continues to inspire me to collaborate. "The world is very different now. For man holds in his mortal hands the power to abolish all forms of human poverty and all forms of human life." I am committed to my dream and to being a leader now because if not me, who? If not now, when?

"All this will not be finished in the first 100 days. Nor will it be finished in the first 1,000 days, nor in the life of this Administration, nor even perhaps in our lifetime on this planet. But let us begin." JFK said.  I hope the President Obama will follow in the footsteps of John F. Kennedy to inspire America to work together for the highest good of all. I ask that you join me and be a change-maker.

Ingrid Cheng
Author of Dream: Creating a Better World

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