When my dog Boomer turned ten years of age in 2008, we made a deal.
Negotiations were tough but fair. We both had demands; we both made concessions. It was all about finding common ground, focusing on the things we agreed on, our similarities rather than our differences.
When it was all over, a deal was struck between myself and the golden mutt I’d raised since he was a six-month-old puppy.
The deal was rather simple: Been together ten years, so far. Another five years, then we’ll re-access and re-up our relationship, providing, of course, we can come to terms again.
Most likely, those future negotiations will once again focus on the type of food I feed him (mine vs. his), the amount of treats he gets, and the number of times “it’s playtime!”
Those are the things that cause our differences of opinion and therefore, stress in our relationship. Mind you, that stress in minimal, compared to the rest of our lives; but the experts say: communication is the most crucial thing in a relationship.
Which is exactly why we came up with the five-year plan. It helps us know where we’re going, where we’ve been, and best of all, it helps us realize: although we may not be around one another forever, we’ve still got a few more years together, as long as we stick to the plan.