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Recently, some of the “old timers” to this list have written to say they miss the old personal update piece I used to do. I will say that it is hard to write an update week after week, but I realize I’ve been remiss.

Over the past five months, I have been sick, often. I hear that lots of people have been sick this winter and spring, but I find that cold comfort. (no pun intended). The latest bout has lasted four weeks and culminated into full blown pneumonia. Pneumonia is a scary proposition for me because I have very bad antibiotic allergy. Last Friday, I was pretty much at my wits end and went back to the doctor to find something that would help. Luckily it seems to be working now.

The reason I am telling you all this is that as a result of having pneumonia, my team decided I needed a care package—something that would keep me in the house during the long Victoria garden planting weekend. Besides an absolutely amazing jar of chocolate-covered cashews, the care package included a book called Marley and Me. It is about the life of a rogue yellow Lab named Marley.

I read it cover to cover in one day. I laughed (perhaps howled) and cried and did an awful lot of soul searching in the process. . In some ways, I felt like I was reading a story about my dog Daphne, who is extraordinarily beautiful and for lack of a better excuse for her behaviour, mentally disabled. More important, the book helped to realize how much living with something or someone as strong willed as she is has changed my approach to just about every type of situation.

The students who receive this distribution may remember that one of my lectures that I do in the Compensation and Benefits course is entitled, “Everything I Ever Learned About Performance Management, I Learned From My Dog”. Reading Marley and Me reinforced for me how much dogs teach us about life and how to live it.

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