“What lesson in life have your dogs taught you?” WAGGLEVIEWS—Dog Owner Interview with Cyma Shapiro

Please read the Waggleview below to find out about this woman leader and her dog. Woof on!

The Dog Owner: Cyma Shapiro is a speaker and the writer/creator of several national midlife mother entities including NURTURE: Stories of New Midlife Mothers (www.Midlife Mothers.org), the first art gallery show dedicated to women choosing motherhood over 40, and blog site, www.MotheringintheMiddle.com, for all-things midlife mothers. A Huffington Post contributor, writer, and speaker, whose work has been featured on NPR and on Psychology Today (online), Cyma is passionate about supporting women who choose later motherhood, and giving them a face, voice, and forum. She is the mother of 9 and 11–year-old children and 28 and 30-year-old stepchildren. She recently published her first book, The Zen of Midlife Mothering.


Cyma Shapiro with dogs

Dog(s) type and Name(s): Sammy, 7 months, Black and Tan Coonhound.  Max, 15+ years, Black Lab/Golden Retriever.

Cyma Shapiro Sammy


Q: Why did you choose these dogs?

C: I chose Max because he was the runt of the litter (#11) – and the only chocolate in a group of black and yellow dogs. I was so attracted to his fortitude – he kept trying to “one-up” his siblings, who thought nothing of stepping on and pushing him out of the way. (I’ve always been attracted to those things which are unique and misfortunate)

We got Sammy ½ year ago, believing Max was about to die. Sammy was my husband’s life-long dream – a black and tan coonhound (and probably his 3rd midlife crisis). I did not want the dog, but I really wanted to make my husband happy.

Q: Do you talk to your dogs? If so, what do you talk about?

C: In truth, I probably yell more than I talk to the dogs.

Q:  If they could talk to you, what would they say?

C: Max would say “love me,” Sammy would say “feed me!”

Q: What lesson in life have your dogs taught you?

C: I used to not like animals, including my own. I think that over time, I’ve grown incredibly compassionate about their lives, feelings and soul-paths. I’ve been able to see that who they are and what they feel matters. I’m happy that I’ve been able to make this connection. I think it means that I’ve developed a much greater compassion for life and the living.

Q: Where is your dog’s favorite place to go with you?

C: Anywhere we are, Max has always been with us. Sammy is too young to have developed a favorite place, yet.

Q: Who or what do your dogs find the most interesting?

C: They are both people-oriented – they love people. Max is a people pleaser; Sammy is a people seeker.

Q: What is the most annoying thing other dog owners do?

C: Let their dogs off the leashes and not pick up poop!

Q: What does being a responsible dog owner mean to you?

C: Someone who has not only a well-trained dog, but holds it accountable for his/her behavior. I’m big on well-trained and well-behaved animals…and children, for that matter.

Q: Do you ever dress up your dogs? If so, as what?

C: Never, I encourage them to be who they are.

Q: How have your dogs changed your life?

C: I think that having a dog was the preliminary run to having our second set of children. I had forgotten the sheer responsibility that having an animal presents. I was annoyed about having to be so beholden to the dog’s timing. It also reminded me that nothing in life comes without responsibility and obligation. In our family, we are big on those attributes.

C: I love my dogs because they both belong here. I fundamentally believe in the concept that all living beings are in right placement and time, for a specific reason.

Cyma Shapiro's Dogs

Our older dog, Max is on his “last legs.” At 15+ years of age, he has been on death’s doorstep a few times. I have been positively bereft whenever this has occurred. I will hate to see him go. He has been an absolutely integral part of our family – first with our older kids, who are now on their own, and with our younger kids, who have only known him to be their family pet. I see the passage of time with the aging of Max.

Both animals were named after my grandfathers – a custom which many Jewish people follow – naming their children after deceased relatives. For that reason, both dogs have touched my heart.


WAGGLEVIEWS: These interviews are focused on woman leaders (and some future leaders) in business, the community, or at home. My hope in doing this is to present remarkable and respected women in their community with their beloved pets. Who can resist reading about dogs and what these women do? This is a platform for women to display their talents; their own business, a new book, a deeply loved passion for a charity or their own job. It also shows their love for their dog!

Thank you Cyma for taking the time to participate in the Waggleview.

Please feel free to comment. How would you answer some of these questions? What answer did Cyma give that made you laugh?

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