Recent Posts by Grover

A Lesson in Tolerance

My friend Norman stopped by the other day to spend some quality time together. We played and hung out but he started getting on my last nerve when he was trying to get Doc’s attention every time she came into the room. After all, she is my human mother and he has his own family that will pay attention to him. I noticed he was using his cuteness to get Doc’s attention. I don’t want to accuse him of being manipulative but you know how the saying goes “If it quacks like a duck…”

After Norman left I decided to have a conversation with Doc about how I was feeling. She sat quietly and listened as I went on and on about how I wasn’t happy about Norman’s behavior.  When I was finished Doc  looked at me and said, ” psychiatrist Carl Jung once opined that everything that irritates us about others can lead us to an understanding of ourselves.” ” What are you saying? ‘ I asked Doc. ” When some other human or dog’s behavior irritates you, use it as a mirror. Maybe you are judging Norman so you don’t have to look at your own insecurities, anxiety or whatever it is that you are really feeling. Only you can figure that out by being honest with yourself” she said as she walked out of the room.

Doc may be right, but I hate it when she points things out and then I have to go and think about it. After some reflection I realized that I was jealous of poor little Norman and the attention Doc was giving him. It just stirred up my insecurities and fear that Doc would end up loving another dog and replace me. I know that’s not even close to true because I know Doc has enough love for many animals and that I am always her #1 but that’s what fears often are, irrational thoughts.

Later in the day I went back to Doc and told her I had figured it all out. “When I learn to understand and accept myself including all my flaws and feelings it will also help me to tolerate and allow others to be themselves too” I told her with a smile. “Grover, she said, you are one smart puppy!”

Photo by Angela Kirk” Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time.”

— Thomas Edison

Learning to Draw a Line in the Sand

Photo by Angela Kirk

Isn’t it always easier to complain about how others treat you instead of looking at why you allow it? From this dog’s observation I do believe that we need to own our lack of boundaries in certain situations and how it contributes to the problem. We really do teach other what we will tolerate by how we respond.

I have to admit that even I don’t confront things directly at times. For example, there is a dog in the back alley where I work that tries to act like a tough guy by barking and growling at me from behind a six-foot chain link fence. Now I don’t really have anything against this poor beagle mix, but for years he’s raised a big stink every time Doc and I walk by.  Well lets just say he’s annoying. And how do I respond? I pick up my hind leg and pee on the corner of the fence as high as I can. Marking my territory is equivalent to a human’s nasty hand gesture if you know what I mean. Doc tells me in her psychobabble language that I am acting passive aggressive and that I should just tell the poor dog how I feel and be done with it, but I have yet to evolve to that emotional level.

In spite of my lack of maturity I am lucky to have Doc to consult with to help you. So here are some helpful hints she passed along: First you need to start being aware of the people in your life that are vampires ( those that suck the life out of you) and figure out what boundaries you are allowing them to cross. If someone in your life is very toxic it may be time to move on from that relationship. Second, whenever someone asks you to do something, before responding really examine if this is something you want to do. If you don’t say no. The world won’t end if you decline and you will be honoring how you really feel. 3. Communicate in a calm and respectful manner how you are feeling when a person crosses one of your boundaries. The other person may not even realize that you don’t like their behavior because you never said anything. Doc also wanted me to add that it is important to stay safe by trusting your judgement. If you think someone could become abusive toward you, ask for help from a professional.

As an adult you get to decide how you allow others to treat you. Have enough respect for yourself that you learn to protect your time and emotions.

Photo by Angela Kirk“Stop asking why they keep doing it and start asking why you keep allowing it.”

— Anonymous

The Butterfly Effect

Photo by Angela Kirk

The other day when Doc and I were out at the horse farm, one of the patients found a butterfly in the corner of the barn that was lifeless. The patient was taken by how the beauty of the butterfly and carefully brought it to Doc to watch over until it was time to leave. Gazing upon this beautiful creation made me think about how the butterfly symbolizes change and self-transformation. It is such a metaphor for our own lives if we look closely enough.

Often I hear people say that they don’t like change, but like it or not it is part of our personal evolution. Some change is forced on us and some we choose. We can fight against it or see it as a way of letting go of the old to make way for the new. When struggling with change I often ask myself what the change truly represents in my life and how I can use the experience to grow stronger.

Like the butterfly as we move through our cycles of life, we must trust in our ability to weather anything that we encounter, knowing that with courage and patience we will once again emerge with beautiful wings and fly.

Photo by Angela Kirk” Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than the ones you did do.”

— Mark Twain

Field of Heroes

Photo by Angela Kirk

Every Memorial Day weekend in the town where Doc and I live, 3,000 8-foot tall flags are displayed in perfect row’s to honor our heroes.  It’s a visual reminder of what Memorial Day is all about. This years theme was Welcome Home, commemorating the time when soldiers are reunited with their families.

Doc and I went during the peace of the early morning to take in the grand display. There was still dew on the grass as we made our way across the field between the rows of flags gently blowing in the breeze.  There was a respectful silence among those we encountered as everyone processed the event. Walking among the flags I felt a sense of gratitude to all the men and women that have and continue to protect our freedom’s. Along with the flags, there was also a display that honored the first responders that have died in the line of duty.

Some of the soldiers we honored happen to be in our family. Doc’s father served in the Army and most recently her nephew served in Iraq and Afghanistan. Luckily both of them came back home and their experiences left them and our family looking at the world and life in a different way.

At times it’s easy to forget that no one gets through this world alone. There are many people who help and support us along the way. Some of them we know like family, teachers and mentors.  Some we will never meet like those that serve to keep us safe, enabling us to pursue our dreams. Memorial Day helps us to take the time to pause and remember those that sacrifice for others.

 

Photo by Angela Kirk” A kind gesture can reach a wound that only compassion can heal.”

— Steve Maraboli

Snake!

Photo by Angela Kirk

Nothing too exciting had happened since last week, until my fiend Norman came over to hang out yesterday afternoon. Since it was a nice spring day, Doc said we should all go outside and enjoy the weather. Norman and I went over to the fence to continue working on the hole we have been digging while Doc worked in the flower bed. All of us were happily communing with nature when Doc called over to us and said ” Come over here and look at this snake!”

Now I don’t have any personal experience with snakes, but my observation of most humans is that they run the other way. That was not the case with Doc, she gingerly moved back the leaves so she could get closer and take a picture.  ” Look how pretty it is, she said, it’s just a small Garter snake, they are quite timid and won’t bother you if you leave them alone”.  Norman and I looked at each other with concern and then I asked her,  “Then why are most people afraid of snakes? ” “Well there are many reasons, Doc responded. Some psychologists say the fear is hard-wired into the brain, but I think there are other reasons as well.” Like what?” Norman and I asked. ” You two ever hear that term snake in the grass or the tales of snakes being connected to Satan? And there is also the fact that many snakes are venomous.  They bite their prey, it dies and they eat it.” she said in a very matter of fact way. Norman and I looked at each other in horror as we slowly moved away from the slithery reptile.

After that explanation Norman and I asked to go back inside the house away from the snake that was still sunning itself like it was at the beach. Doc followed in right behind us still yakking about those darn snakes. ” You know, snakes are an important part of the environment, without them we would be completely overrun by rodents and pests. They help to keep nature in balance.

When Doc had finally finished her diatribe , I looked over at Norman and quietly said to him ” Why can’t they balance nature in someone else’s yard?”

 

Photo by Angela Kirk” No matter how little money and how few possessions you own, having a dog makes you feel rich.”

— Louis Sabin

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