There’s a Hole in My Bucket

Photo by Angela Kirk

Human’s like to talk about self-esteem. I am not quite sure what that really is, but they discuss  it in terms of it being either high or low. When I asked Doc about it, she told me the easiest way to describe it is to think about a big bucket with holes in it. She said the bucket represents your ego and the holes represent the emotional wounds that occur in your life. “Some people have more holes in their bucket, some people have less.” she said. “People then go through life trying to fill up those holes by engaging in different things to make themselves feel better. The problem is that the things they do or the people they choose to be around are not always the healthiest ways to fill those bucket holes.

After giving that some though I asked? ” Well why would they pick those unhealthy things or people if it’s not good for them?” She became very quiet and then she responded. ” Come over here and lay beside me Grover, this may take a while to explain.”

“Grover, remember when you were being bullied by the cat down the street and some of the dogs made fun of you because you were scared? ” she asked. “Well you came right home and told me about it because it also hurt your feelings and you didn’t like the dogs in the neighborhood calling you a big baby.”  Yes I remember,” I said.  ” You told me I had a choice about how I could handle it and that being afraid is nothing to be ashamed of because everybody is afraid sometimes.” ” That’s right! she said, and in the end you decided to confront your fear and now you are friends with that cat. Instead you could have chosen to say mean things about that cat to everyone in the neighborhood just to make yourself feel better.”

Then I asked Doc what I had been curious about all along, ” So what kind of things do humans do to fill up their holes?” “Well that’s a long list, she said, but the most important thing you need to know is this, the only way you can patch up those holes in your bucket permanently is to work on fixing the problem. People often make the mistake of thinking that if they change things on the outside, everything will get better. It may make them feel better for a minute, but it never lasts. If you remember  this one thing you will always come out on top….patching up those holes in your bucket is always an inside job.”

Doc left me with a lot to think about.  So, I did what I always do when my brain is overloaded with thoughts.  I fell right to sleep.

 

 

Photo by Angela Kirk “When we fail to set boundaries and hold people accountable, we feel used and mistreated.”

— Brene' Brown

Doggie Makeover

Photo by Angela Kirk

Today I decided that I was going to make some big improvements in my life. This revelation occurred to me after watching all those infomercials in the middle of the night. Sometimes I  find myself so fascinated by the multiple ways I can improve my face, body, love life, finances and psychic awareness that it is hard to turn off the TV and go back to sleep. Being bombarded with all those images of change, it got me thinking that I could do a doggie makeover and not only feel better about myself, but that others would find me more attractive. As there is no time like the present, I decided to get started.

In order to keep myself focused, I made a list of the things I would like to change.  After “borrowing” Doc’s credit card, I placed my orders on-line. Thank goodness for same day shipping. The orders started arriving that afternoon.

For the next few weeks, I stayed busy focusing on my make-over, keeping it all a secret from Doc. I read books on how to Think and Grow Rich and Dating for DummiesI put on wrinkle cream that promised to make me look ten years younger. I even consulted on having a “Quick Lift” but they said they didn’t do them on dogs. I told them that was discrimination and left the office in a huff, but not before I marked my territory on an office chair.

I was starting to get exhausted from all the work outs and changes, but I forged ahead. Some of my friends told me I was becoming so high maintenance that I didn’t have time for them any more. Thinking they did not support my dream or were somehow just jealous of me, I ignored them.

The last day of my makeover, while Doc was away, I completed the final two steps. First, I called The Psychic Hot-Line about my future. After charging over $100 to Doc’s credit card, they told me my life was in line with the planets, whatever that means. Then a dog hair designer came to the house and changed my hair style to match my vision of looking more like a poodle.

Doc walked in the door just after the hair designer left. The look on her face was mixed with shock and amusement, not what I was expecting. “Grover, What have you done to yourself?” she said loudly. After telling her about the make-over and confessing to using her credit card to pay for it all she asked, ” Why did you think you needed to change?” I then looked her in the eye and told her I must have gotten caught up in the hype of all those infomercials. ” They all made me feel like I wasn’t good enough.” I told her. ” That’s what they want you to feel, so you’ll buy their crap. You are loved, because you are perfect just the way you are she said, and don’t ever forget that.”

In case you thought Doc wasn’t going to make me pay back the money I charged to her credit card you were wrong. I had a lot of time to think about the whole makeover thing while I was doing the list of chores she gave me to work off the money I spent. And what did I learn from all of this? I decided to stop worrying about changing myself and focusing on loving who I already am. Not a bad life lesson for this dog.

Photo by Angela Kirk ” Beware that when fighting  monsters, you yourself do not become a monster.”

— Nietzsche

Dear Grover

We have not checked the mail in a very long-time, so let’s see what questions you have for this canine.

Dear Grover,

Does it ever bother you that you cannot compete in events like Westminster or The National Dog Show because you are considered a mutt? It bothers me sometimes. What do you think Grover?

-Bailey

Dear Bailey,

The reality is that all canines are mutts. Dogs are mixes of different canine ancestors of all types. Just check their DNA. Now that being said, purebreds are classified as such based on the precise record keeping of their lineage. Not so for regular mutts. No telling who their baby daddy might have been. So there you have it.

In answer to your question about not being able to compete in Westminster or the National Dog Show, I could care less. Bailey, do you really need to compete and win a dog show to know how much you are love and appreciated? Just look into your humans eyes and you will know how special you are.

Take care,

Grover

 

Dear Grover,

I know humans think puppies are cute, but they aren’t. Two puppies have moved into my neighborhood and they are annoying me. I am six years old and they interrupt my naps wanting to play all the time. They even have the nerve to steal my toys and nip at me. I try to be patient, but this is getting old and if I try to correct them, the humans get mad and tell me to remember they are just babies. What can I do Grover?

– Sunny

 

Dear Sunny,

With a dog name like Sunny, I would think you would have a less-grouchy disposition, but you didn’t write me to discuss that, so here goes.

First of all remember that puppy-hood goes by fairly quickly, so eventually they will grow out of their wild behavior. Until then, I would suggest you setting aside some play time every day with them so they know what to expect. It’s all about setting boundaries with these youngsters. They will also learn to respect you as the top dog that you are. Remember when your mom use to correct you when you were just a runt?  Also, I would let them play with your toys. Didn’t your mom teach you to share? They might get so busy playing with your stuff that they will leave you alone.There is a 11 month old puppy that lives next door to me and he has become one of my best friends.

So Sunny, be open to new experiences, its good to get out of your rut every once in a while. You’re an old dog and the youngsters might teach you some new tricks. LOL!

Keep smiling,

Grover

 

Photo by Angela Kirk ” Before you can break out of prison, you must realize you are locked up.”

— Healthyplace.com

Honoring the Good in Others

 On Saturday, we laid one of our first ladies of the United States, Barbara Bush to rest after 92 years on this earth. Her friend and presidential historian Jon Meacham described her as “candid and comforting.”  Others remembered her as a loving wife and mother with a quick-witted sense of humor that lived life with purpose and meaning. As first lady she promoted literacy and brought awareness to AIDS at a time when those with the disease were being scorned by society.

Although many positive tributes were made, Doc and I were shocked to see some of the nasty remarks made about Mrs. Bush on-line and in the news. They brought up mistakes and statements she made in the past, calling her an awful person. This appears to be a growing trend in the age of social media not just toward celebrities, but with perfect strangers on-line. People have the ability to lash out and bully anyone they want from the comfort of their own home.

It saddens me that humans have come to a place in life that others are judged and called names based on personal beliefs about perfection. The bottom line is no one is perfect. Doc told me long ago that we are all multi-layered with both flaws and goodness.  What would it be like if we honored and praised the goodness in others and then listened and talked about the things we disagree with?

Mrs. Bush once said; ” If human beings are perceived as potentials rather than problems, as possessing strengths instead of weakness, as unlimited rather than dull and unresponsive, then they thrive and grow to their own capabilities.”

Photo by Angela Kirk ” The very best thing about dogs is how they just know when you need them most, and they’ll drop everything that they’re doing to sit with you awhile.”

— Steven Rowley

The Power of Letting Go

It is often said that in order for you to move forward, you must let go of the things that are holding you back. Human’s have many things that create barriers in their lives. These can include negative feelings, grudges against others, not being able to admit mistakes, defining who you are by your possessions, judging others and well, you get the idea. The great thing about being part of the animal kingdom is that we don’t have to struggle with any of those things. We have no ego, so we move on easily. In knowing that, we are sometimes called upon to assist humans in letting go of their burdens. And that is just what Doc, the horses and the other equine specialists did the other day.

The horses were already in the arena. The group members gathered and were then given the task to think of one word that represents what is keeping them stuck in their lives that they need to release. After being handed non toxic glitter markers, they were asked to write that word on the side of one of the horses. Quietly each group member wrote their word. Some of the words written were: fear, anger, loss, being scared of change, and pain. As part of the exercise, the horses would then be released into the field as a metaphor for letting go.

As the time came to open the gate and release the horses, something strange happened. The horses did not want to leave even though the gate was fully open. But isn’t that the way life is sometimes? You think you are ready to let go and move on, but you stay stuck because it feels familiar?

Just as we thought the horses would never leave the arena,  something wonderful happened. One by one the group members coaxed the horses out into the field. Watching the two horses from a distance as they gazed out across the field, you could get a sense that they felt peaceful being released back into nature.

” Be strong enough to let go and patient enough to wait for what you deserve.” Anonymous

 

Photo by Angela Kirk” The quieter you become, the more you can hear.”

— Ram Dass