Photo by Angela Kirk” Daring to set boundaries is about having the courage to love ourselves even when we risk disappointing others.”

— Brene Brown

Home Sick

After two weeks of Doc and I being on vacation, we have finally returned to our normal routine and I for one am glad. When Doc and I came home from the lake, I didn’t realize that after a few days that she was going back for a second time and leaving me behind. The first I knew about the plan was when she packed up the car and took me over to the veterinarians office to be boarded there. You would have thought she would have discussed it with me before hand to at least prepare me. I am not just a piece of luggage you can just drop off anywhere, anytime. If I sound perturbed, it’s because I am and let me tell you the rest of the story so that you understand.

After Doc left I felt a little anxious and then to make matters worse they placed me in a kennel across from a very vocal beagle that would not be quiet. Even after I gave him the stink eye, he kept up his barking, howling and whining all day and all night. At first I tried to go with the flow but after a few days went by I started to ruminate and wondered if Doc was ever coming back. She had never left me so suddenly before and why hadn’t she taken me with her? The more I thought about it, the more I fretted and then became frightened. What if I became an orphan and had to live on my own? After a day of worry my stomach began to hurt, then I stopped eating and I even threw up.  Between my stomach and that loud mouth beagle I didn’t get any rest at all. What was I going to do?

Then just as suddenly as she left, Doc shows up to take me home all smiles, like nothing had happened. If I wouldn’t have been so relieved to see her I would have given her the silent treatment. The veterinarian told Doc that I worried myself sick and then they gave me a darn shot right in the behind to stop my nausea. Doc gave me a big hug and asked me why I was so worried. ” Grover, have I ever left you and not come back to get you?” she said with concern in her voice. ” No, I responded, but I just don’t like being away from you and thought you might not come back.” ” Oh Grover, she said, I promised you when you were just a puppy that I would always take care of you, never forget that.

When we finally got home I thought about what she had said but just to be on the safe side, I have been sticking to Doc like glue so she won’t escape without my noticing.

Photo by Angela Kirk“It’s not the load that breaks you down, it’s the way you carry it.”

— Lou Holtz

Leave Fear Behind

Photo by Angela Kirk

Recently Doc and I took a trip to the lake for a few days to rest and reflect. Last year was my first trip to Lake Erie and when Doc took me down to the water’s edge I became frightened by how much water there was, the noise of the waves hitting the rocks and all the birds flying so close as they were diving for fish. But after a day of being around the water and with Doc’s encouragement, I started to like it and even put my paws in the water as we walked along the beach.  As I looked out over the water today I started to think about all I would have missed if I would have let my fear keep me from having a new experience that I now love. So my question to you my gentile readers is this; How is fear holding you back from living your life to the fullest?

It’s easy to get trapped doing the same old thing every day because it feels familiar and safe, even when you wish you had the courage to do something different. Staying stuck in fear keeps us walled off from all the possibilities of living a life to the fullest. Sometimes you just have to move forward even if you are afraid. Doc often tells me that after she has done something that she was afraid of that she finds it was never as bad as she had conjured up in her mind.  She’s right and personally I would rather face whatever I am afraid of than get to the end of my life and have regrets over what could have been. I think the lyrics to the song Already Gone by the Eagles says it the best; “So often time it happens that we live our lives in chains and we never even know we have the key.”

 

Photo by Angela Kirk” Every once in a while a dog enters your life and changes everything.”

— Anonymous

Oh the Drama!

Photo by Angela Kirk

Wayne Dyer once said  “Conflict cannot survive without your participation.” No truer words have been spoken. Now let me tell you about some drama that Doc and I almost got pulled in to the middle of.

Of course the problem started with the humans and then we dogs being loyal to our masters felt the need to step forward and back them up. Some neighbors were arguing over goodness knows what as Doc and I were taking a walk down the street. The kids and the dogs were front and center all eyes and ears watching and learning how adults handle conflict. From my view it didn’t look like it was going very well. Lots of yelling and thankfully nothing physical, but no one was really listening to one another. As we got closer I looked up at Doc to see what she would do, ready to jump into action if needed. I noticed the arguing got louder after they saw us, trying to pull us into the fracas. I watched as she assessed the situation and then to my surprise she just kept walking. As I kept trying to strain my neck to see what was going on Doc looked down at me and said ” Mind your own bees-wax Grover, keep walking.”

Upset that she had corrected me, when we got further down the street I asked her why she didn’t intervene. ” After all, aren’t you the queen of conflict resolution?” I ask with a snarky tone in my voice.  ” Not every conflict is our conflict to resolve Grover” she said calmly as she went on to explain, ” If someone was being physically harmed or in danger I would have made a different decision, but that was their battle to figure out and resolve. Often the more people that get involved, the more a situation can escalate.”

And you know what? When we returned from our long walk two of the neighbors were talking things out calmly and the other one had walked away. The children and the dogs were back to playing with each other like nothing had happened.

Another important life lesson…sometimes it’s better to stay out of the drama and hopefully the parties involved will work toward a peaceful resolution, forgive, forget and move on without any help from me.

Photo by Angela Kirk” Those who teach the most about humanity aren’t always human.”

— Donald L. Hicks

With Liberty and Justice For Dogs.

Photo by Angela Kirk

Since tomorrow is the 243 birthday of the United States, I decided to brush up on my United States history by reading the Declaration of Independence. On July 4, 1776 the Continental Congress declared that the thirteen colonies of America were no longer subject to British rule and were now free and united.  ” We hold these truths to be self-evident that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”  After some reflection I couldn’t help thinking that Doc treats me a lot like the king of England had treated his subjects and decided it was time for a revolution. My mistake was bringing that to her attention.

Wandering into her office I found her lost in thought about a patient she had just seen and I asked her if I could have a minute of her time. “Sure Grover, what’s on your mind?” she asked with a smile. ” Well Doc, I have been reading the Declaration of Independence in preparation for tomorrows holiday and I wanted to let you know that according to this document that you are violating some of my rights. I think that it is time to follow the forefathers of this country and dissolve the political bands that have connected us. Further more it is my right as a dog to abolish the current form of oppressive government you have me living under and institute a new government to protect my safety and happiness.”  Without even hesitating she said ” Ok that’s fine.”.  I have to admit I was a little startled by her blase response and then she said, ” You know that means you will have to set up your own government, provide for yourself, live somewhere else, buy your own food, and pay your own bills don’t you?”

I sat there is silence for a moment and said, “Well I guess I never thought it all the way through Doc.” ” How about a compromise? she asked. You tell me the changes you would like to see and we will come up with a plan. That’s how democracy is supposed to work she said. Remember Grover, it’s always important to tell me how you are feeling. I am not a mind reader you know. Now let’s go home and get ready for our 4th of July cook out.” And with that my little revolution ended before it even got started.

Happy Independence Day!

 

Photo by Angela Kirk” Solutions are not found pointing fingers they are reached by extending hands.”

— Aysha Taryam

Just Chillaxing

Photo by Angela Kirk

Lets face it, we all have busy and sometimes stressful lives. Luckily Doc knows the importance of relaxing and having a good time. You can often hear her preach on the importance of having balance in your life. So that is just what we did on Saturday night, Doc practiced what she preached by taking me to see a jazz concert at the outdoor amphitheater in the park.

It was a perfect summer night. No humidity and not a cloud in the sky. Doc placed her folding chair on the hill as I laid in the cool grass beside her. As we were listening I could feel the stress leave my body. What does a dog have to be stressed about you may ask?  Plenty. Doc had me doing some chores in the morning like going with her to the pet store and getting the car washed. The car wash always freaks me out. Too much water and too many spider-like things rubbing all over the car. Then there is the left over stress from the work week as I do have a job trying to make people feel better. So like the kids say it was time to chillax.

It’s easy to get frazzled from too much worry, overwork, and lack of self-care. Sometimes it sneaks up on us without us even realizing it and hits us right between the eyes. The father of Stress Management, Hans Selye explained that stress causes wear and tear on the body. That’s why we get sick and fatigued. When we get out of balance, out body keeps count.

So what ‘s a person to do? Prevention is the key. Doc said she had to learn the hard way in her youth and suffered the consequences of getting burnt out. Now she makes sure she manages her stress ever day by doing at least one thing a day that she looks forward to, we both get plenty of sleep, don’t over schedule ourselves, stay away from junk food and my favorite, taking a daily walk. Self care needs to be your #1 priority. You can’t function or help others if you are exhausted. It really is ok to have some fun in your life, you deserve it.