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

Sleeping in Doc’s Bed

Photo by Angela Kirk

On Sunday morning, I like to go outside to get the newspaper and bring it in for Doc. This particular morning after spreading it open on the floor, a picture of a cute Border Collie caught my eye in the Healthy Living section. But the headline in bold letters above the picture sent shivers down my spine. ” SHOULD YOUR DOG SLEEP IN YOUR BED?” Now what kind of sick person would even think such a thing let alone write a story about it? What if our humans see this and consider putting the kibosh on nighttime canoodling? Since Doc was still asleep, I decided to do what any dog would do in my position, I hid the paper and then notified the other dogs in the neighborhood..

It wasn’t long before I heard Doc stirring in the other room. I watched closely as she came into the kitchen and starting glancing around for the paper. ” Did you bring in the paper Grover?” she asked while making her coffee.  And with a wide-eyed expression I looked her straight in the eye and told a bold-faced lie. ” No it wasn’t out there.” I said sheepishly ” The paper delivery is awful, she said. That is the second time in 6 weeks that he forgot me.” Then Doc did something I hadn’t planned on, she got on the newspaper’s web site to launch a complaint and to have another paper delivered. Now what was I going to do? I thought.  So I did what liar’s do in my position, I went and hid under the bed.

It wasn’t long before the doorbell rang and I could hear Doc talking to someone at the front door. After the door closed, I heard Doc call me in that voice she uses when she means business. ” Grover, you come here right now!” As I slithered toward her she started in on me…”Grover, that man said he already delivered the paper, now where is it? In fact, he told me all the newspapers are missing in the entire neighborhood.”

Retrieving the paper from my hiding place, I brought it in to Doc and opened it to the article that had started this whole thing. As Doc looked at the headline, she then did what I hadn’t done and read the entire article. ” Is this why you hid the paper and then lied to me about it?” she inquired. I nodded my head up and down. ” Did you even read this, or did you just look at the headlines?” she asked. ” She didn’t wait for my response. ” If you had read the whole thing then you would have known that scientists have found that it’s fine to let your dog sleep with you. That’s what happens when you just read a headline and assume the worst.”  She then asked the final question I did not want to answer, “You told all the other dogs in the neighborhood, didn’t you, that’s why everyone’s paper is missing.”

There are times in your life that you know you are dead wrong and just want to slink into the darkness , but this was not the time. I started with the man that delivers the papers, walked all the way to his house and tried my best to make amends. Then I went door to door to apologize to every dog I might have gotten in trouble by sounding a false alarm.

When I got home it was starting to get dark and Doc saw me looking in the bedroom door. ” Come on Grover, get into bed you’ve created enough chaos for one day.”

Photo by Angela Kirk “People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

— Maya Angelou

Napping Nellie

Photo by Angela Kirk

Although the snow had not entirely melted from the ground, it was a sunny day and the early signs of spring were beginning to emerge. As we came out of the horse arena we glanced over to see one of the mares sprawled out on the ground. Basking in the warmth of the sun, it was obvious she didn’t have a care in the world. I could tell by the look on Doc’s face that she was a little envious of the mare.  “What would it feel like to feel so free that you could enjoy every moment?” she said with a sigh to no one in particular. Hearing her say that made me realize that she felt more stress lately than I even realized.

Knowing it was time for an intervention I moseyed over next to her and leaned into her body in an attempt to comfort her. “Doc, you need to practice what you preach.” I said while tilting my head up so that I could see her face.” ” Easier said than done.” she replied. ” At that point I put on my own psychologist’s hat and said to her in a stern but loving voice. ” No excuses!”  A big smile spread across her face as she threw her head back and began to laugh. ” Are you mocking me?” You know that’s what I always say to others.” ” Just giving you a little bit of your own advice. ” I said with a smirk.’

Then she turned toward the field as if deep in thought.  When she looked back at me she looked happier, like a great burden had  been lifted. ” You are so right Grover, it’s easy to let duties, people and your own inner voice take you down anxiety road if you let it.  No more should have, would have, could have. Time to take my foot off the breaks and get going.”

Who would have guessed that a horse napping in the sun would be the wake-up call that Doc needed to move forward.


Photo by Angela Kirk ” You don’t drown by falling in the water. You drown by staying there.”

— curiano.com