Choosing a Different Path

Often in life we find ourselves standing at a fork in the road trying to decide whether to go right, left or stay just where we are. Change can be scary, but it might be more frightening to stay stuck doing the same old thing, especially if it’s hurting us. Sometimes what scares us the most is that we do have a choice. What if we make the wrong decision? We all face making a change at different times in our lives, even me.

When Doc brought up the topic of making life choices in group this week, every one was all ears. It’s a topic everyone can relate to. For the most part everyone said they hate change.  Doc challenged them to tell her the times in their lives that their choices led to positive things happening. like accepting a promotion or a better job, facing and working through their problems, or going back to school. So how did they decide to move forward and take the risk? Many of them were stumped by how they came to their decisions so we talked about some ways to help when faced with a choice.

First of all its good to weigh the pros and cons of a situation. Write them down so you can see them in front of you and then you can make a logical decision. If you’re still not sure, talk to someone that supports you and will give you some good advice.  I often ask Doc when I need some advice and even Doc has people that she talks to. Sometimes she even talks to me because I am an excellent listener.  It’s good to weigh other’s opinions but ultimately do what’s best for you.

Never underestimate your gut instinct. Remember that time you second guessed yourself? You were sorry weren’t you? There is a quote by an unknown author that says ” When faced with two choices, simply toss a coin because in that brief moment when that coin is in the air, you suddenly know what you were hoping for.”

Doc often says that our fears can keep us from moving forward if we let them. The funny thing is that most of the time it’s never as bad as we imagine. What if the Wright brother’s had made the choice to stay on the ground instead of trying to fly? We’d all still be driving or taking boats everywhere.

Every change in life comes with a choice, it’s up to you to decide whether it’s worth the risk. Once you’ve made the choice, never look back. Trust in yourself and know that you made the best choice you could at the time. You will learn from your experience no matter what happens and isn’t life all about the experiences?

Photo by Angela Kirk ” Life is a matter of choices, and every choice you make makes you.”

— John C. Maxwell

Re Training the Humans in My Life

Photo by Angela Kirk

Many people think that New Years day is a time for new beginnings, but I think that spring is the time to take stock and start anew. Flowers are blooming, the grass is growing and bunnies are hopping down the trail. After a long dark winter, the spring temperatures and the sun motivates me to think about what I need to change in my life and the first thing that comes to mind is that I need to retrain some of the humans in my life as they have been slacking off in their duties. When I say slacking off I mean they are getting a little lazy when in comes to meeting my needs.

Why just the other day at work my co-worker Kim, that brings me a plate of steamed vegetables every day forgot to put that little dash of salt on them I like for added flavor. I complained by looking at her and whining until she understood and corrected the problem immediately. I don’t think that I should have to spend my time telling humans over and over what I like, so in order to save everyone time I have come up with a plan.

The vision came to me when I became exasperated with Doc because I have to remind her almost every day when my dinner time is. Really now, the woman is bright enough to tell time. So I came up with an idea that I think is probably the smartest idea ever. Why not just  open a school much like the one Doc took me to when I was a puppy to train me how to sit and stay? You know what I mean, basic obedience for humans where they learn certain commands. Of course only positive reinforcement will be used like earning more time to binge watch favorite shows or more screen time on Facebook or Instagram.

Thinking I was a genius, I told my puppy friend Norman that lives next door. I didn’t realize Doc was out working in the flower bed and over heard the whole thing and walked toward me. The look on her face was enough to scare a wild coyote away. Norman was wise enough to run back in into his yard and hide before the wrath came down on me. Doc summed it all up in one statement; ” Grover, you are one pampered pooch and you need to learn not only to appreciate all that you have but also all of the humans that love you. No one likes an ingrate.” And with that my goal of controlling the humans in my life vanished. As usual Doc was right so right then and there I vowed to be more appreciative.

Photo by Angela Kirk ” It’s never “too late” to start over. You are the artist of your own life. Paint something beautiful.”


Canine Mid Life Crisis

Photo by Angela Kirk

There are a lot of cute dogs in my neighborhood. When Doc brought me home as a puppy, I was the only dog in the cul-de-sac so I got all of the attention. But those days are gone and as I am approaching seven in July it has not escaped my attention that the competition has gotten younger. Much younger.

How’s a fellow suppose to compete with that? Not only are these dogs younger, they also have owners that take them to doggie spas where there coats are coiffed and sprayed.  Much to my horror, Doc’s idea of a spa day is hosing me down in the driveway and then leaving me in the sun to dry where all the neighbors can witness my humiliation. The only response I get from Doc when I tell her how I feel is that I’m probably going through a mid-life crisis. ” After all you are in your 40’s in human years, and are starting to get a few grey hairs.” she said. Good grief, she sure knows how to make a guy feel worse.

Mid-life, what a discomforting realization. “Grover, Doc said while looking at me over her glasses, some human males do things like get hair plugs, buy a sports car, wear big gold medallions or get Botox injections  but that only makes them feel better for a short time. You have to figure out what the real issue is and deal with it.”

I didn’t have a clue what Doc was talking about so I decided to contact my veterinarian Dr. Hoffman. After all she knows all about dog behavior and feelings, especially mine. Much to my surprise she told me dogs do go through a mid-life crisis of sorts. “After all, you aren’t the alfa dog you once were” she told me. ” You’re getting kind of pudgy in the middle, your hair is turning grey in new places and you just can’t keep up with those younger dogs, but don’t despair because I have an idea. You just need a new challenge in your life Grover. You’re probably bored doing the same old thing. So mix things up and try a new challenge. ” she suggested. “Like what? ” I asked. “Whatever you want, just make sure it challenges that good brain of yours and remember Grover aging is just part of life and you have many unexplored adventures still in front of you.  Good bye for now Grover and good luck!” she said as she hung up the phone.

After wracking my brain for days mulling over what Dr. Hoffman had said to me I finally had a eureka moment. I was frankly surprised I hadn’t thought of it sooner. It was time to let go and stop worrying about what other people think and embrace who I am. As for new challenges, I asked Doc to sign us up to do some more therapy dog visits but this time with children. Cheering people up is what I do best and you always feel happier when you do service for others.

Photo by Angela Kirk ” To a dog, a fire hydrant under maintenance is like a bathroom that’s out of service.”

— Anonymous

Reunited Again

Photo by Angela Kirk

In everyone’s life there comes a time when we need to move on. It may be to pursue a better opportunity, to leave something negative behind or just to have a fresh start. Whatever the reason, sometimes when one person leaves there is another that is left behind and that is exactly what happened to me.

In March after Doc and I got back from our vacation, some of our co-workers had resigned to go to new jobs. One of the people who left happened to be someone that I was very attached to. Doc had tried to explain to me that Carolyn wouldn’t be working with us any more, but somehow it didn’t sink in until I saw her empty office. I just couldn’t fathom that she would leave me behind like that.  So every morning I would lay in the doorway of Doc’s office waiting for her to come through the back door and greet me like she had always done and every morning I was disappointed when she didn’t show up.

As the days went by disappointment turned into sadness. Doc took notice and began to worry. To add insult to injury, someone else moved into Carolyn’s old office. When I would go by I would saunter in, give the lady occupying the space the “stink eye” and then look under the desk just to make sure Carolyn wasn’t hiding there. Doc and everyone else tried their best to cheer me up but it was no use. Doc even told me that it is normal to feel sad when things change and others move on without us, but I didn’t care, I just wanted to see my friend.

One day after we got home from work, Doc took me outside to throw the tennis ball when suddenly she said ” wait here a minute Grover” and she went inside. I watched Doc through the glass sliding door as she let someone in. At first I couldn’t see who it was, but as she got closer I saw it was my Carolyn! As she opened the sliding door I was so happy I jumped up and down and then ran around the yard and the house. When we came inside I gave her big kisses and lay down on the couch beside her. She stayed for about two hours and when it was time to leave she told me not to worry because she would be back to see me.

As the front door closed I thanked Doc and told her how happy I was. ” I thought I was never going to see her again Doc, that’s why I was so sad.”  ” Oh Grover she said, I didn’t know that you thought that, no wonder you were so sad. Of course you will see Carolyn, she loves you and that will never change. She can come and visit any time she wants.”

Feeling content I realized I had learned something new…that even though someone you love may move on, it doesn’t mean that they have forgotten you in the process. True friends stay close in their hearts.

Photo by Angela Kirk ” Letting go does not mean erasing memories. It simply means that you’re ready to make better ones.”