TSN, Try Something New

Photo by Angela Kirk

I can’t say that I was surprised when I read that 37 percent of Americans have never lived outside of their hometown with the exception of college or military service. And over half of you have never lived outside of the state you were born in. It is true that most humans don’t like change. I get it, I don’t like it much either and I have lived with Doc in the same house my whole life. It’s feels safer to have the predictability of doing the same things with the same people day after day after day. The more I thought about this, I had to ask myself if I was really experiencing life to the fullest? So I decided to start shaking some things up in my life.

Yesterday, Doc told me to get in the car to go and run some errands with her after work. I thought this might be my chance to start living outside my comfort zone so I kept my eyes open for a chance. It’s not like I was prepared to totally change my life but Doc often says it’s the little things that can make a big difference and can boost your confidence as well.  We needed to go to the pet store for some dog food so I thought I could start by asking for a different flavor. The nice sales girl told me I could pick from salmon, turkey, duck, whitefish or kangaroo kibble. Kangaroo sounded a little to exotic for my tastes so I went with whitefish. “Excellent choice.” the salesgirl said like I was ordering dinner at a high priced restaurant.  Doc asked me if i was sure if I wanted a new flavor. ” What if you don’t like it?” she asked.”You will be stuck with it.”  ” I know I will love it,”  I told her a bit too smugly.

On the way to the cash register I also took it upon myself to glance through the dog treat section and pick up my favorite bully stick to carry to the counter when Doc wasn’t looking. She wasn’t all that thrilled when she saw the cost was $10 but since I already had it in my mouth, she paid for it and we left.

It was dinner time when we were done with all of our errands and got home, so I was excited to try my new dog kibble. I hopped up and down and drooled as Doc measured out the food into the dish with eager anticipation. I dove right in and after one mouth full I almost spit it out on the floor. “Yuck!” I said as I looked at Doc in horror because I knew what she was about to say. ” New choices sometimes come with new consequences” she said.

Well after two days I am getting use to white fish kibble and it’s not so bad. The next time I will try something safer in my quest for new life adventures. Don’t let my experience deter you from trying something new, you may just try the one thing that takes your life on a whole new marvelous adventure.

The Stories of Our Lives

Photo by Angela Kirk

All of us have a story and these stories not only define what we think of ourselves but also the world around us and the people in it.

My story began when I was born on a goat farm in rural Ohio along with six siblings. I know that Doc chose me from the litter because she knew I was special and that I was cherished and well cared for by the Blacks that owned the farm and my mother, Sadie until I was ready to go live with Doc. I have heard that story over and over and it has re-enforced that I have been loved and wanted my entire life. Now imagine just for a moment that 7 years later I find out it was all a lie, that the truth was that I was found abandoned with my siblings on the side of a road thrown away like a bag of trash. How would that change the way I feel about myself, learning that everything I had been told was a lie? It would probably shake me to the core and make me question everything in my life. Why? Because everyone needs stories of belonging and it feels frightening when we find out what we believe may be wrong.

Assisting Doc in her therapy work I have learned one thing, humans don’t like it when their narratives are challenged. So what happens when our stories conflict with what we believe about ourselves, others, or even the country we live in?  It’s only human nature to push back because at the core it can be frightening when what we believe feels like it is falling apart.

Being the optimistic pooch that I am, I believe that we can learn by listening and being respectful with  others if they have a different narrative than the one we have.  When you are willing to let go of old beliefs you open the door for new people and ideas to enter, leading to a fuller life. So what is  your story?

What Do You Practice? I Choose Joy

Photo by Angela Kirk

This morning Doc and I watched a video of a little boy that asked the following insightful question, “What do you practice?” It was a reminder that when you practice something over and over again you get very good at it. This includes our views, feelings and ideas about ourselves and the world around us.

Now some views and feelings are formed very early in life and are a product of what we are taught and our life experiences, but there comes a time that you can make different choices. When Doc went out into the world and away from home for the first time as a young adult, she told me she was lucky to be exposed to different people, cultures and ideas. Her world view was expanded and she started to question some of her old beliefs and form new ideas. That’s just part of the maturity process for humans. This also applies to animals as I certainly see my world differently now as a seven year old dog than I did as a new puppy.

So part of these views include how you react to each experience you encounter. Like the little boy in the video asked,  Are you practicing joy, peace, forgiveness and compassion, or are you practicing anger, worry and being judgmental? It is true that you will get very good at what you practice every day. So, for example, if you practice complaining, you will get so good at it, you will find fault with everything. Thus too, if you practice compassion, your heart will be filled with love for others and you will get very good at that as well. It’s your choice.

So what do you practice?



I See You and I Hear You

Photo by Angela Kirk

There is a primal scream rising up from the core of humans souls.  It is like a fire that has been smoldering for decades that has finally burst into flame. I want you to know that I see you and I hear you.

It can be hard for humans to confront the feelings inside of themselves and even harder to accept that others are in pain. Humans are notorious for telling each other how they are suppose to feel or act instead of acknowledging and sitting with the person in their pain.  Statements like, “you just need to get over it and move on “or it’s not that bad” come from a place of the persons own discomfort.

Learning to acknowledge that others are hurting and accepting those emotions unconditionally can lead to self-revelation and healing. It can help us to not only understand ourselves on a deeper level but to develop compassion and love for those we see as different from ourselves. In the end we can use our life experiences to become allies or adversaries to those in need.

One of Doc’s favorite authors Maya Angelou says it best; ” Each one of us has lived through some devastation, some loneliness, some weather superstorm or spiritual superstorm, when we look at each other and say, I understand.  We must support each other and empathize with each other because each of us is more alike than we are unalike.”