I am grateful that Lissa agreed to contribute to *the gratitude project* - her YES was instantaneous! I love the story she has shared and the humility it shows. No matter how outwardly successful we may appear to be, we can always be taught a lesson or two - sometimes from a most unlikely teacher. THANK YOU Lissa!
This winter a friend arrived at my door with 10 minutes notice a puppy in his arms.
It had been 4 years since my 15 year old dog Ginger had died and I was NOT going to get another dog.
Being a single mom with a teenaged daughter and single — I had time on my hands. My freedom had been growing in leaps and bounds. Why on Earth would I saddle myself with a puppy?
Puppies come cute for a reason and this little black and white guy had certainly had been given his fair share. He had been found outside alone in the freezing cold on February 25th. He was only 10 weeks old.
Oddly, I didn't hesitate. "I'll take him" I heard myself say.
Most people, when adopting any pet, first make a decision to get one and then look for the right one. I spent the next week grappling with the decision I'd made wondering why I'd just decided to tie myself down for the the next ten to fifteen years with a dog. On the fifth day I had resolved to keep "Odie" and committed myself to his care and training. My heart was already there.
I realized after a couple of weeks that Odie was helping me to practice ways of being that I had been internally struggling with. Having Odie, I suddenly felt grounded where I had been feeling untethered for months. I had spent a lot of time running around taking care of errands and doing things that were not bringing me the peace I was seeking. Walking him several times a day in the beautiful area where we live was not a chore but a pleasure.
I had been struggling with patience. Over the past 3 months, I have had to summon up patience daily, calmly redirecting Odie and encouraging him in the ways I'd like for him to behave, downplaying the misbehaviour. Oh and the repetition. Training a puppy is all about consistency, patience and repetition. It's a whole new world for me - someone who comes from a place where blame must be placed and wrong-doing must be pointed out. Because I've fallen in love with this dog, it's been more easy than hard. I don't want to hurt him. I want to encourage him and feel good about myself while raising him. As my daughter is now a teenager, this concept of patience and encouragement, gentle teaching and leading by example has sometimes fallen short when I've defaulted to freaking out by example. Yeah, Odie has seen that too. The wonderful part is the awareness and the growth. I can't change unless I can see what I'm currently doing.
I am grateful to my friend for feeling I'd make a good dog mom, and I'm grateful to Odie for bringing out in me the things he needed most and the qualities I need to inhabit.
Who knew I could learn so much from a little abandoned pit pull?