The Gift Of Dogs
“What we have once enjoyed we can never lose; all that we love deeply becomes part of us.”|Helen Keller
Seeing the sweet pictures everyone was posting on #nationalpuppyday reminded me of how much I miss having a dog by my side, especially with the crisis going on and being home so much. Bagel the Beagle pictured above will always hold a special place in my heart, his gentleness with my baby, the silly way he howled with his head back, how he’d warm himself behind the wood stove, didn’t like peanut butter, so many precious memories.
As with every dog I’ve owned throughout my life, each loyal dog will never be forgotten. This quote from Helen Keller is incredibly true that it’s better to have loved and lost than never had those dogs in my life or even people I’ve loved for that matter. Dogs are such incredible creatures in that they don’t ask for much but give us so much in return. It’s loyalty, unlike any other creature. Being loyal is a strong feeling of support and somehow dogs just do it naturally with no hesitation.
Since I’ve had some extra time on my hands, I was on YouTube recently and saw a dog I’ve followed for years through videos my daughter and I watched had passed and as I watched her owner describe her loss it brought me to tears. Strange how emotions are like that, how empathetic and emotional I can be for a dog we’d never even met. While this famous YouTuber and very successful entrepreneur seemed to have every luxury in life, that doesn’t mean she could save her dog. Dogs become family and when we have to say goodbye no matter what the reason it leaves a void in our hearts. Dogs provide comfort, healing, affection and a relationship that’s quite unlike anything else. It seems we never have enough time with these gentle creatures no matter how long they live.
What’s special about how we feel for others and is that we all want to have that human connection, to feel understood like we aren’t the only one going through something. When we show our vulnerability we are not only helping ourselves heal but also helping someone else not feel alone and understood. Sometimes vulnerability and loyalty can be looked on as a weakness or as being too sensitive. You can be strong and vulnerable at the same time. Boundaries need to happen with certain areas in our lives and limits set, but vulnerability and emotion can draw others to us.
In this sometimes harsh world, loyalty can be taken advantage of, but it is something none of us should lose, but cultivate. Some of my deepest friendships, best business connections, and fondest memories are when I opened myself up to show not only who I was, but also my struggles in life. Perfection isn’t real and all of us want authenticity. Cherish and look for people in your life who respect you, make you feel safe and show loyalty in being there for you. It isn’t always easy to find, but it does exist and should be cherished.
During this pandemic, one thing that’s touched me and shown me how great hard times can be is seeing everyone not know exactly how things are going to unfold and having to take life one day at a time. All a sudden our schedules have time, we are being around our families like we should, are having to get creative, it’s like a small gift of looking at your day and having time for what you like to do, not just have to do. As my therapist put it today, it’s teaching us all patience and is reminding us what’s important.
We are all living so over-scheduled most days that now it’s like we have all this space and time to just be. Make the most of it. Cook a meal you’ve been meaning to try. Listen to a podcast that brings positive thinking into your day. Walk outside because you don’t have to, but for peace of mind. Read a book that enriches who you want to be. Call a friend you haven’t talked to in months. Organize something to make space. Send a card to someone you care about. Offer help to someone who could use it. Do something that makes you smile and cherish this pause in our crazy world to do something positive.
We can all learn something from a dog. They are reliable, true, trustworthy and loyal. It takes work, effort, self-sacrifice, but being a loyal person always earns respect. Be loyal to those you care about. Find a company loyal to you. Stick with friends who value you. Draw close to family who supports you. Remember you don’t owe loyalty to someone who has harmed you, used you, abused you or did not live up to what they promised. Don’t always take the easiest path. Stand by those you love even when it’s not easy.
Be true to your word when possible. Be loyal to yourself in trying to live in your truth, stick to your values and your passions. Not one of us can be perfectly loyal, but know with time loyalty wins and prevails. I’m grateful to have had dogs in life who helped me and stood by me in good days and bad. In this time we live in be kind and show empathy to yourself and others. Take a lesson from a dog, be present in the moment and take each day as it comes.