Working with dogs has taught me, or rather forced me, to be more in the moment. Which is difficult for me. I’m really great at looking forward and setting new goals. In that process, I often forget to celebrate the incredibleness of right now.
But dogs have made me focus on right here, right now. And the hardest dogs, the neediest dogs, have come my way because of the opportunities they present for growth and because of that growth, for forward motion.
When Zola first arrived, she hid in the back of her crate. It took a couple of days and lots of yummy chicken to coax her out. Weeks passed before she decided that it was safe to step into the backyard. The leash, walks in the neighborhood, new surfaces, total access to our house, our dogs, our hearts – took time for her to trust.
Despite all of that progress, even today in new situations, she plants her back feet on something familiar and cranes her neck into the newness – testing the water, checking back. But now it’s from a position IN FRONT of me. She leads, she directs, she decides. No hiding behind me.
Plant your feet in something familiar, then reach out for something new.
Not a bad thing to learn on the day I turn 60.