When Life Is Difficult – Be A Piper

    • 29
      Apr

    Have you ever have one of those days that you feel like your whole world is falling apart?  The FullSizeRenderdomino-effect?  One thing after another?  Or maybe you are saying to yourself, ‘I’ve had one of those weeks, months or years!’.  If that’s you – this blog was written just for you.

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    I’ve recently learned a new perspective on having a bad day.  First of all, for those of you who know me, you’ll know – I truly focus on positivity as much as I can.  But, let’s face it.  Sometimes life just hands you a lemon, and it is all you can do to just keep afloat.  Forget the lemonade – we just try not to squirt lemon in our eye!  Those are usually the times my life coaching clients ask me for advice the most – ‘how do I keep moving forward amongst this mess?’  And, it takes strength, the desire to move forward, and a plan.

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    However, I have a story that I thought might just help someone who was stuck in the middle of a bad day and remind them of somethings that are easy to forget.  So here’s the story.

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    Three weeks ago, I adopted a rescue dog.  She was a part of a raid done by the Humane Society where they confiscated 166 dogs from a hoarders house.  The conditions were what the Humane Society described as, ‘squalor’.  Dirty, neglect, etc…   And, she had been the last of the 166 – no one was adopting her.  Perhaps it was because of all of the special needs she had… she had lost an eye (we don’t know why), her other eye didn’t see perfectly.  She is deaf (we don’t know why).  She has no teeth (due to neglect).  And, she can’t walk well. (They believe this is because she has been in a small crate her whole life).  While many people “Liked” her photos on Facebook and commented how we must find her a home, it seemed that people were afraid.  They weren’t sure they could take care of her properly – after living 10+ years in a cage, and having a number of special needs, they didn’t didn’t know if they could give her the life she deserved. (Side note:  And how often do we do this in life?  When someone is different than us, we don’t connect with them, because perhaps we don’t know how.  But WE DO KNOW HOW!  Read on.)

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    Piper frolicking in the snow!

    When I saw the Facebook post about her, those thoughts should have crossed my mind, however, they did not.  I immediately knew I could provide her a life she deserved.  I don’t have the fanciest of homes.  I don’t have a big backyard for her (or any backyard!).  I don’t have gold-plated bowls.  And yes, I think she deserves all of these things.  But, what I knew this little girl needed was just love.  And, I do have a lot of that.

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    Our walking loop!

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    The first night I had Piper, she could walk about 25 feet before she would fall over or land on her back legs.  I decided I would take her out 2-3x a day and walk her those 25 feet.  She would follow me like a lamb follows their shepherd – right behind me at my heels.  Within a few days, I noticed she walked faster.  We tried a double loop one night and she did it!  Every few days we add on a few more feet and she does great.  In fact, one night we had a snow and we all went outside and I witnessed her actually frolick in the snow, like a puppy.  It brought tears to my eyes.  I hadn’t seen her move like this before.

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    Every time I walk in the door, she is waiting at the top of the stairs with Cody and Charlie (my other pups), and as a pack, they greet me.  She still falls over at times – but she quickly gets herself back up and tries to make sure she gets as much ‘coming home love’ as possible.

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    Charlie loves playing ‘Big Brother’ to Piper

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    And, for the past few weeks, she’s watched Cody and Charlie play.  I see her watch them, but I didn’t think she could ever play with them.  They are pretty rough and she is so fragile, I’d be afraid she’d get hurt – and she has no teeth or stability.  This week, while Charlie was laying on a blanket, she walked over to him and started playfully lunging at him and making a noise saying, ‘I can play too! I can play too!  Play with me!’  Now, Charlie wasn’t sure what to do at first, but he has assumed a big brother role and watches out for her.  He will gently play with her. I  even caught them snuggling one day when I snuck back in the house after leaving.

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    So, we have a long way to go, and I have enlisted a Special Needs Dog Trainer to come in and help me in a few weeks .  But, I was thinking to myself – what has caused her to thrive so well over these past three weeks?  It isn’t the big backyard, fancy house or gold-plated bowls.  (since I have none of those things).  Here is what I think has helped her to thrive.

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    Telling her she is loved…

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    Every day, I rub her back and her legs and I tell her over and over that she is loved.  I nuzzle her nose with my hand and I kiss her head.  And despite the fact that she is deaf, I know somehow, she feels the vibrations of love.  And I think those vibrations are healing.  And I think when we feel loved, we are more likely to want to improve.  We are more likely to want to be better.  We are more likely to think we have a bigger reason for existing.

    PBut that’s only part of the story.  You see, I think I came into her life to help her, but as you may guess, I feel that she has also helped me, and in this short time taught me something about life.

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    Snuggling in

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    You see, it’s been EASY to help her.  Despite being stuck in a cage her whole life, not cared for well, starving much of her life, and having lost several of her senses, she is the most sweet and loving dog.  She receives love easy.  One wouldn’t blame her if she was aggressive or fearful of people or closed off.  After living such a tough life, all of those traits would be reasonable to expect.  But she isn’t any of those things.  She couldn’t be more loving.  And because of her ability to receive love, she is easy to take care of and help.

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    Pipercam! Taking walks with ‘the pack’ (via backpack)

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    So now, let’s get back to you.  I started this off by saying, ‘If you feel like your world has fallen apart – this blog is for you.’  When we are going through life’s difficulties, we tend to harden.  We become cynical, frustrated, angry, aggressive… we put up walls and we become untrusting.  We focus on all of the things we don’t have, we wish we had or we used to have… And, while these traits and reactions are all reasonable – they don’t help us to move forward.  If we could try to stay open, to let people in, to expect that the best is still yet to come – like Piper does – perhaps we could change how we handle some of life’s difficulties and find ourselves in a better place.

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    Today if you feel hardened by life, if your heart has closed off, if you automatically think something bad may happen, if you are hesitant to let people in – can you try – to soften.  Take just one small step – in forgiveness – of someone else, something else or even yourself.  And, be more open, more optimistic, more focused on gratitude and more interested in relationships.  I don’t know what you are going through, but I do know that these traits will help you to move forward, enjoy life more, and make the tough times a little easier, and the good times – even better!  And, the more we open the door to love, and receive love, the more we give it as well.  It’s a positive domino effect that has a powerful effect. Soften yourself.  Take a deep breath and let it go.

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    First trip to Starbucks – they gave her a ‘Puppucino!’

    Piper continues to teach me things each day.  As I learn, I will continue to share her story through my blog.  One thing I have committed to do is to create a bucket list for her.  We don’t know how old she is, but we think she is somewhere around 10 years old.  She hasn’t seen much of the world, so my hope is to show her as much of it as I can.  My bucket list for her isn’t your typical one that includes sitting on the beach at sunset or climbing a big mountain… my bucket list is to take her out and experience as many things as she can.  I’ve taken her to yoga teacher training, a road race, walking different neighborhoods, for rides in the car, to Starbucks (they gave her a Puppucino! which she loved!), the Pet store (which she thought was amazing!)… I’ve had friends over to spend time with her.  I even bought a backpack to carry her in so that she can take a walk with Cody and Charlie.  She isn’t strong or fast enough to walk with them, but she loves being a part of the pack simply by going on our walks with us.  I’ve had Piper go ‘bed shopping’ and try out various dog beds… and many other adventures!

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    I’ve included some of our bucket list photos in this blog and will keep posting them.  We hope they inspire you and remind you, that in your darkest moment, to Be A Piper.  Be open to love.  Open your heart.  Believe the best is yet to come.  Soften yourself.  We can’t ask people to love us, we can only be loveable.  And, the right ones will come along and rescue us.

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