When Life Is Tough, Be A Piper

Have you ever have one of those days that you feel like your whole world is falling apart?  The domino-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.

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.

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.

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.)

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Julie Wilkes