“You only get one life…it’s actually you’re duty to live it as fully as possible.”
-JoJo Moyes, Me Before You
Happy Sunday everypawdy!
I hope you all had a PAWSOME holiday season! Everyone in my family certainly did, especially us furry members! I received some really great gifts from my family like a giant stuffed caterpillar from my grandparents and a stuffed hedgehog from my mom and dad. I also received some very thoughtful gifts from some special furends: some yummy treats and a new toy from Ms. Jean in Pennsylvania, some homemade treats and pawsome books (to share with students at school) from Ms. Lynn, a new stash of fun bandanas from Ms. Libby at school AND a “reading club” bandana from my teaching partner Ms. Lisa! How lucky am I to have so many special people think of me!?!?!?
This fall has been pretty hectic since my family moved into our new home in October. My mom and dad designed our new home with the 5 of us animals in mind. My new house is tripawd friendly because it is a ranch so I don’t have to go up and down the steps anymore! At my old house, my mom and dad used to limit how many times I went up and down the long flight of steps because if it was up to me, I’d go up and down each time they did and that’s a lot of work on this tripawd! I was only allowed to go upstairs once at night and then down in the morning. They used to put a gate up at the steps and I would patiently wait at the bottom of the steps for them to return. I didn’t like having to stay downstairs because they are my people and I must know where they are and what they are doing at all times!!! In my new house I can go everywhere my people do! We have steps that go downstairs to the basement and my mom and dad still make me practice going up and down a few times a week just for strength and exercise. The new steps are challenging and at first I was really unsure of them but I’m getting more and more confident each time we practice. My new house also has a dog run and a shower in the garage just for us dogs! I do miss my yard at the old house….our new yard won’t be fenced in until spring and right now there is no grass back there. Mom says I am not allowed to go run and play in the mud (I don’t understand why) so for now we go for several walks and I do my zoomies in the basement or in the long carpeted back hall at school.
My new neighborhood is quiet and I’ve enjoyed meeting several of the neighbors. There are a handful of dogs here but my mom and dad have made sure that everyone knows I am still working on being confident around unfamiliar dogs so everyone has been really respectful, especially once they hear my story. Unlike our old neighborhood which was very busy, I love the fact that the only dogs around are the dogs who live in our small neighborhood because it makes it easier for me to realize that they won’t hurt me. Now that we are moved in and the holidays are over, I am going back to see my teacher Ms. Chris at dog school (Woof Wise Dog Training) and I can’t wait! The classes help my brain stay busy and boost my confidence when working in close proximity to other dogs. They also help me stay strong physically and Ms. Chris does a pawsome job making adjustments to activities for me. Classes start in just a few days and I can’t wait!
Do you know what yesterday was? It was a REALLY special day for me because it was my GOTCHA DAY!!! My parents and Gene and Lucy helped me celebrate by taking a fieldtrip to see my furends at my favorite place, The Natural Pet Enrichment Center! Can you believe I have been in my new home now for 2 whole years? When I think back to where I was 2 years ago and what I went through, I no longer feel sad because it’s just a few dark months in what has already turned into the greatest life ever. My mom has always been very honest with the kids at school about what happened to me. They often say they feel so bad for me and my mom reassures them by explaining that even though it was an unhappy time for me, surviving what I did handed me this great new life and an even greater responsibility to make the most of it! I was determined to live and the people who took care of me were willing to do whatever it took to make it happen. Not everyone is given the second chance I was but I know better than to take it for granted…I am ALIVE!
So…instead of dwelling on the past, I look only to the future! I love my job as a therapy dog and I can’t imagine a more perfect gig for an imperfect rescue dog. I LOVE people and I’m not at all reserved when it comes to making furends with everypawdy I meet! I also am not shy about letting a few select people know they are my “favorites” (and it’s not just because they bring me bananas). To the 100 students who enter our classroom each day, I let them know it’s ok that reading is challenging for them and I encourage them to work harder at it. I make sure I greet every person I meet in the hall with a smile because you never know what kind of day they are having. I let the quieter kids know that I appreciate their calm, quiet demeanor even though sometimes those kids are the ones who get left out. I show the kids that there are times to be silly and do tricks but there are also times when focus is really important. On days that we wear teal to remember a student gone too soon, I wear my teal bandana and let them know it’s ok to feel sad and miss a friend. When a student has trouble controlling his body, I politely sit on his feet so my weight helps him calm down. To the staff and students with physical disabilities, I sit next to their wheelchairs and gently put my head in their laps so we can see eye to eye. I too know what it’s like to be different.
I always embrace opportunities to go to new places, meet new people and experience new things because after all, that’s life and so much of it is missed if you are too scared or too preoccupied to really take it in. I didn’t make a resolution this year because I’ve been given a second chance and I promised to always live in the moment and make the most of it. My purpose is to help others do the same.