Dogs are smelly, they drool, they have germs, they are messy, and aggressive. This was me in 2016. I loved to look at them from far far away. My family had many dogs when I was growing up but they lived outdoors and I never bonded with any of them. If anything, they scared me and they always smelled funny.
Fast forward to December of 2017, when a little fluffy Bichon Frise was gifted to me by my father. Being over 35 and not having any children, he might of felt I needed some company besides my husband. Who knows what the reason was but here I was staring at the cutest fluff I had ever seen. She was so small, so fragile, and so full of life. A day before my father gifted me Dalí, he gifted my younger sister, Frosty, Dalí’s brother. Below is a picture of Dalí and Frosty. Frosty is on the left and Dalí is on the right.
If anyone has ever raised a puppy before they are going to know exactly what happens next. They poop and pee everywhere, they chew everything, they bark at you, they have no boundaries, and they vomit a lot. Puppies are cute for 5 mins. 5 mins and then they pee on your Chanel shoes and chew your Lululemon workout pants up. I was miserable. I wanted to give her to someone. I wanted to ask my friends to take her. I could not take it anymore. This was not like the movies. This is not cute. She does not know how to walk on a leash. She needs $1000 worth of vaccinations and checkups. She has allergies. She needs special food. She needs a harness because her neck is fragile. She has no training. I cried a lot. I cried almost everyday for a month. I didn’t want to tell anyone how miserable I was. Why do people like dogs? I haven’t slept in weeks. She whines, she cries, I don’t know what she wants. Where is her mom? Does she miss her mom? What have I done?
The next day I woke up and was determined to make this work. I don’t give up! I am a fighter. This dog has done nothing wrong. She was taken away from her family. She is confused. She has no training. She poops and pees everywhere. You know who was to blame for this? ME! I am the one to blame. I had to stop pointing fingers and get real about who’s fault this really was. How could I blame a 2 month old puppy for what was happening to me? I decided to read dog training articles online for at least 2 hours a day. I watched dog training shows. I practiced with her at least 2 hours a day. And you know what happened? Nothing happened. A month later, she still peed in the house. I couldn’t leave her alone without putting her in her crate and she would scream until I got back. I felt like an awful failure of a person with a short temper that screamed at a little 3 pound puppy.
I decided I need to get out of the house and clear my head, so I went over to Petco and decided to return eye wipes I bought for her. They weren’t doing the job and I had spent so much money already. What happens next is even worse than having an untrained puppy.
A woman walks into the Petco with a little brown puppy about 2 months old wrapped in a towel and asks where the no kill shelters are. I am standing there with my mouth open staring at this puppy’s sad eyes and falling in love. I get hot all over and tell myself repeatedly not speak and stay out of it. She told the employees she had found him in a park the night before and he was in pretty bad shape. She couldn’t keep him because she has 3 dogs of her own. She wanted him to live and wanted to make sure he was well taken care of. I tried to leave, I tried to walk out, instead I said “I’ll take him.”
I was shocked. The employees were shocked. The woman was suspicious. She asked me, “Why do you want him?” I said “I have a huge family and someone will take care of him.” She gave me the puppy. She gave me her contact info and told me to stay in touch. I just stood there and stared at her and the puppy. I walked out to my car in a daze and put him on my lap and drove home. I texted my younger sister (I have two sisters) and asked her if she wants a puppy I just found. She drives over in 10 mins and falls in love. I text my husband that I brought home a stray puppy and he goes nuts. He could not stand the one puppy we already had and now I brought home two??? TWO PUPPIES? OMG, are you INSANE? I calmly tell my husband my sister will be keeping him and not to worry. I also send the picture below to him.
He writes back right away, “We are keeping him and his name is Rocky Rambo.” I tell my sister she can’t have him anymore and he is ours. My head was spinning. I was excited. I was nervous and I wanted to throw up. I introduce Dalí to our newest family member Rocky and they are instant friends.
Rocky is potty trained! He is 2 months old and potty trained! He is well behaved and has loads of worms and fleas. He spreads fleas all over the house. He gives fleas to Dalí. He has worms which means I have to pick up the poo right away and rinse the area so Dalí doesn’t get them as well. $800 and a microchip check later, we are home. I now have two dogs under 3 months old. I am not a dog trainer. I am not a dog trainer. I am not a—What have I done?!
March 2018, I start a new job. I love my new job and I love what I do. I don’t love leaving the puppies home alone but they are getting along better now and Dalí is ALMOST potty trained. Rocky helped her learn a lot of “dog” stuff and they are not lonely at home anymore. I also installed a doggy door so they are free to come in an out whenever they want. They are learning to walk on a leash and Dalí is no longer chewing up all my things. I come home from work after a difficult day and find pee all over my carpet. I scream at Dalí and I scream at Rocky. I cry and they just stare at me. I sit there crying and they run up to me and kiss me and love me and sit with me until I stop. I feel ashamed that I screamed. I apologize to them for being awful and short tempered. I read more dog articles and watch more dog training videos.
One day in April, I watch an episode of a rather famous dog trainer, and he said something that really stuck with me. I don’t remember the exact quote but it went something to the tune of, “Dogs bring out what lives inside of you.” I was shocked! I was angry, I was depressed, I was gaining weight, I wasn’t working out, I was eating terribly, and I was very angry at work. I could not believe my ears. I was all of these things and I didn’t realize it. I thought I was happy, successful, and a perfect daughter, sister, and wife. Deep down I was not any of those things. Right then and there I decided to change my life. I started working towards bettering myself and my career. These are the 5 things I learned from my dogs.
1.Give everyone you meet unconditional love.
Dogs don’t care about someone’s appearance. They don’t care what is in their bank account. What they do. Where they live. What their name is. They care about how that person makes them feel. Dogs are instantly drawn to good people. They love hugs and kisses and will give everyone a chance. I now try to live my life this way. No matter who I meet, I try my best to be open and treat them with kindness and respect. My order was wrong? No problem, let’s correct it with kindness and understanding. You bumped into me? No problem! You don’t like my presentation? No problem. How can I make it better? Living my life this way has really set me free. I no longer walk around angry blaming others for my short comings. The next time you start feeling any emotion that isn’t serving you well, be conscious of it and change your mindset towards love and acceptance. Love and accept yourself.
2. Practice self care
Dogs practice a lot of self care. They play with toys when they want. They eat if they want to. They walk if they want. They don’t really do anything unless they want to do it. They decide what is best for them and stick to their guns. Have you ever tried making a dog use the bathroom in a downpour on command? It is very challenging. They need to feel it out, they need to feel the moment. The mood has to be just right. There can’t be any tension. They are the masters of their own destiny and they know this very well. Take care of your needs. Eat well, meditate, exercise, take vacation days, get some sun, and take naps.
3. What you give comes back to you
Anxious humans have anxious dogs. Happy humans have happy dogs. Sad humans have sad dogs. The same can be said in business. What energy do you bring into a room? Are you anxious? Are you angry? Are you sad? If you run a company, I promise you this is what your employees feel daily. When you are in control of a team, your actions and mood effect them. I have learned that when I feel a certain way, my dogs feel it and my team feels it as well. No matter the mind set I am in, a little time to meditate and a little self care shift my mood instantly.
4. Practice forgiveness
Take out your mental or physical list of all the people that have wronged you and TEAR IT UP! There is no need for you to be living in the past and blaming others for what happened to you. It happened and you are alive and you are reading this article so you must care about yourself. I am not saying jump into those people’s arms and give them unlimited kisses. I am saying move on and make yourself better than you are today. My dogs don’t care that I raised my voice at them yesterday or that I put them on a diet. They care about how I make them feel in the moment. They are not chasing the feeling from yesterday. They live in the present moment. Try that moving forward. Live in the present. Enjoy whatever is happening to you in the present moment and if you don’t like what is happening. Change it.
5. Live your life to the fullest
Want to go for a walk? Want to go for a run? Want to travel to Alaska? Want to play with this ball? Want to go for a car ride? I don’t think my dogs have ever said no to any of these things. They are down for anything because they trust me to do what is best for them. Surround yourself with people that you trust and live your life. Go on that vacation you have been wanting to take. Take some days off and read that book. Skip work and grab drinks with your friends. Go on that yoga retreat. Go mountain climbing. Whatever you want to do. GO DO IT. Decide you want to do it and the universe will make it happen for you.
My dogs are both over a year old now and I am no longer working for other people. I decided to start my own consulting company because it has been my dream for a long time. I took a leap of faith and did it with encouragement from my friends and family. I have days where I don’t know what I am doing but I surround myself with people that do know. I surround myself with people and dogs that are smarter and more connected than I am. I take naps often and rarely say no to an invitation. My life is short and my dogs lives are even shorter. I am determined to do everything in my power to better my life and the lives of those around me. That is my mission.
Okay I am going to sign off now and take my dogs to the dog park. There are many many mud puddles waiting to be jumped into. I intend to come back muddy and tired. I leave you with a picture of Dalí and Rocky today. Are they properly leash trained? No, but we are working on it.