A Daily Dose of Mindfulness

Life seems to have a way of sneaking up on a person.  It goes along like the day before and then BAM, something crops up which disrupts our routine, but also causes us to push the pause button. The break in our daily tasks makes us face the reality of life that of which we, including our pets, have a finite time here.

I had a experience like this last week. Jack developed a lump, the size of a quarter, on his face overnight. I didn’t immediately freak out and catastrophasize the problem.  I immediately thought it was a bug bite or a spider bite or otherwise and allergic reaction to something.  I did a bit of googling which eased my mind a bit and I waited on taking him into the Vet’s office.  Well, a few days later, the lump stayed there and it was irritated because Jack kept on fiddling with it by rubbing his face, scratching it and doing whatever else.  I decided in taking him in for an evaluation.

I informed the Vet of what I thought it could be and wouldn’t you know, he thought the same thing, but there was still a question mark and a bit of a cause for concern for him.  He prescribed him some meds and asked us to come back in a week for the possibility of doing a biopsy. I was prepared for this potential, knowing cancer can appear suddenly even with taking precautions and taking care of ourselves and our pets. I wasn’t prepared for waiting.

The past few days, I’ve found myself wondering if the medications are working in reducing the size of the lump or if my own denial of how Jack isn’t going to live forever changes my perception of the size of the lump. Dogs don’t have the life span of a person, mine and Eddie’s life are forever changed because little Boogs is apart of it and the likely hood Jack will depart this earth before us is a real possibility.  I didn’t realize how much so until the finality of Jack being actively a part of it became a reality. Throughout the past 4 years, Jack made me dig a bit deeper and find patience, an open heart and creativity in coping with things outside our norm. I discovered just this when we were at the Vet’s office this past week. The office was packed and I know how Jack becomes a bit high strung when there are strange people and strange dogs. He did well, in the beginning. I first noticed there were many people waiting in the waiting room, so I checked him in and let the receptionist know we would sit outside. We waited for about 15 minutes and this was Jack’s tipping point. He started getting frustrated. He acted this out by barking at people and dogs. People looked at him and at me like “control your dog”. I’ve had those looks before and I’ve often felt a bit of shame or embarrassment because in that moment, I couldn’t control him, Jack was over threshold and I felt a bit out of control myself. That day was different, I just ignored them. I felt a bit freer and less consumed about how others perceive a certain situation. I know how far Boogs and I came in our relationship and I wasn’t so worried about this moment.

The icing on the cake happened after the visit and I was paying our bill. I had Jack’s leash and the receptionist was passing my credit card and receipt back to me when another dog and owner came out through the door. This jolted Jack back to alert mode and he started barking. I know Jack, he wanted the opportunity in greeting the other dog, so I wasn’t concerned. I proceeded in asking the receptionist if I can book an appointment. She looked at me with puzzlement and asked “you want to book one right now”.  Normally, I would be apologetic and immediately remove Jack from the situation and come back and wait for my turn again. Not this time. I said “yes, please”. I felt more relaxed having a JRT as a companion than I ever did before.

The likely hood this is just a blip on the screen of things happening and not having any major life changing implications is pretty high. I guess what it caused me was an opportunity in being present. It keeps me grateful. I’m more aware of my own gratitude for things in my life on a daily basis. The things I’m most grateful for today is, how soft Jack’s fur is, how much he makes me laugh and how much more I’m aware of myself because he’s been apart of my life.

What are you grateful for?!

Published by houndbiz

Katherine Porter is a force free, reward based dog behavior advisor and consultant serving clients and their companion dogs worldwide. Her calm and gentle approach in coaching clients in effectively communicating what they want to their dog blends her MSW background into her dog training and behavior practice. Katherine was a behavior consultant for Heeling Hounds after graduation. She opened Four Paws and You Dog Training LLC when the military relocated her family to Fort Sill, OK in 2015. During this time, she volunteered with Rainbow Bridge Can Wait where she provided post adoption consultations to new pet parents. She also developed and implemented tailored behavior modification plans for highly reactive dogs residing at the shelter. She also provided educational programs to military children through interactive workshops at the Fort Sill School Age Center. In 2017, Katherine relocated Four Paws and You Dog Training LLC to Germany. She served the Armed Forces communities in Bavaria. She continued coaching and advising her clients in addressing their companion dog’s fearful and reactive behavioral issues. Katherine takes a Do No Harm approach first and foremost in providing behavioral plans. She is committed in serving clients with gentle and modern science approaches in modifying behavioral concerns such as reactivity, aggression, separation anxiety and fear based responses. Katherine is a member of the Pet Professional Guild. She is focused on integrating a holistic and modern approach in addressing her client’s pet companion reactive behavior issues.

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