One of my strengths is that I view the world in terms of what is possible. One of my weaknesses is that I don’t focus enough on what is. I simply see what is possible and continue trying to facilitate those possibilities. Some situations require a bit more focus on what is and require a step back from what is possible. What is possible can’t be possible without the step back to what is.
Let me give you a recent life example. In August, I brought a beautiful greyhound into my home. She has a lot of potential both as a therapy dog with me at work, and as a companion for me and her elderly brother Duke.
My new Ruby is a loving, smart dog with a tendency toward independent thought, much like Duke. It is part of why I knew she was the one when I was seeking out a second dog. Also like Duke, she comes with her quirks. She has some tummy issues and is prone to anxiety with any change in routine. She seems to like to eat hard plastic items such as flower pots and Frisbees.
At the same time, Duke is experiencing an exacerbation of his quirks because he has to be on prednisone to manage his bad back. He tends to get into garbage, eat paper products and now just about any food will become his in a matter of milliseconds. He runs off both here and at work.
It is new to me to have two independent minded dogs living under the same roof to begin with, so her new quirks and Duke’s quirks have created quite a challenge for me to manage.
Over the past week, I became aware of the need to step away from the potential, and instead strategize better for the what is right now. I paid close attention to what both of them needed me to do the most and then figured out the best way I could achieve it for them.
Ruby needs more consistency and better bonding with me to reduce her anxiety. That is best done with our walks. She needs all plastic removed from the environment, so yesterday’s focus was swapping out plastic pots and replanting plants. Duke needs a closer eye and for me to pay more attention to what I leave him alone in the room with.
We started a new routine last week that pretty much ruins my plan for less walking, but seems to be helping both dogs. It doesn’t hurt Duke to walk farther on days he doesn’t work because it keeps his muscles strong, so it is his new physical therapy. He and Ruby are starting to really sync on walks, and all of us are developing a stronger bond as a result. Then Ruby and I walk more after we drop Duke back off at the house. Ruby’s anxiety when I leave the house has improved, her tummy seems stable, so we are going to keep this plan for now. It is where we are right now.
As for it requiring me to walk more, I have gradually increased the steps, and increased one of the medications I take to reduce spasticity, so I will manage it. It is what is in front of me, and it is the best of several tried strategies so far to make having two quirky, loving and independent minded dogs more manageable under the same roof.
My dogs historically have taught me so many lessons and made me pay more attention at very pivotal times in my life. While this was about them, it was also about other areas of my life that were in need of a step back from the possibilities to the what is.