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We spend a lot of time and energy on better. We educate ourselves and train our dogs to behave better on walks or when guests arrive. We research games and places to take them so they’re living their best lives. Or, we add veggies to our diet and workout more so our clothes fit better.

But what if not doing anything is the key to our better selves, our highest peace, our most loving way to live our lives, and appreciate the connection we have to everyone and everything around us?

In recent months, I’ve needed much more alone time to patch, stitch, and mend big heart wounds. Gavin helped me find a softer side of myself. And with every year we shared, I found more compassion and patience for his needs.

I’m not as good at giving my fellow humans grace when I’m stressed. I’m even less adept at being gentle with myself when I’m overwhelmed. So, I’ve taken a beat to rest and chuckle at Mabel’s neverending energy. Finding quiet walking paths was just as much for me as for her.

My sweet girl was back at daycare for three weeks. Mabel’s behavior was getting better when she was overstimulated. The staff was better at giving me quick updates. And I was better at letting go.

So, I was waffling on making the change to the smaller daycare that I’d been considering and chatting with when Mabel brought home a blister in her mouth. After a couple of days of the bump not healing, I jumped online and was immediately thankful the storms earlier that day prevented the meet ‘n’ greet with the home-based daycare owner and her dogs.

Mabel’s wart turned out to be a highly contagious viral papilloma, typically easily treated with antibiotics. Still, thankfully, my primary veterinarian shared my concern for putting Mabel’s body through a fifth course of antibiotics. So, we’re treating it holistically, and it’s already almost gone (thanks, Drs. Crouse and Giatis, for always being there for us).

The last time Mabel was on no-dog-play status, I yearned to give her better days, what I thought she wanted, romping and running with other dogs. Who knows, maybe it’s not what’s better for her. I do know that a teeny tiny yard, inside play and training, and two-hour-long walks aren’t enough for my bouncy girl so desperate to give Mabel sprinting space beyond the few fetches my patio provides, I found a new SniffSpot. The area was better than past spots we’ve visited. It was the first rent-by-hour yard where Mabel immediately zoomed and zoomed and zoomed with a ginormous grin on her face.

However, with an unlatching gate, the renter’s dog staring and barking at us, and a nasty water-filled pool (no more giardia, please), the spot wasn’t great, so I reached out to my nephew and my ex-sister-in-law to borrow their yard. I don’t know why I didn’t connect with people who care about me sooner.

Mabel spent Tuesday night tearing towards me, then galloping the perimeter of the yard before racing towards a squirrel and slurping clean water that I brought, and then happily hopping away to find and, of course, roll in deer poop. Mabel’s so sweet, but, goodness, my dog is gross.

Steph and Mabel fell in love, just as my dog and Isaac previously had, so we have an open invitation anytime we’d like, and catching up with two people I deeply cherish started to crack open my cozy little cocoon. 

May your day and weekend be filled with what fills you, whether it’s a quiet time to yourself or time with loved ones.

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