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To say my sweet dog is thriving is an understatement. Aside from some self-soothing paw licking and the occasional nelly belly, Mabel’s health is amazing after eight infections, viruses, and parasites. Her eyes glow, her fur is thicker and softer, and her confidence blossoms daily.

Mabel’s now grabbing anything I accidentally drop: dirty socks and a brussel sprout bag. Except for mushrooms, they’re the devil spawn and leafy greens. She spits out spinach as soon as she nabs it.

I’ll take sassiness over suspicion any day. And I’m incredibly grateful that Mabel’s food-motivated and quickly drops what I drop for a treat. Because we both enjoy training, practicing avoidance and dropping cues is now part of our daily routine. 

As we enter the new year, instead of making resolutions that we’ll inevitably break in weeks, what if blossoming was our goal? We give our dogs grace when they make mistakes. We find different ways to help them grow, like plants. We don’t blame or curse dying leaves. We prune the dried stems to make room for more growth. And, when we remove the old, sprouts appear. 

So, let’s all choose to prosper, then shed, to thrive, then rest, to bloom, then nest this year. A beautiful quote by Christine Caine reminds us that, as part of nature, we need dormancy as much as light, “Sometimes when you’re in a dark place, you think you’ve been buried. But you’ve actually been planted.” 

For those of you who religiously read my weekly musings, I’ll be taking next week off to celebrate my 50th trip around the sun in Belize with my two best friends because I was planted on my sofa long enough last year. I’m excited to spend time with women who are as quick to hold my hand when I’m heartbroken or made a mistake as they are to be cheer captains and celebrate even minor successes.

And Miss Mabel, well, she’ll be enjoying a vacation of her own. I’d never have chosen the health issues she contracted at a large daycare, but they led me to Sasha and her lovely family, where I know in my heart and soul she’s in the best hands.
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