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When Gavin and I moved from Chicago to Columbus with my brother and nephew, I was convinced that suburban life would be easier for my sweet, sound-sensitive boy. However, after a few weeks, Gavin started stressing about walks because every house seemed to have a dog barking out the window at him. And, well, in Chicago, we didn’t have to deal with lawnmowers for months.

So, we ventured out to find fenced-in, quiet areas for Gavin to play off-leash daily. The timing was essential because the tennis courts, baseball fields, and playgrounds weren’t built for Gavin’s decompression time. One afternoon, after picking my nephew up at school, we hit horrible traffic on the way home, and much to Gavin’s dismay, all of our fetch spots were in use.

We’d been in the car far too long, so Isaac and I decided to grab food at a drive-thru and sit with Gavin at a park. I gave Gavin his balls and laid his blanket down for him to settle next to me on his leash while I unpacked our sandwiches. Gavin was super ticked off about the lack of chasing his balls and clumsily bringing them back to me, so he stood up, tilted his head, then lifted his leg to pee on me.

Isaac almost spit out his first bite of food, laughing. Gavin didn’t understand why, that day, he couldn’t get what he needed to relax and enjoy time outside on a beautiful spring afternoon. Oh, if only I had the control my dogs thought I had, I could do so much good in this world.

When the weather turned cold, and the waves at Lake Michigan were too high for Finn to swim, he’d obstinately stand in front of me and bark. Like I had any control over the weather. And, when it was windy, or rainy, or cold, Gavin would go to the back door for a potty break and then look over his shoulder at me with such disdain that I’d often say, “buddy, I’m sorry it’s not my fault it’s gross outside.” He’d usually huff and go back to bed.

As a list-slinging business owner who genuinely becomes giddy when my team or I find a more efficient way to do something, it’s easy to falsely think I have control over anything at all, ever. The universe likes to whap me in the head regularly to remind me to surrender and go with the current rather than spending time and energy trying to change the inevitable. It’s a good lesson for all, relinquishing control and embracing the unknown. The lessons we can learn might surprise us.

One morning, still living with my brother, Gavin needed a potty walk. My nephew and his buddy Moon offered to go with us. They, not me, had an idea. Two sweet young men thought if they walked side-by-side in front of my equally sweet dog, they’d create a human shield for Gavin. They thought it would help Gavin relax if he felt protected. And, as Isaac and Moon walked in front of us, continually looking over their shoulders to ensure they weren’t moving too fast, Gavin calmed. From that day on, Isaac and Moon joined us whenever they could, and I’ll forever be grateful for the thoughtfulness and love of my amazing nephew and his friend.

May your day and weekend be filled with love.

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