|When I trained dogs, I seemed to attract people struggling with leash reactivity, and it always made sense to me. It’s how I fell in love with and into dog training: Finn’s barking at other dogs.|
My favorite clients were always the ones whose happiness with my services or their dog wasn’t contingent on behavioral benchmarks none of us could control. They celebrated the small moments and embraced the magic that is positive training.
Teaching and learning from Gavin gave me so much joy. I loved the look on his face when I said, “yes, that’s my good boy,” and how he softened when he succeeded after I made a minor adjustment to a request he couldn’t quite figure out. It’s been years since I’ve taught or thought a lot about another dog besides my sweet boy, Gavin. However, I start my first volunteer shift at Gigi’s Dog Shelter next week. I’m so excited to help dogs waiting to find the homes they deserve with people who love them.
I took my first vacation in six years last weekend, four days in Miami. I was walking on the beach Saturday morning, the sun shining on my face as I strolled closer to the ocean and took off my shoes. Walking barefoot in nature, grass or sand, makes me feel connected and grounded to the bigger world and gifts beyond me.
As I felt the water wash over my feet, I imagined things we all carry and don’t serve us or our higher good being taken away and transformed into free, light-filled love. I stood there and felt like I was being wrapped in a kaleidoscope of nurturing peony pink, filled with inspiring vibrant violet and soothed by gentle, healing turquoise. And, for those beautiful moments, every thought, sensation, and emotion was love, liberating, life-affirming love.
When I started walking again, I saw a dog who looked like Gavin but charged into the water after her balls like Finn, and the smile on my face joined with the love coursing through my soul. As I meandered nearer, I noticed the dog’s human walk a teensy bit closer to the dog, facing me, presumably to see my movements better. So I gave them space as I quietly said, “Beautiful dog,” and happily continued after hearing a kind “thank you.”
May we all find moments in our day to let go of stress, worry, and stuff that doesn’t serve us because when we do, love will carry us forward.