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Gavin woke me up in the middle of the night Sunday to go outside. He yelped once while he did his business, then sat and stared at me when we came inside. I sat behind him for a moment while I mentally planned the most efficient way for me to quickly grab all our things if we needed to race to the ER. Within seconds, he walked away, turned around with his “Are you coming?” look, and walked upstairs. Instead of going to our bedroom, he walked into the guest bedroom, jumped on the bed, and stretched out.

I joined him but didn’t sleep all night. I jumped at every snore, stretch, squirrel-chasing warble. Last week, I learned that his no-good-very-bad day at my mom’s was caused by gut spasms (ouch), and I’ve been recalibrating medications to help him. So, when he was his happy, silly, wiggly self all day Monday, I kept reminding myself that worry isn’t love. That night, knowing I needed sleep to be as compassionate and patient as he needs on kitchen day mornings and to get through my long day, I decided to listen to a ho’oponopono meditation on YouTube.

At first, when the narrator told me to keep repeating, “I’m sorry, please forgive me, I love you, thank you,” I thought there was no way I would finish the 35-minute meditation. But, the more I mentally repeated the phrase while petting my sweet, snuggly boy, the more big feelings came out.

I didn’t realize how guilty I felt for his carpet-eating episode, nor all the out-of-routine things we’re doing to prevent him from being alone. He doesn’t understand why he needs to get in the car and go to my mom’s and boyfriend’s houses more, even though it keeps him from panicking while alone. I didn’t realize how much I needed to let go of the worry that I’ll never be able to leave him alone at home again. And I didn’t know how much I thought I could still control. Try this pill or tablet (with veterinary guidance), which seems to relieve him. Ah, I have the power. Ha, I have no control.

But, what I do have is trust in myself that I’m doing the best I can, with love, for him. I know distress signs, and my intentions for my dog are always non-suffering. I’ll know if he needs urgent treatment again (I hope not). I also know Gavin’s not ready for any separation anxiety training. Right now, my dog needs time and rest. So do I.

So, today and this weekend, I offer you this mantra, forgive yourself. I’ve found much more love in me now that I’ve given myself a little grace.

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