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Just Life

Just Life

Just Life

We think our souls are soothed. We feel good most of the time. Even stressful events and hiccups in our day don’t affect us like they once did, but sometimes, in our busy day-to-day, we see a reflection that reminds us there’s no such thing as healed, only mending.

Mabel’s still settling in at home. The first seven months were bonkers schedule-wise due to her minor illnesses. Every time we started falling into a rhythm, she’d get sick and have to take a hiatus from daycare. Then, when Mabel got better, I’d send her back to party all day with other dogs because, at the time, she seemed so happy to romp and roughhouse.

Since I returned from vacation, Mabel has been intensely stress-licking her paws 1-3 times daily, enough so that if it continues, she could develop raw spots or sores. Yet, she doesn’t lick her paws at Sasha’s house (pet sitter and trainer extraordinaire). 

My first instinct was to do more for Mabel, engagement, and enrichment, to assume I was missing something or doing something wrong. So, I asked Sasha what her routine with Mabel was, thinking Sasha had some magic activity or ways she interacted with Mabel to help me see what I lacked in giving my sweet dog. 

Sasha said, “We just life.” In that moment, I realized that though I’ve trudged through a lot of trauma I experienced from Gavin’s medical issues that I couldn’t face when he was here, my heart’s still holding on to hurt over losing him. And, in our life at home, Mabel following me around while I’m working, doing chores, and life-ing, there’s been an undercurrent of guilt and self-blame that I’ve carried even in my cheery, chuckling state giving Mabel treats, love, and attention.

So, on Wednesday, I was more conscious of my energy while Mabel and I lifed together. Instead of chatting to her all day like I did with Gavin, that’s what an animal communicator told me he liked, to be told what I was doing next; I was quiet when I carried Mabel’s breakfast #2 to her room so she could gnaw, lick, and lull herself to sleep while I worked. I didn’t instantly default to worry that Mabel would get giardia again because she dove headfirst into a giant mud puddle. She was delighted and dirty but happy and relaxed, which I wanted for her. For me.

And, that night, my best girl went to the sofa to sleep at 7:30 pm, all on her own, while I lifed then settled in next to her with a book, only one minor paw lick before we went to bed.

So, today, I’d like to ask you this. What do you carry that prevents you from living freely and openly? Are you holding onto past pain because it’s familiar or a way to hold onto someone you love? If we all face what’s still lurking under the surface, we can “just life” with more joy and peace. And that ease will undoubtedly have a positive impact on our dogs.

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