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Looking for Love

Looking for Love

Looking for Love

I heard (again) on a podcast recently that what we look for, we find. If we look for love, it’s everywhere, from the bright eyes of the dog we adore looking lovingly at us to birds fluttering from tree to tree to the tiny sprouts of green grass here and there, even in February. And, if we look for problems, that’s what we see and hold onto, too.

We’ve had unseasonably warm weather here in Columbus. And while I love the feeling of the sun’s rays shining on me when I step outside, I especially cherish everyone’s cheery mood when the skies aren’t dreary and grey.

However, when we have reactive dogs, ones who are still learning to relax on a leash, no matter what, springlike weather doesn’t always feel like a blessing because everyone wants to walk their dogs when it’s nice outside. And, well, more dogs means more work for us, for our dogs.  

I’ve been feeling super proud of Mabel and me this past week. We’ve been navigating and turning together, using different paths that keep our distance most of the time. And when we’re both surprised, Mabel’s been a rock star at recovering. I was getting a big head about how well we’ve been handling more dogs until last night.

Mabel and I could walk for an hour at my mom’s house and never see a dog, not one, so I was ready for a relaxing stroll on a pleasant evening. Phew, everywhere we turned, Mabel and I encountered dog after dog after dog. My sweet girl was so jacked up that as I tried to get her in the car, a person we passed twice picked their dog up to avoid us. I apologized because I’d never knowingly put Mabel in a too-many-dogs-on-a-walk situation for her and the other dogs. 

As I drove home, I thought about past versions of me. I’ve been that person who’s embarrassed by my dog’s behavior. I’ve also been annoyed at people who can’t see that I’m trying to give my dog space from their dogs. And I’ve been that person who’s tried too hard and failed when I’m stuck in a tricky situation with my dog, then subsequently silently scolded myself for getting it wrong and being unable to predict the unpredictable.    

So, maybe our beautiful night and the terrible walk were meant to help me find grace for myself. I’ll get it wrong sometimes, but I’m trying, and that’s what matters. Maybe I was meant to forgive myself for not knowing yesterday or the day before what I know today. Or, perhaps I was meant to go home and relax with my dog because she’s finally relaxing at 7 pm.

As we approach Valentine’s Day, may we all look for love rather than dilemmas. May we see love looking back at us in the mirror when we brush our teeth? May we find love in quiet moments on walks with our dog(s) when we’re lucky enough to have them. And, when we get it wrong because we will, may we love ourselves enough to say with kindness and compassion, “I did the best I could,” and mean it.
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