Life Lessons From My Dog

By Kate Reiner, August 2018

Earlier today I debated on taking Lucy to the beach knowing she is definitely not a water dog. Being a boxer/lab mix you’d think it’s in her blood... NOPE! She absolutely despises it to the point where yes, I’ve tried dragging her in once until we got to the point of putting the brakes on and leaving paw track lines in the sand. Over the past 4 years I’ve kept occasionally bringing her back and every time it’s been baby steps to where now she will walk along the edge of the water, that was until today. Today was the day we set to rise.

I grabbed her prized possession of a slobbered-up tennis ball, hopped in the car, windows rolled down, Salt N Pep on the stereo, heads sticking out the windows feeling like Beyoncé with the wind in our hair, and we headed down to our favorite secret spot. Mission-A-Go.

 As we got to our spot, we settled in I grabbed Lucy’s attention with her tennis ball and she knew it was time to play. Little did she know this ball was headed straight eastbound and down into Lake Michigan. I didn’t throw it out far the first couple times knowing she probably wouldn’t get it... I was right. So, it’s a good thing I also dressed in proper attire for the occasion. By the 4th time I threw the ball to my surprise she finally went in the water to get it. Small steps were absolutely the steps in the right direction. We did this a couple times until I accidentally threw it out pretty far. Well, she was not having that and we lost the ball to sea. Oh well.... time for selfies and dry off.

We sat there for a while just enjoying the serenity of our surroundings until out of nowhere.... and this I swear I felt like it was a scene from Castaway. No, it wasn’t a bigger volleyball named Wilson... would’ve definitely made this story cooler though. Just a giant branch floating along. Eyes widened, tail wagging, perched on top of the rocks, was a very hesitant but awfully determined pup. Lucy was bound to have it and she did. Pausing, waiting, I shouted some words of encouragement and my four-legged friend was out to sea. I was in utter shock like is this for real happening?! It was out far for her and she did turn around but only to go back and get it. Those widened eyes were on the prize though. She got to it and snatched it right up.


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Returning upon shore I waited a few minutes to let her enjoy the moment of the most giant ass chewing stick she’s ever had in her life. But I was curious.... so I took it and threw it back in like the Olympic Javelin thrower I think I am and the rest is history. Lucy won the gold medal today. Which made for me one of the greatest proud dog Mom moments ever.

Which brings me to this. Sometimes in life we forget how or the way things work because we don’t see them all the time. Especially when we ourselves are in the moments of struggle or self-doubt. But with continuous effort that gives us the key to unlocking our full potential and being able to overcome anything life throws at us. Even for a dog if it’s just a big body of water and a stick.  The picture here is bigger. If we face our fears than there is nothing to no longer fear. You have to decide that you want it more than you are afraid of it. Approach life with courage and determination and the possibilities for our successes are endless. And never discourage anyone who continues to make progress, no matter how slow.  Don’t ever give up. Act upon and manifest. And YOU WILL always be the Top Dog.