I cradled the beagle pup in my hands, raising her to rest up against my neck. Too young for her eyes to be open, she snuggled in, content to feel my pulse. Nonverbal connections made, we both relaxed, happy to just be. My friend Gail watched, and then asked me a question.
“How do you manage to live like this?”
We were sitting in her “puppy room,” sun slanting through the window, beautifully colored cotton quilt stretched over the comfortable sofa. Alex, the mama beagle, rested in the whelping box, three pups sleeping alongside. Gail had adopted Alex just over a month ago. She’d been looking for a dog in need of a home, and I’d been looking for a forever home for a beautiful tri-fade beagle. They clicked immediately. And then we learned Alex was pregnant. Gail had never had children, or even a dog before. This was her chance and she jumped in with both feet.
She joined our community, and immediately felt a difference in her life. Rubbed raw by the current political climate, she’d withdrawn. Alex changed all that. There were vet visits and ultrasounds. There were dog walks and training sessions. There was something new and wonderful to focus on. There was life. And change followed.
Sometimes connections are like a chain reaction.
How do I manage to live like this? I couldn’t imagine life otherwise. These connections, great and small, are what make everything else possible. In this case, one dog was in need of a home. Her owner was unable to offer her the quality of life she needed. A friend of mine was looking for a dog. The unexpected pregnancy allowed the original owner to continue to play a part as Alex had given birth before. A trainer friend of mine connected with both of them, further drawing them into this wonderful world of dogs. A friend of my daughter had suffered some difficult times in his young life. Now, on his own, he wanted a dog to share life’s adventure. Short on funds, but full of enthusiasm, he stepped in to help, providing my friend much-needed yard work in exchange for a puppy.
Many hands make the work light, and the connection strong.
So how do puppies and dogs and training relate to what you do every day? They may not, but the idea of connecting and fostering relationships where you can is applicable everywhere, everyday, in every life. At work, at home, at the market. You name it. When we make the effort to engage, even on a small scale, there is a ripple effect. As a writer and an entrepreneur, I’m keenly aware that I must pay the bills and hustle and promote just like everyone else. I’m also aware that giving back and connecting with people daily allows me to do my job that much better. If I extend a hand, someone is surely there to meet me halfway.
What can you do today?
Think about shifting your mindset, just a little. Make the extra effort to greet someone new, to offer a compliment, to hold open a door. To do the unexpected. Make it a nonverbal connection if you like. A smile is a great start. It doesn’t have to be big or extravagant, it just needs to be genuine. After a while, it becomes habit. And then it becomes essential to who you are. And that’s why and how I live like this. Come with me and try it out for yourself. Better yet, reach out and tell me about it. I’d love to connect with you too.