Yesterday it was National Dog day. And I was fortunate enough to be without my dog, Walter, for the two weeks leading up to this celebration.
I say fortunate because even the most important animals and people in our lives can become part of our routine, and we may inevitably lose sight of the big picture and lose invaluable perspective.
My mother has always wanted to visit Norway. So, we finally went… no more putting it off until next year. We were committed to going.
The last time I had been out of the country or away for this long was back in 2013. So, I was overdue for a cultural reset, to say the least. There is something so unique about being away in a foreign land for an extended period of time. And this trip was different. Because back in 2013 I was not yet in a place where I realized the importance of this “reset” and the lessons that follow.
The reset doesn't only provided a gentle reminder, a nudge to take a hard look at how you view things. It was also a reminder to have gratitude. Have gratitude for the good in your life. No matter what situation you find yourself in.
You come to this blog for a variety of reasons… whether it is the desire to be prepared, or because you worry, or because you simply want to know more about canine first aid... but everyone who reads this blog has a love for their dog. And I think we can all agree we have gratitude for our dogs.
But sometimes we need a reminder… like National Dog Day- to tell the world how much more awesome our lives are because we share a portion of it with our dogs.
And what about finding gratitude when our dogs are sick, when life seems unbearable, when we are given a poor prognosis? What about gratitude the other 364 days of the year? ... We are human. We sometimes lose touch with that gratitude or fail to acknowledge it.
National dog day. What a noble holiday to celebrate. Your social media is filled with pictures of dogs and puppies and everyone is celebrating. But again, what about the rest of the year? Every day of every year is day to be thankful and express gratitude. To celebrate and cherish our god given rights- and the privileges that come with said rights. Here, I am referring to the gratitude we express for the privilege to own a dog… a privilege that comes with certain rights that one is granted in this country.
So, the lesson… I woke up this morning, after having been awake for 24 hours, suffering jet lag, and an exhausting and uncomfortable 10-hour plane ride across the Atlantic the night prior, to a place of sheer joy and gratitude. And it was a level of gratitude I had never experienced before. With this came the realization that I ultimately did not need to remove myself from my home, my country, my loved ones, my dog for a couple weeks to achieve this. It can be achieved any time, and anywhere.
Even in the most uncomfortable situations (and I understand my circumstances described above might be less dire than some, comparatively) there is something to be learned, something to be grateful for. Do not waste these moments by choosing to blindly ignore all the good around you and within you.
Because the more uncomfortable the situation, the more opportunity you have to seek and achieve growth through a sound and healthy perspective. That healthy perspective comes with choosing gratitude. Choosing gratitude over pity from others. Gratitude over complaining. Gratitude over entitlement. Gratitude over imprisonment. Gratitude over feeling sorry for yourself. Gratitude over your self-defined limitations.
Our dogs are with us. Be grateful for them and be grateful for the time spent with them. And don’t you dare rely on a fake holiday to remind you to do so.