Stepping into Charlie


There's a reason why they call it "puppy love"!

I picked up Charlie, our new puppy last Friday evening, and of course, nothing has been the same since.  He is adorable and a very good pup. Still, he is a puppy and quite a double handful. 

Those of you who have "survived" the puppy phase know the choice to move forward with a dog, starts with this demanding, exhausting responsibility.  Other than very little sleep and a lack of personal accomplishment , this little guy has already blessed our home, and me.

Charlie will meet Bryan tonight as he gets home from his annual trip to Cancun with his father and brother.  It actually has been a good opportunity for Charlie and me to bond and to begin to get into a structured schedule.  HA!, Charlie is doing a fine job of structuring me and my life around his schedule.

Making the decision to expand our family has been a process. Our beloved Ernie made his transition a year ago last December. He certainly lives among us and we are reminded of him daily in so many ways.  Yet our home and our lives became too quiet, empty, perhaps too convenient.  Not unsatisfactory by any means, just not filled with that daily unconditional love and joy that only a canine partner brings.  Ernie came to us at a time when our family yearned for a balancing, loving companion, and needed a source of comfort and entertainment.  Along the way, he served each one of us when we needed him the most.

During our search for the next perfect dog, I saw a photo of Charlie.  On paper, he met all of our criteria. Yet it was his eyes that called to me.  As I studied and stared into his eyes, I saw a familiar spark, a reminiscent light of love ... I sensed Ernie reaching out from that photo of Charlie. 

We made the step into Charlie.  Almost immediately, the lessons and gifts began.  

So, this is what I have learned:

Even life's positive contributions can challenge and activate us.  Self doubt, insecurities, fear, and judgment run rapid in those early days of stepping into a new role, a new routine, a new way of being. 

No matter how tired, confused or frustrated we feel, it is still within us to do what is necessary. Each time I crawl out of bed, fumble to put on my boots, somehow attach his leash and successfully get him out to pee in the cold backyard,  I recognize my contribution to Charlie's health and success. And it's a good thing. (especially as I crawl back to bed for another 2-3 hours surface sleep.)  

Caring for another, no matter how small, is an act of kindness and compassion.  The passage of time has been altered and my heart has been cracked open to again, express itself.  That part of me that is selfless, loving and accepting shows up for Charlie. Similar to my experience when caring for my Dad, our new little puppy provides new meaning and fulfillment to my life.

Getting outside of ourselves, brings us back home. The priorities of the day have definitely shifted. My focus and  activity revolve around Charlie's needs and well being. He gets me out of myself and invites me to stretch to a broader perspective while focusing on what's in front of me. 

There's nothing like a puppy to give new meaning to living in the present. Charlie's energy and curiosity  are exhilarating.  Yet he is so fast at grabbing and chewing everything in his path, all I can do is attempt to keep up with him.  There is no room for my own distractions, activities, or electronics!

Adopting Charlie into our family has been both life challenging and enlightening. The quiet moments of connection, the sacrifice of my agenda, and the forced slower pace, fuel my awareness of what truly matters and celebrates my sense of connection and love.