04
Jan 15

Happy New Year 2015! A Little Bit of Wisdom

Happy New Year! Time to reflect on the past, and look forward to the future.

I could come up with fifty resolutions but I am sticking to one MAIN one for this year---to be more GRATEFUL.  I believe there is even a Bible verse that says the spirit of thankfulness will overcome the spirit of heaviness (depression).  That is good news!

Today I am feeling very grateful for my friends and family this past year. Since 2010 I have fought a chronic, painful illness. Nothing fatal, but chronic gets discouraging, especially for someone who used to have a physically demanding job (grooming & training) and hobbies (training and showing dogs plus boating with family for fun).  Watching movies and reading are my only hobbies that don't demand anything that causes me pain, heck, I had one year where I couldn't even do those things, long story but couldn't stand the light, so even TV was a neuralgia and migraine trigger. Thank God I am better!! Not well, but better is something to be grateful for, and the fact that I have "good days" is a huge blessing. Must commit to remembering the good days and letting go of the bad.  Don't worry, be happy!

Whew, re don't worry. Perhaps THAT one should be my #1 resolution for this year!  I do believe though that concentrating on being grateful and thankful even helps overcome worry as well---you cannot sit around thanking God for your blessings and worry about all the negatives that are going on. Concentrate on the good, do the best you can to overcome the bad and leave the rest to the guy upstairs. After all, there are things we cannot control. Period.

Speaking of control, a word of wisdom for dog lovers. Think carefully before you co-own a dog with someone you don't know. I have a friend going through a lot of grief because someone she didn't know talked her in to selling her a puppy for a reduced price, on co-ownership, on a "payment plan". I will spare you the details, out of privacy for the breeder, but she is going through tons of stress because the "puppy buyer" is not making payments and they are in another state. They don't even keep in touch, as far as in almost three month's time, she has received only one photo. She worries about the puppy all the time but it is not as simple as just taking a copy of the contract and driving an hour to pick up the puppy. The people whom she allowed to take this pup live several states away, and they were dishonest about their circumstances.

So that is another consideraton, if you do decide to co-own, can you do it with someone across the country?  Yes, you can, if the person is ethical and is financially and physically able to at least make it to the airport. Some people even co-own dogs that are top winners, three owners, all three living in different countries! But co-ownership involves many, many things.  At one time, probably has been 15 years ago, I said "never again" because I just HATED co-owning. But I am not a breeder, yet I am still a dog fancier who likes to have at least one show quality dog. Many breeders will not let their best dogs leave their property without keeping their names on them.  So I had to "get over it".  But if I was in a breed of dogs where I didn't know people I could trust, as far as signing co-ownerships comfortably, then I would have to breed my own dogs, since I don't have friends and acquaintances in but a few breeds.  You may think that "control" is not important to you, but if you give a dog a piece of your heart, then even if it doesn't live with you, you may be very upset if you find out that the other owner put down the dog without even contacting you, even if it was for an illness. If you are like me, except in a case of an emergency, you would want to be offered the chance to possibly let the dog retire with you, if their illness was something you could handle. Control can mean a lot of different things but in the dog show world, even how a dog is groomed can be very important to a breeder or owner. . So think long and hard before you decide to "share" a dog in any way.

Okay, above are two words of wisdom for the new year -

One, be GRATEFUL!!  It will even help your health!

Two, be CAREFUL about whom you deal with, in dogs (this applies even if not co-owning). Even if you are doing something like fostering for an organization, realize that being connected with them will reflect on your own reputation. This may or may not be important to you, but all I am saying is be sure to thorougly "vet" any person or organization with whom you are going to be involved with, because it could save you a ton of stress down the road if you involve unethical or even people who are ethical, but full of drama.

One last word, determine to be KIND.  Kind to your dogs, your kids, your friends, your SPOUSE/partner. Have you ever noticed it is those we love the most that we tend to neglect, like our family? We are more likely to let it all hang out, when we are angry or having a bad day, when around those to whom we are the closest. It is also human nature to take each other for granted, especially our families and closest friends.  Then one day, eventually, they are gone and we are heartbroken. Goodness gracious, I spent over a decade going to dog shows practically every weekend except Christmas.  Then a brother died, but I didn't stop, I threw myself deeper into my hobby to distract myself from grief. Then a grandfather.  I slowed up a bit and visited family a bit more. But my Dad didn't pass away until the year after I got sick, and my last granny passed the next year. By then, I wasn't able to get in the car and drive myself anywhere....so I couldn't even go sit with them, since they lived 6 hours away. Yes, I was blessed to be with my granny near the end, but not Daddy.  Oh, how I wish I had some of that time back from when I was healthy and could just pop in the car anytime I wasn't at work, and hit the road. Ten years ago, they were both still well and able to spend time with me anytime I visited. Yet I spent more of my spare hours involved in "rescue work" and showing, than I did with family, even, sad to say, with my son some months.

If I could have a "re-do", I would sitll hit the road but I would not always head to a dog show. I would head down south to visit my family much, much more and when my son was young, he would have gone with me, and he could have gotten to know his grandparents and great-grandparents better. They were such incredible, amazing people.  But once they are gone, they are gone.  I cannot take back any hurt I caused my grannies when I missed Thanksgiving because I was working and then going to head to a weekend circuit the next day. Not to say that is "wrong" but if your life gets out of balance, where you spend a ton of time on ONE thing, then probably other things in your life will be neglected. For me, I spent way too much time showing dogs in the 80s and volunteering in the nineties and beyond, until I became ill and had to give it all up for a few years. Time I wish I had spent with family and also learning more about scipture, and healthy lifestyles (exercising more, eating better). Even my "study time" in years past, was spent studying dog behavior or reading show magazines to keep up with the top winners. Nothing wrong with either, but again, my life was out of balance for a very long time, close to thirty years. It took illness to knock me off my feet and make me realize what was most important in life. But by that time, I had lost loved ones and even those who were left, as mentioned, I could no longer hop in the car and drive long distances to visit them like I used to be able to do.

For you, it may not be family. It may be your health, or time you wish had spent with the dogs whom you loved but who weren't show dogs. If we own a pet, we need to carve out time for them, just like we do for our children. It may be study of something, or time to worship and meditate. Whatever it is, just realize that your time, every moment of every day, is the most valuable thing you have to spend, so spend it wisely.  Because once it is gone, you cannot get it back.

Since this is a dog blog, I will end with a photo of a dog I co-own with his breeders, since there was one weekend in 2014, where, surrounded by friends I have known for decades, I was able to see one of his breeders put those final AKC championship points on him.  What fun, a highlight of the past year was the time I was able to sit at ringside and see him looking gorgeous as he trotted around the show ring.  But when he is here with us, chasing the other dogs and being silly, it is also great fun, and when his breeder tags me on a photo of him chasing butterflies in her backyard, it gives me moments of joy.

Some day he may retire here, but for now, he is enjoying the winter with the lovely lady (Patty Powell) shown showing him here. I am grateful, because with my illness, I am no longer a winter person--no more sledding or long walks in the cold weather for me! Yet this young dog still enjoys cold weather, something that is just inherent in Siberians.  Isn't he lovely? But so are the dogs here who are "just pets" including one from a shelter, plus two adopted cats. They make us laugh, they snuggle up to us when we are sad, our cats and our dogs who are just pets, not show dogs. You know, I hate those two words being used together "just pets". Because ALL dogs, whether they are championship material or we adopt them from our animal shelter, should be beloved pets. After all, they love US like family, don't they? Once we take them in, we ARE their family, we are the leaders of their pack. Dogs are loved ones who also don't live forever, so have fun with them, love on them, enjoy each moment you have with them. Even as a write this, a fat, warm little Dachshund is snuggled up to my side, competing with the laptop! A Poodle sits in a chair across from me, glancing over every ow and then to see when I am going to be finished so he can have time with me. A husband will soon be home from church. A grown child is in the living room, who is kind enough to do things on cold winter days like this with me like watch a movie on Netflix. At the end of our lives, those are the moments we will remember the most, the loving times, not the few moments of glory we may have had in the show ring.

Be a kind leader in 2015. Be a kind and loyal friend to the humans in your life too. Be grateful, don't worry, be happy. Be balanced. Be yourself, don't be a people pleaser, but don't ignore those who love you. Because they really are very precious gems...each person, each pet, that you allow in to your life is there for a purpose. Don't let another year go by without being grateful for them. If you took the time to read this rambling post, I am grateful for YOU!  May God richly bless you and yours in the coming year.

Melanie

Melanie Schlaginhaufen

www.knowingdogs.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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