Throw Out Fifty Things

Monday Morning Motivator-SOMETIMES IT'S JUST NOT YOUR FAULT...


You know Willa, our Golden Retriever, or if you read the "Monday Morning Motivators" even occasionally, you feel like you do. She's fabulous. A real lover. Totally irresistible, exuberant and completely wonderful. Yes, she jumps up on people to kiss their faces; yes, she sometimes picks fights with male dogs twice (or unfortunately, half) her size, yes she is a would-be "gorger" of any kind of food she can smell  and yes, sometimes she barks for no reason except to be heard. "Hey, can you shut that dog up?!" We've heard that shouted from more than one window... But she's also the biggest hearted dog in NYC. Ask anyone who's met her. If she meets an elderly person, she never, ever jumps; nor does she jump on a little person. In fact, she lies down flat when she meets a little person so she won't be taller than they are and, heaven forbid, frighten them. And, she's the  most sensitive creature (human or non-human) I've ever known. She can tell by the slightest change in your tone of voice, the expression on your face, or an adjustment in your posture - that something's up. Something she should attend to. And "winsome," doesn't even begin to describe her ability to get just about anything she wants, at any time...including another bone (her third) another hug (her hundredth) or another game of ball...


And that's what happened: The ground was covered with ice and the ice was covered with a thin layer of snow. It was crunchy and in spots, very slippery. Trouble was, you didn't know which spots were just crunchy and witch were slippery. So when Willa who'd been kept inside all day except for brief "tinkle breaks," for the fourth time, dropped her tennis ball in Jim's lap, looked at him with those big brown eyes full of hope and humor...and gave a little whimper...he said, "Okay, okay, but just one game! It's icy out! Okay? Let's go" And Willa flew through the door and out onto the snow.They played a few games; Jim hitting the tennis ball with a bat, Willa leaping up in midair and catching it, bringing it half way back and making Jim go the rest of the way... I spotted them through the kitchen window. The sun was out. It was gorgeous. All's right with the world, I thought and went back to watering my plants. Then I heard Jim at the door, swearing and saying, "Why'd I do it?! Why'd I hit that last ball?! Why..?? I should've known better...I heard her yelp when she landed...Oh, I'm sorry, Willa..." Willa had a hard time getting in the door. She was limping badly and wouldn't put any weight on her right hind leg. Jim was almost in tears. "I knew it was a bad idea," he said. "Why'd I fall for it? I should've known...” "It was a beautiful day," I said, "and she wanted it so badly. How could you possibly have resisted..?? She'll be okay...It's not your fault."


Well, it turned out that Willa had torn her ACL, not uncommon for an active Golden Retriever but a painful injury that requires surgery and a lengthy recovery period. Like three months of inactivity - no stairs, no jumping up to kiss somebody's face, no running, no leaping, no catching balls... And when she whimpers now, it's because her leg hurts, her stitches itch, or she's sick of wearing the "cone" on her head..  But she's an incredibly good sport and she's getting better (and perkier) every day. Jim is taking a bit longer.. Here's the thing: Things happen (not good things) that simply aren't our fault. Little things; big things...that we beat ourselves up for...when in reality there was nothing we could've done to prevent them (except maybe to have stopped one ball earlier, but c'mon...) So here's a recommendation: When something like a "Jim and Willa" thing happens to you, let it go. Don't beat yourself up. Concentrate on doing whatever it takes to "fix" it, heal it, soothe it - and get over it. But don't blame yourself for causing it. The people who love you (they're the same ones who don't blame you...) will thank you for it. And so will your dog..


Here's a picture.... 

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