It’s been a beautiful spring weekend here in North Yorkshire. The garden is beginning to come to life and small green shoots are thrusting their way through the bare brown soil – the weeds as well as the garden plants…
Amongst the canine members of staff, Snippets has discovered yet another new joy in life; mysterious holes have started to appear around the base of the fern by the mint bed… Snippets will return to the kitchen with suspiciously muddy paws, tail waving happily and a big smile on her little woolly face.
As the weather improves, the dogs enjoy spending more and more time exploring in the garden. A couple of days ago, this resulted in an exciting and illicit adventure as, unbeknown to me, the back gate through to the adjacent farm yard and fields had been left open…
Theo was the first to return, appearing at the back door with all four legs decorated with a festival of burrs which lent him a rakish and somewhat bizarre appearance. Tutting as to where on earth in the garden he could have collected this unwelcome harvest, I set to work removing them, and only after a few minutes did it dawn on me that the rest of the garden was suspiciously quiet and alarmingly dog-free…
Leaping out of the back door, I found the back gate wide open and, looking through, saw the four other staff members joyfully romping among the stalks of last year’s burdock, diligently collecting the dried seed heads in their fur. They were quite delighted to see me, running back into the garden and bringing with them their sticky velcro harvest for me to remove from feet, legs and tails.
Theo, Lily, Snippets, Poppy & Daisy’s Teachings:
Negative thoughts and beliefs can be compared to the seeds of the weeds that flourish in an uncared-for garden. As these beliefs and thoughts are planted in the mind, so they may grow and flourish, spreading quickly from one mind to another.
Take note of what seeds you are picking up from the world around you – what thoughts and beliefs do you choose to allow to take root in your mind? What seeds are you sowing in the minds of others? Remember that the seeds of happiness, kindness, compassion and love will always bear a good harvest.
Snippets, our newest canine member of staff, has been with us now for just over a week and her personality is starting to blossom as her comfort zones gradually expand. She has discovered the joys of scrabbling excitedly in the scrunchy dead leaves of the crocosmia plant on the terrace, especially when “hiding” from Theo during a game of chase. She was very excited indeed to see Tracy last week for her new makeover, and after a rather drastic short-back-and-sides is now half the dog that she was… the discarded fluff filled an entire carrier bag! A trip to the beach at the weekend with Daisy and Poppy for company raised her to heights of bliss, once she realised that she could safely leave our sides for a run – but even better if we ran with her!
But Snippets has a problem. We had a visit from our lovely business coach, Dr Alun Rees, yesterday, and when he arrived Theo gave his usual vociferous and enthusiastic schnauzer welcome, aided and abetted by the rest of his team. All except Snippets whom, after a spot of loud and horrified barking, shot up the stairs and retreated to the safety of our bed, from where she refused to be moved. We managed to have her in the same room during the evening, when we were all in front of the fire, but even the sight of Theo and Daisy cuddling up next to Alun on the sofa was not enough to convince Snippets that he is really a friendly and gentle dog-loving soul.
Something in Snippets’s unknown past has created for her a belief that all unknown men are to be feared. For the other dogs, this is not their reality; they experienced the same situation and were more than happy to relax in Alun’s company, but Snippets believes it with all the fervency of her little doggy heart and, to her, the fear is very real in her mind because of that belief.
We all have our own worries and fears; most of us are extremely good at the game of “What If?” and can create easily for ourselves some quite scary future “realities”, because reality is subjective. Next time you find yourself doing this, stop for a moment and consider whether or not your fear is really real. Is it actually true, in this moment, or is it just a belief or a thought of something that might happen? What happens if, instead of your “What If” being a negative possibility, you change it to be “What If… something positive”? You may find your fears are less real than you thought they were.
For Snippets, of course, the only way to prove to her that her old belief is not true is with time, patience and a lot of love. Fortunately we can offer her all three of those in abundance, so that hopefully when Alun is back again in April, Snippets will be competing with the others for a place next to him on the sofa.
We never knew poodles were so absorbent. Regular readers of the blog will remember that Lily has paid a couple of unscheduled visits to our pond in the past, but dealing with her weed-bespattered, dripping little form was nothing compared to the epic drama of dealing with a similar incident involving Snippets yesterday evening…
I watched the scene from the kitchen window and was powerless to intervene as she, being curious, jumped up onto the stone edge around the pond and then, with a leap of unsurpassing insouciance and elegance, launched herself innocently into the water which, judging from her reaction, was not quite the medium she had been expecting. Nothing daunted, however, she swam valiantly across the pond and hauled herself out on the far bank – by now liberally festooned with an assortment of weed and leaves, and her fur weighed down by an extremely large sample of pond water.
After a bath in Lily’s usual hot-tub (aka the utility room sink) we then had to repair to the bathroom for specialist intervention with the shower hose – it turns out that poodle fur is very resistant to releasing anything it has captured, so poor Snippets had to endure a good deal of hosing and rinsing until the last vestige of pondlife was exorcised. As we had already discovered, poodle fur is also astonishingly absorbent and three bath sheets were required to dry her – even then we needed another towel for her to sit on during the evening as she continued gently with her dehumidifying process in front of the fire over the next few hours.
She seemed quite content throughout with all the fuss – we’re just hoping she doesn’t decide to increase her possibilities of an Oscar nomination through further performances.
...and the Canine Members of Staff