Mungo came to us in February... he was rescued from a Welsh puppy farm, where he had spent the first five years of his life. Probably his only experience of love in all that time, since being taken from his mother, until he came to us, was the eight weeks he spent in a wonderful foster-home (you can read more about his early journey here).
As human beings, it's easy for us to get stuck in the story we are telling ourselves each day... we will continue to do a particular behaviour, or think particular thoughts, because we've always done it that way. We interact with the world because of the labels we give ourselves - or accept from other people - "Anxious", "Introverted", "Extroverted", "Victim", "Intelligent", "Stupid"... When labels give us permission to limit ourselves, then we don't have to take responsibility - instead we can blame the label, because the label gives us our story... without realising that it's also the story that is "proving" the label. Those "knots of our own making" that Rainer Maria Rilke wrote about.
There's a wonderful poem by Marianne Williamson, called "Our Deepest Fear" (I have it on the wall in my office), and in it she explains that it's our light, not our darkness that frightens us... our deepest fear, she says, is not that we are inadequate, but that we are powerful beyond measure...
In my work as a therapist and a trainer, I see many people who do change the stories they have been telling themselves, often for decades - it requires courage, and insight, and self-awareness, and self-compassion to do that, and I'm in awe every single time, because it proves the truth of Marianne's words...
And then I look at this beautiful little soul who has joined our family... every "first time" he does something new - like jumping up next to us on the sofa, or climbing up four steps instead of three, or allowing Luna to share his bed - he is releasing and re-writing a little bit of that old story and it makes my heart melt, because he's letting a little bit more of his light shine.
If he is not afraid to re-write his old story, why should any of us be? In Marianne's words, again, "As we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same..." If we are bringing that kind of inspiration into the world, then what can happen? That's another story - what if we were to write it?
Lily is an extremely determined lady. If a bit of biscuit (or a frozen pea – particular favourite!) makes a bid for freedom and escapes beneath a kitchen cupboard, then she will always be the first to draw attention to it by snuffling and scratching at it until either she manages to extract it or you give in and assist.
Since the ice has finally thawed on our little pond, Lily has discovered a new interest. Whatever it is (and frankly we probably don’t want to know) is so deeply fascinating that she now spends far longer in the garden, but unfortunately for Lily it’s something she cannot quite reach… None of the canine members of staff enjoy frolicking in water – Daisy is particularly funny in this respect and will go a long way out of her way to avoid stepping in even the shallowest puddle – so deliberately jumping in the pond is, for Lily, not an option. As she develops her strategies, however, she has clearly experienced some unwelcome feedback with a couple of early theories which resulted in her requiring some time for contemplation in the dogs’ hot tub (otherwise known as the utility room sink). Like Edison with the development of his light bulb, to Lily this does not mean failure – she is simply finding different ways which do not give her the result she wants. I am sure, given time, she will achieve her goal.
...and the Canine Members of Staff