In his book, The Power of I Am, Joel Osteen proposes that our day is determined by how we finish this sentence, “I am…” If we finish it with tired, we will be tired; worried, we will be worried. In these uncertain times, I am forcing myself to say: “I am grateful” or “I am looking for joy”. With that mindset, I can get through this.
I want to share my joys in hopes that you can discover your own.
I have been given many gifts, and one of them is a love for animals. It is a special gift indeed. In these quiet times, I have my dogs for love, companionship, humor and joy.
Today I also have a great story. Do you remember my column Saving Jocko? It was about fostering a purebred Havanese dog, named Jocko. Jocko spent his life in a tiny cage breeding beautiful puppies to be sold on the Internet. When he arrived at my home, he was fearful, unhouse-trained, and terrified of a large world that included outdoors, homes, people; normal for us, but utterly unfamiliar to him. I knew that it would take a long time before he could put his past behind him.
Housetraining was particularly challenging. When I gave him a treat for peeing outside, he had no idea why he was getting the treat. In his three years, he had learned that It didn’t matter what he did, he was doomed to live in crate when he could barely stand, covered in urine and excrement. So, he didn’t understand the concept of giving him a treat for doing something good. For him, treats were rare and random events. It took 8 months, but finally he was able to understand cause and effect and to become house trained. Along the way, he became very affectionate and is a dog park favorite since he approaches each dog owner looking for cuddling.
Today he got adopted.
A couple at the dog park had been watching his progress, knowing that one of their dogs was dying of congestive heart failure. This couple has had more than their share of tragedies. He is widower and she is a widow. Her husband died a year ago, under horrible circumstances and she was bereft. When she lost her two little dogs this year, it had become unbearable. His dog is grieving over the loss of her canine companions.
It was a perfect arrangement. My dog, Gus, was jealous of Jocko so there was a constant battle for my lap. I had fallen in love with Jocko, but I knew there was a better home for him, where he could get a lap 100% of the day.
Of course, my little mischief maker, Gus, is now miserable that Jocko is gone, when they met at the dog park and the two of them began jumping around in joy, playing, snuggling. Go figure.
But this story is about how two people and a dog found each other and found comfort from each other. They already adore him, and he has found his perfect forever home.
That should bring a smile to your face.
Angela Rieck, a Caroline County native, received her PhD in Mathematical Psychology from the University of Maryland and worked as a scientist at Bell Labs, and other high-tech companies in New Jersey before retiring as a corporate executive. Angela and her dogs divide their time between St Michaels and Key West Florida. Her daughter lives and works in New York City.