As a dog, one of my favorite things to do when I go for walks with Mom is to find the most stinky scents to smell. When I'm done with one smelly spot, I can't wait to discover the next one to sniff at. But be careful! If not practiced with caution, it can become a very obsessive habit -- kinda like browsing through your social media feed :-)
Sometimes, the scent is so deliciously stinky I feel like rolling over the grass to make sure I keep that smell on my body all day long. Fun right? #simplepleasures
Well, maybe for us, pups, it's the most exciting thing to do, but not all humans can seem to find the joy in this. For instance, adapting to my sniffing habits has been a learning process for Mom. And it's taken a lot of effort for her to accept me fully just the way I am. It's easy when you first welcome us as a puppy into your house, but what happens when we start showing our real selves? When we aren't that cute anymore - how can love remain and grow?
For Mom, it was vital to understand why my sniffing habits caused her so much struggle. While doing this, she had to admit to herself that for as long as she remembered, she used to obsessively feel the need for things to be sparkling clean in her house. She couldn't stand the thought of germs, and every time she felt discomfort in her body, she would rush to see a doctor.
So you might ask, how can a germophobe have a dog? It just doesn't make sense, right?
Well, when Mom was five, her body experienced an illness, and from that moment on, she started to develop an unconscious fear of germs. To protect her, my grandparents shielded her from everything doctors believed was the cause of this illness. In fact, she wasn't allowed to have pets inside the house. Her diet was very restricted, and she couldn't run or play like other kids for fear of getting sick.
However, as she grew older and had better control of her condition, she decided to welcome me into her life. From day one, I started to claim my territory as I made myself comfortable in my new home, of course, this included the bedroom. Unfortunately, a few weeks went by, and she began to feel very ill again. At this point, she remembered that as a child, she was always told not to let the dogs inside the house, or she would get sick. Imagine having that phrase as a paradigm! #thehorror
Of course, my grandparents didn't mean to create this fear-based belief for Mom. They simply did what they thought was best for their daughter.
Luckily for me, Mom's love and desire to have me in her life became stronger than any disease or old belief. I think she was tired of listening to all the things she wasn't allowed to have or experience. So she decided to fight for me. YAYY!!! Mom told herself she wasn't letting any crappy condition control her any longer and made up her mind to keep me despite the symptoms. And just like that, this became our first relationship test. The most important one Mom passed! #fortheloveofdogs
Learning to cohabit in a world of dirty paws and stinky smells I proudly collect after rubbing my fur on every bush that smells like pee hasn't come easy for Mom. Not to mention, the random times when I step on other dog's poop. Yep, life for us has been one test after another.
Interestingly, the more aware she becomes about the roots of every discomfort she experiences while raising me, the better she feels and can more easily shake away old fears that no longer work for her -- and me!
Eventually, after some time, her old symptoms disappeared. Going through this experience not only improved Mom's wellbeing, but it also enhanced our trust and love for each other.
Love might be a four letter word, but it signifies a lot more than that. Love means accepting someone with all their cute and not so cute traits. Love means patience, perseverance, and forgiveness. Love means understanding that not everything is going to look perfect, and that's okay because, in the end, perfect is not fun. And life is about having fun and embracing the imperfections we all have.
I feel so grateful Mom chose to keep me, despite all odds. Mom loves me as I am, stinky and all. And life couldn't be better!
Love & Paws,