On the New Year, Leaps of Faith, and the Perfect Dog

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For me, the new year is always an exciting – and somewhat unnerving – time. Twelve whole months loom before me, filled with so much potential and so many things I could never anticipate.

This time four years ago, the thought of adding another dog to our family hadn’t even crossed my mind. My husband and I had talked occasionally about the type of dog we would get when the time came. Some sort of sporting dog he could hunt with. A dog who loved to experience new things and new places. A confident, outgoing dog who would allow me to get its therapy dog certification someday. A dog who could go anywhere, do anything we wanted to do.

Not a brindle, pit bull-type dog with crazy-big bat ears. Not a dog who had such a terrible start to life that she was petrified of ceiling fans and the doormat and her reflection in the oven door and, well, anything different. Not a dog who came into any new setting looking around like something was going to swoop out of the sky and gobble her up. In other words, not Mayzie.

Now, this is something you must know about me. I’m a planner. I don’t make big decisions hastily. I research. I talk to people. I look at all angles and break it down into small steps that will help me reach the final goal. I think it over a long time before finally “pulling the trigger.” I do not take leaps of faith.

Yet when Mayzie first sat in my lap and looked into my eyes, I jumped. And when I landed, what I found was that no, I hadn’t gotten the perfect dog. Instead, I had gotten the perfect dog for me.

Because for all her quirks, she is the sweetest, gentlest, most loving soul I have ever encountered. She has a wacky sense of humor and makes me laugh every single day with her goofiness. And when she cuddles up to me and sighs a little sigh of contentment and lets me know how much she trusts me, it makes me so happy I could cry.

Just a few of the many things she has taught me in the time we’ve had her…

  • The world is big and scary but infinitely interesting.
  • Anything that appears big and scary can be brought down to size if you just walk up and bop it with your nose.
  • Learning new things is fun and gives you confidence.
  • The best way to make friends is to wag your tail and smile.
  • Cheese can get you through a lot of tough times.
  • Patience really is a virtue, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy.
  • Greet the ones you love with absolute reckless abandon, even if you just saw them five minutes before.
  • Make time to play at least once each day.
  • Forgive, forgive, forgive.
  • Decide each morning that this is going to be the very best day of your entire life.

And of course, the most important thing Mayzie has taught me is that when life takes you to unexpected places, sometimes the best decision you can make is to take a leap of faith.

Happy New Year! And happy leaping!

Amber Carlton is a freelance blogger and business writer specializing in the pet industry. Owned by two dogs and two cats, she is affectionately (?) known as the crazy pet-lady amongst her friends and family. Connect with her at Comma Hound Copywriting, on Twitter or at Mayzie’s Dog Blog.

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