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Life Lessons I have learned from Charlie


It's now 2019! The end of one year and start of a new one is a time of reflection, goal setting, thinking about what went right and what you can change going forward. I have been studying Charlie for the past two years and have learned so much. Charlie is my little brown pit bull mix (we have no idea with what she is mixed, but I think it has to be an alien life form as evidenced by the size of her ears). She is such a blessing in our life and I am so thankful to my daughter who found her online at the Animal Rescue of New Orleans. I have noticed a few things about Charlie while watching her from the front porch of my house every morning. I sip my coffee and watch her in wonder, and thought I would share what I have learned.

1. Never Quit. Sure we have all heard this. Keep your eye on the prize, never, never, never give up. But what does that mean? Well, as I watch Charlie, I see such dedicated and focused attention on the prize and an unrelenting effort to achieve this prize. The statistics are really low in her favor and her prize most often eludes her. She keeps pressing on, though. Her prize, or should I say squirrel, is just a little faster. It knows how to dart away at just the right time and run up a tree. But Charlie never quits. She sits at the window (cloudy with her breath I might add) and contemplates her next move. She squeals in delight when she sees a squirrel in the yard. I personally believe they taunt her, but that's another topic. Charlie has caught three squirrels in her two years of life. Three successes out of hundreds of attempts. We never talk about the failures, though, when we tell people my dog is so fast she can catch a squirrel. Luckily she only catches them, bats them around a little bit and lets them go.

2. Don't be afraid to ask (or demand in her case) for what you want. In Charlie's case, this is literally incessant and at times annoying. But she gets almost everything she wants. She is subtle at times, nudging my calf with her nose. If I ignore her, she pushes a little harder. If the temptation above (or should I say on the kitchen counter) is too great, she will resort to a short but firm bark. She can sniff 4 mm slice of turkey from the living room and will make sure that this treat will end up in her mouth.

3. Blessings come from above. Almost every treat in Charlie's life falls from above. Food from the kitchen counter or dining table. The squirrels she so loves to pursue drop down from trees. I started thinking this way, and you can really have a change in perspective when you see your day to day as a blessing from above and begin to celebrate the little things that fall in your lap.

4. Rest when needed, but be ready to pounce. Charlie sleeps in the bed of our guest room where my computer is. She sleeps so soundly as I work at the computer and sometimes snores. But if I even hint to getting up out of the chair she is at my feet, ready for whatever is coming. She's always ready. She even sleeps with one ear up in case a squirrel dares enter our yard. I think she needs to chill sometimes, but it isn't her nature, and she is always game for whatever is ahead. She sees joy in everything from throwing the frisbee for her to chase or taking a quick ride in the car. She is a great friend.

5. Love Unconditionally. Charlie's water bowl gets low sometimes, and when we notice it and refill it, she gazes at you like you have handed her a million dollars. (or in doggie terms a pound of bacon) She loves hard and is never afraid to show it. She shows gratitude in everything from the tiny morsel of turkey to the steak bone she gets after we grill out.

6. Dance when you are happy. We keep her leash on the stairs near the front door. If I pick up the leash she immediately begins her "We're going for a walk" dance. She spins in a circle. Or 10. She runs to the couch, sprints around the coffee table, runs back up the stairs and down in a dash, jumps up with a slight turn as she lands and ends her dance by stomping her paws.

As I look at 2019, I have decided my new year's resolution is "Just go." Instead of thinking that the drive somewhere is too long, or I am too tired, just go. I want to be more like Charlie. She is so appreciative and loves unconditionally. I want to be a good wife, mom, daughter, sister and friend. I hope to be more mindful of the people around me and be ready to go when they need me. I count my blessings every day, and just need to remember that they come from above. Here's to a wonderful 2019!!

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5150 Highway 22, Suite C7, Mandeville, LA United States

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