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  • Writer's pictureHoekema Family

Lessons our dogs teach us

Live in the moment and be patient-

Dogs are phenomenal at living in the present moment, especially retrievers. Yesterday is gone, tomorrow is unknown and today is the only present they live for. See the beauty in running through a wading pool, enjoy a quick nap with your feet stretched out into a sun spot, and soak up the energy of the loved ones around you. They teach you just to be, and to just to be patient. Don't look too far ahead and just live in the here and now.

Play every day and jump for joy-

I spend countless hours watching my dogs run, zoom, chase, jump and play with each other. Leia jumps off the porch with all 4 feet at the same time, spins 180 and lands perfectly with all 4 feet planted again. Everyone should try this maneuver, it forces joy all over your face. Jump like joy like Leia. Isla attaches herself to Meiko’s tail and Leia chomps on Sola’s ears. Then they all take off together and bolt from the main pen into the puppy pen chasing each other at full speed. They are extremely happy dogs and when they play in this way their smiles are wider then wide. I think everyone could benefit from playing I'm this manner even every now and then.

Enjoy the journey-

When dogs go for a car ride, they stick their head out the window, smash their nose into the air and inhale the wind. They don't care in the slightest where they're going. They're just enjoying the journey. Although goals are great to set, we often forget that it's the journey that matters most.

Be loyal and dependable-

Dogs are pack animals. They stick and bond so crazy close with their pack. They play and romp with their pack. They defend their pack when they feel the need arises. This is a great reminder for all of us to be conscientious members of our own loved and cherished human pack. The Golden (creme) rule of treating others how you would like to be treated applies here and now. Being a loyal and dependable friend, sibling, partner or parent will enrich your life in oh so many ways.

Love unconditionally-

No matter what, retrievers will love you unconditionally. They wag their tails with immense joy when you come home to them no matter what state you're in. They always want to give you big wet slobbery kisses and they instantly forgive you no matter how you behave. Loving others unconditionally is a lesson we could all strive towards just a touch more every day.

Be more adaptable –

I use this term quite a bit, retrievers are extremely adaptable. House with a yard, apartment with a rooftop, condo with backyard trails. They adapt. No matter what the plans are for the weekend, whether it's to run on the beach, go hiking, sleep next to a sick child all day or to do a bit of absolutely nothing, they will find a way to adapt and thrive to just about anything.

Accept Praise –

Dogs teach us to graciously and happily accept praise from everyone. Wag your tail, give a smile and accept praise with love.

Get enough sleep -

Dogs are incredible at sleeping wherever and whenever they need to. Sprawled across the cold concrete blocks or spread out on the cool spool table tops, they sleep... whenever they want, whenever they feel they need to. Be more like Meiko, sleep right in the middle of the yard. Sleep like Sola, next to the water trough that recently got tipped over. Nap like Isla and Leia with no care about what's next. Just check out, close your eyes once in a while and give back to yourself.

Spend more time outside-

as my dogs white furry toes sink into the dusty dry dirt of summer I kick off my sandals myself and let the dust engulf my energy. It's almost as if they switch places. The 'dust' that sits upon my being sinks into the earth and the energy of the earth creeps up through my toes and takes over any lingering 'dust' left that's upon me. My dogs sprint into the trees every night and I know it's the energy of these trees that widens their love for the great outdoors.

Go after the things that are important to you and stay focused -

When Sola chases her ball her eyes are on that ball with intense focus and nothing could stray her away from obtaining that prize. Go after what you want, focus and strive for the prize.

Do the things that make you happy -

From digging a hole big enough to bury your sister in to diving so long into a water bucket you choke but come up smiling, to chasing a squirrel across mamas garden even though you know you’re not allowed in there, to snuffling in the compost pile to find that perfect year old kohlrabi root to munch on in the sun.... all these things make these dogs crazy happy, why shouldn't you go after the things that make you happy?

Our dogs help teach us so many lessons, companionship, loyalty, to love, to love again, to play and to simply be. These are unmatched by any human standards. I am always astonished at how they are able to do all these things so well.

So as this week has filled my thoughts with so many valuable lessons that all my dogs have bestowed on me, I come back to the present.

Sola is finally slowing down a bit, not wanting to play ball as long or not wanting to chase the squirrels anymore. She’s still very active but just not quite up to speed the way she normally is. She has turned a bit more clingy this week, if that’s at all possible for a retriever. In one of these pictures you can see her scooting along the fence line right under my hand as I try to add in some ground fencing to the puppy pen. Wanting to be literally right under my hands at all times. That fencing took longer to accomplish with all of them right under my feet but I didn’t have the heart to separate them from such a fun activity. Speaking of the fencing, the puppy pen is now complete. For those that follow me on Facebook I posted new pictures of the addition there a few days ago. Leia immediately figured out how to dig under the gate that divides the 2 pens, of course it was Leia! Retrievers love to dig, just a warning to all the new future puppy owners! Leia loved being part of the installation of the fencing piece into the ground under the gate until she realized what I was actually doing. Poor girl Ha! I’m immensely looking forward to having this split system fencing to be able to have the new babes separated to make the transition to you a bit easier.

Isla continues to grow straight up getting leggier and taller each day. She’s growing into quite the beauty. Leia has a similar look of course being her half sister but her own look all to herself as well. I’m really looking forward to seeing her grow out of her puppy stage and into her more matured state. Her coat is starting to come in recently, wavy. long and curly just like Isla's. So exciting!

Meiko is still taking her own sweet time dreaming of pups probably coming the day after these upcoming pups all go to their new homes. No rest for the weary! For now she teaches me more patience and to love every minute of this journey.

My mind skips back to the last 2 weeks for Sola and the few days we have left really. My whelping box will get pulled out this week, puppy gates, nursery items and the house rearranged to prepare for the big day ahead. I feel as if Sola is already quite big for still having 2 weeks left so we’ll see how many pups she graces us with. I’m ecstatic to see if I can bless an extra family or 2 with a pup that they weren’t expecting this early. I love that part! Well I love all the parts really but joy from every corner fills my heart with this whole process. For those on this upcoming litter list, don’t worry, I will keep my phone close by and give you play by plays as Sola starts her process of bringing these little bundles into this world.

Rainy season is coming in unfortunately but with living in WA we all learn all the tips and tricks to make our days a little easier and a little drier. All my dogs have insulated coats and rain coats to keep the weather off of them when we go for our walks every day (never miss going out). We have piles and piles of towels to soak up any last moisture left behind on them and then the heater just gets turned up just enough to keep them all dry, toasty and warm. A canopy tent comes in handy for new puppy owners set up outside their doorway for a quick covered potty area. An idea to look into for everyone. As always we all send our very best of course. To all the families that have been patient throughout this journey, to the couple(s) who have and continue to grieve, to the singles who look forward to having their forever buddy and the children who look forward to adding warm to their beds. The days ahead are now very few. The next weeks ahead will fly by as you fill each and every day with new pictures of your forever fur friend that will soon be 'glittering' your home with love in oh so many ways.


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