The Puppiness Project – You’ve Gotta Have Hope

Gretchen Rubin wrote in The Happiness Project about the year she spent “test-driving the wisdom of the ages, the current scientific studies, and the lessons from popular culture about how to be happy.” The Puppiness Project is my attempt to learn the same from Honey, my Golden Retriever.

Honey is a hopeful dog

What bedtime looks like at my house:

Golden Retriever on the bed with toys

This time, I know they'll let me stay. That's why I brought some of my favorite toys along.

Pam and Mike shut down the electronics for the night and start the bedtime rituals—pajamas, toothbrush, putting out clothes for the next day.

Meanwhile, Honey establishes herself on the bed. Right in the middle. She looks up at us expectantly before laying her head down and drifting off to sleep.

Here’s the thing, though. Honey doesn’t sleep on our bed at night.

Her crate is right beside Mike’s side of the bed. And she’s happy enough to go in there when Mike gives his cue (the distinctive sound of kibble being picked up from a glass bowl) for her to jump off the bed and enter the crate .

Once in the crate, Honey settles right down to sleep. But every night, she demonstrates her hope that she’ll get to sleep on the bed by staking out her spot.

Honey is a smart girl. She knows that in the nearly two years she’s lived with us, she’s never slept on the bed with both of us all night long.

But Honey holds out hope. Maybe this time it will be different.

The opposite of hope

The antonym of hope is despair. But if you dial back the intensity, I think discouragement also works.

Unlike Honey, I’m not good at trying the same thing over and over again without hitting my target. I get discouraged.

I am good at inertia, however. If I were a superhero, I would be Inertia Girl—once I start something I can’t stop. Of course my downfall is that if I stop doing something I can’t restart. That’s how inertia works.

So even if I don’t have a lot of hope that what I’m doing will bear fruit, inertia will keep me doing it for a good long time.

I need to figure out how hope can help move me forward instead of just plodding on the same course thanks to inertia.

Looking for hope in new places

I’d like to think that some day I could become an entrepreneur. That I could use my creativity in practical ways to craft a good life for myself and my family.

See, I do have some hope, don’t I?

I’ve acted on my entrepreneurial urges before. Several years ago I led personal writing workshops (journaling) operating as Spiral House. I only stopped because I needed to bring in more income quickly to help support a family member. And I’ve never had the time to get back to it or something else like it.

I started blogging for pleasure and found I really enjoyed the creativity of exploring new ways of thinking about the same old things, both at Something Wagging and my other blog, Hands on Home Buyer.

Is it possible that I could find creative ways to earn a few extra dollars and make other dreams and interests possible?

Learning from hopeful Honey

Whatever my dreams or goals I set for myself, I need to keep my eye on hopeful Honey.

Whether signing up to foster dogs or expressing my entrepreneurial urges, I need to have enough hope to keep me moving forward, even when it feels like I don’t have time or am just butting my head up against a brick wall.

Golden Retriever in bed with woman

Oh no. You're not supposed to let everyone know what we look like when we first wake up. I'm so embarrassed.

After all, if Honey can jump all the way up on our big bed every night in hopes of getting to stay while getting kicked off night after night, I can battle the internet and writer’s block. Right?

Have any of your animals taught you about hope?


Update:I planned this topic for the Puppiness Project so it would fit in with Alfie the Entelbucher’s Monday Mischief Pet Blog Hop. And then I lost track of what I was doing. Oops!

So here I am late to the party.

Check out all the other blog posts today and join Alfie and his friends.


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  1. I have a hard time figuring out when to hang on to hope and when to let it go and try something else.

    I am like the ant moving the rubber tree plant, I’ve got high hopes, I’ve got high hopes, high apple pie in the sk—————–y hopes.

    I keep thinking if I just hang in there, it will all fall into place for me. I guess I’m the one who keeps jumping up on the bed night after night. :-)

  2. Good for you, Pamela. I am so back and forth about such things. Lately I feel like I have been doing more head butting than anything else. A re-prioritzation (word? yes? no?) is in order as I need to decide what the heck I am doing with my time.

    I think this is a very hopeful post and must you know all of your readers are full of encouragement for your future. Whatever you decide to do, I know you (and honey) will be a huge success.

  3. Maybe Honey is trying to get the bed warm for her humans before they get in. GR’s are such sweet therapy dogs, I just finished a book about them as sympathetic beings who seem to know what humans need. That is something we can all learn from them.

  4. Persisting to achieve a goal is an important trade entrepreneurs share with Honey. It is not for me to judge, but I think you have plenty of persistence. Don’t spread yourself to thin.

  5. Pick up the book Learned Optimism by Martin Seligman. It’s all about how being optimistic leads to success in life. In fact, Seligman believes we are born optimistic, and only become pessimists through bad life experiences. (Babies, he points out, never give up trying to learn to walk no matter how many times they fall on their butts.)

    Whatever your goals are, Pam, you will achieve them with integrity and style. I’ve already ordered the wool for the wings I’m knitting. :)

  6. I’ve definitely learned a lot about hope and perseverance from my dogs. In the last year, we’ve told Blueberry “no” a lot of times when she wanted to go with us. Part of it was because she was recovering from her surgery and toe break, and part of it was because we didn’t want to leave Lilac home alone. But every time we’d get ready to go, Blue was in the kitchen, vibrating with excitement over the thought of being included. It wasn’t that she never got to go, either, but a lot of times we left her home. Now that we’ve started taking her more often again, it just makes her so happy. There’s something about seeing her in particular being really happy that warms my heart and would make me to go great lengths to make her so.

  7. I am so happy to see you here on the hop!

    Honey is one smart girl!! When all else fails, try again!
    I think that hope is one thing that keeps me going, without out it I don’t think I would be the person that I am today!!! Sometimes it’s hard to hang on to it though!!!

  8. Hi there guys,

    It’s great to meet you through the Monday Mischief Blog Hop!!

    I’m very impressed with Honey’s never give up attitude – I’m only 1 and a half and I know that every now and then it pays off!! Not that I get to sleep on the bed either – but I don’t care, cos I’ve taught my Mum and Dad that I NEED a Dentastix before I go to bed and once the night time routine starts – I follow them around, just so they don’t forget!! As soon as they go in the cupboard and get it out they just have to say the command – Time for Bed – and I literally sprint around the furniture into the lounge and hop into my bed!!

    Until the other day Mum thought that my bed or the floor was where I slept every night, until she got up extra early and found me on the SOFA !! Tee Hee Well, it’s a good second best to the bed – I used to imagine I would never sleep on the sofa – I just had to be patient and work out how to achieve my goal! :)

    See, everything’s possible! :)

    Have a fun day,

    Your new pal Snoopy :)

  9. One of our friends does not feed Elka. I mean, he’ll put her food into her bowl when necessary, but that’s it. He does not share the last bite of his sandwich, a shred of cheese, nothing. And Elka always goes and sits in front of him, pretty as you please, and stares at him and licks her chops. 2 years later, this friend gave her a pizza crust. Miracles do happen!

  10. I admire your intertia – I’m great at starting things, but get bored easily and lose interest. Fortunately, Rod is wonderful at follow-through and has made the perfect business partner (and husband) for me. Considering a business partner with skills that compliment yours might be a great way to ensure your success. You’ve also got a lot of friends that are here to cheer you on – don’t hesitate to call on us!

  11. I always cuddle up with my humans at night too – and like Honey, I never give up hope they’ll let me stay the whole night! Humans really do have a lot to learn from us dogs.

  12. Aww. I love Honey’s nightly ritual! hope everlasting :)
    Gwynn shows me it’s worthwhile hoping in spite of failure regularly. He’ll be so bad and completely indifferent to anything I’m trying to do with him one day, and hte next, he’ll be like, “I knew it all along. also, i mastered it.” And, no matter how long it takes for us to get something, he’s just as enthusiastic about it.

  13. I love this installment of the Puppiness Project. It’s definitely something I need to work on in my own life too. :)

  14. Maybe Honey is just enjoying her routine – I love the idea that she is warming up the bed for you :) I think I always give up when things start getting a little too uncomfortable . . a little inertia would probably help me (and some hope too!) We definitely have so much to learn from our dogs :)

  15. Hope is often a tough one to have but something we all need. You said it very well. Nice post. : )

  16. Dewi does the same thing as Honey. I have to maneuver him out of the limp squid position every night. :) They simply lack the ability to compute probability. :)

    Have faith in yourself! Do not despair! If there’s a will, there’s a way (how corny-but true-was that?). Also, do yourself a favor and forget all rules of probability. 😉

  17. I love to start things. I love the planning and the thinking it out and the newness of it all. I am always so hopeful that things will be great. You know what I’m not so great at? Execution. Apparently, I think the laws of time do not actually apply to me and when I can’t find the time to execure *exactly as I want* I lose all hope of making anything of the project and scrap it. It’s amazing that Kol’s Notes has kept me excited so very long. I could totally take a lesson from Honey.