Thank you to Kristine over at Rescued Insanity who mentioned Expect the Best From People from my Puppiness Project series as one of her favorite posts last year. She inspired this post.
Years ago I heard a radio interview with a divorce attorney. The interviewer asked, “What is your best advice for people getting married?” He replied, “Low expectations.”
I think I gasped out loud when I heard that. And then I thought some more and realized he was right.
We expect a lot from others in our lives. And no one can live up to that burden. So the best thing to do is to not “expect” anything but to “accept” who the creatures in our lives truly are.
It’s true for marriage, it’s true for dogs.
It was this idea that led me to write the mantra I learned from Honey, “We’re all doing the best we can.” And since I wrote that, I have been trying to live it–to not be so judgmental and to assume everyone is just muddling along with whatever powers they have at the moment.
Some of the blog posts that have touched me the most this year have been when people shared mistakes they’ve made. I find it helpful to know that even people with great expertise sometimes have to change a decision they’ve made, a mistake is not the end of the world, and there is grace in figuring out how to fix a mistake.
So here are some of the posts that I’ve been touched by recently that demonstrate we’re all doing the best we can:
- Patricia McConnell at The Other End of the Leash summed up in Life is One Continuous Mistake the challenging decisions involved in first adopting and then rehoming the puppy Hope. I’m so happy she shared this and opened her life to her readers.
- Erica at Paws to Rufflect has learning from mistakes as a major theme of her blog. Which makes it very endearing to me. And very useful. In her post, The Perfect Dogs Raised by the Perfect Dog Trainer, she reflects on her “perfect” dogs and their unique qualities.
- 24 Paws of Love is the story of two families of dogs separated (for now) but trying to bring everyone together. This recent post of a sledding adventure made me laugh (glad it wasn’t me). And I related to how one bad choice can really add to the adventure.
- Life with Dogs runs the gamut–cute videos, heartrending stories of neglected animals, and inspiration. But I’ve never seen anything that got quite this reaction: Elizabeth Withey’s Heartbreak Moves in After Pet Moves Out. The post tells of her decision to rehome her fox terrier after finding the family unable to cope with him after the arrival of a new baby. According to some commenters, rehoming a dog responsibly has now become a capital offense. I think this is such an important discussion for anyone who really cares about dogs.
- And we’ll end with Kristine of Rescued Insanity who started everything off. In Easier to Train than My Gerbil, Kristine tells her adventure (with a happy ending) of allowing Shiva to play off leash.
This last post brought a very similar adventure back to me. However, I made it worse because while my husband and I were fighting about whether it was a good idea to let Shadow off leash, she shimmied under a fence and took off down the field. Fortunately, we don’t always pay the price for our stupid decisions.
So here’s to a new year with lots more mistakes to learn from! Happy New Year!