Feeling Defeated? Remember Your First Love

Honey pulled with all her strength.

Once she felt the sand between her toes, she did her happy dance and flopped down on her back in sheer joy.

Honey remembered her first love.

Honey the golden retriever rolls on the beach.

The beach really is my first love. I’m only 6 months old in this picture.

Tired And Defeated

I’d love to have adorable pictures of Honey frolicking in a warm setting or reports of meeting some of my favorite blog writers who live south of us.

Unfortunately we’re still at the boatyard in Deltaville, Virginia.

Honey the golden retriever in the cockpit at Deltaville.

I love sitting in the cockpit on a sunny day. But the view doesn’t change much when we’re tied to the dock.

And although everyone tells us we have a great attitude toward the mishaps that come our way (fouling our propeller with a line when we tried to leave, burning out our clutch, and receiving a rebuilt part that wasn’t finished at the factory and delaying our travel once more), we’re all feeling a bit tired and defeated.

I think it’s even true for Honey.

She’s sleeping late, for one thing. I think our low moods are affecting her.

But sometimes when you’re struggling, it’s good to get a reminder of why you’re working so hard. And we did that last week.

First Love

When it became obvious we’d be waiting a while at the boatyard, we rented a car for two weeks.

It gave us a chance to visit family only a few hours away and made us feel a little less stranded in an empty boatyard on the edge of a town with a winter population of 800 people.

Honey the golden retriever running with her ball.

Winter in a Virginia boatyard means I have no competition for this ball. But I better run just in case I’m wrong.

Last week, we decided to drive down to our next stop when we finally get underway. Yep, that’s the thing about sailing. A day’s travel by sail equals about an hour’s drive by car.

I wasn’t too excited about the trip. I’m not a big car person. But I thought it would be good for all of us to enjoy a new setting.

Luckily we found a quiet beach along the Chesapeake Bay that helped us all remember why we were working so hard to make life on a boat work. And it was there that Honey and we remembered our first love.

Honey adores the beach.

She loves sniffing out creatures living in shells, sea plants, and under the sand. She likes rolling on them even more.

And we loved looking out on the water. Spotting the buoys and markers, we imagined steering our course into the harbor.

Ham brooks light in Cambridge, MD.

Leaving Cambridge to head south. It feels like a lifetime ago.

Yeah, it was a grey day. And it was kinda chilly. But it was still a good reminder of our first love.

When The Going Gets Tough

I’ve felt really guilty about feeling low because our boat is stuck in a safe harbor. Talk about a first world (ugh, I hate that phrase) problem.

After all, there are people fleeing war zones in life boats and every kind of suffering you can imagine.

But everyone feels tired and defeated sometimes.

Just in the world of dog lovers, I know people grieving loss, caring for pets with health problems, and struggling with serious behavior issues.

Maybe we all need a reminder to remember our first loves when we’re struggling with non-life threatening problems.

Walking along the beach with Honey helped us remember what we love. And it gave us something to meditate on when the electricity went out last night leaving us in a boat whose temperature got into the low 40s.

Honey the golden retriever with her ball.

Shhh, don’t tell my ball he’s only my second love. He might run away.

So if you’re frustrated, tired, or defeated, maybe you need a moment to recover your first love with your dog. Is it time to bring out a favorite toy or treat? Take a walk in a favorite place? Visit someone you both love? Or maybe just cuddle up on the couch doing not much of anything.

Because there’s no better cure for being sick and tired than being reminded of your first love.

Your Turn: When you and your dog feel tired and defeated, is there a “first love” you return to to make you feel better? What is it?


  1. http://Martine says

    I don’t know if it’s our ‘first love’, but the whole family loves snowshoeing. The dogs have so much fun breaking trail, and going off into the woods following tracks left by a hare or a fox. Traipsing through the woods in the winter gives us the opportunity to see a lot more. In the summer, foliage limits our viewing. Plus, no bugs! It’s a little slice of rejuvenation for us.

  2. Not really a first love, but we do enjoy exploring our area and finding new parks or places to hike.

  3. Geez Pamela, you guys are having such bad luck. It WILL all turn around, and you WILL have a wonderful trip south.

  4. This is a great post! Thank you for the reminder! I’m glad Honey was able to help you remember what you love most. My girls are also huge fans of the beach. It was the first little road trip we ever took Zoe on. 😀 I hope everything gets worked out on the boat for you soon!

  5. You guys have faced far, far more than your share of trials. But I love this post. So sweet! I’m not sure about it being a “first love,” but we always, always head back to the woods when things get too stressful. Hikes are the perfect way for me to clear my head and take big, deep breaths!

  6. What a great reminder!

  7. Chance, Blaze and I indulge in sharing a bowl of ice cream when I’m feeling at the end of my rope. It is very soothing and special quality time together.

    I don’t know how you three are doing it, but hang in there. 🙂 We’re thinking of you.

  8. What a bummer. Sure hope you can get your journey started again soon. I guess it is all new and a big learning curve.

  9. And to think I thought you were closer to me by now. Keep the faith – this too shall pass. Tell Honey the beach is coming soon.

  10. Nothing quite like the vision of seeing a pupster running after (or with) a ball. Sheer joy. Hope the boat issues ‘sail’ away soon! 🙂

  11. Winter often leaves us feeling tired and defeated around here. A good game of fetch on an above freezing day in the sunshine is always a mood booster for all of us.

  12. Geez, I’m sorry you’ve had to deal with so much “stuff” while trying to get underway on your new life! I’m not sure I’d have stuck with the plan after all that. Hopefully things will take a turn for the better very soon!

    When I’m feeling low or defeated, I take Shadow outside with me and just launch her ball with the “Chuck It!” toy a few dozen times – unless it’s raining or snowing, in which case I just find something else for us to do inside – until just being with my girl makes me feel better. And if Ducky is home, I bring her outside with us. I can’t even begin to count the number of times Shadow and I spent hours in the yard together after Callie passed.