Treat Yourself Like A Dog

I’m working on a project and I’d like to share a just bit of it with you. Since we’re saying goodbye to a worn out year and welcoming a new one, I think it’s appropriate that we shed old habits that no longer serve us. For me, change begins in my brain. I’d really appreciate hearing what you think, so please make comments.

The picture is of Puppy and this is her story:

They were driving through a Florida downpour when my daughter Taylor screamed, “Stop the car! Pull over!”

Their Jeep came to a screeching halt. My son-in-law Mark jumped out and came back moments later, his arms laden with the saddest, sickest, skinniest dog you can imagine.

Taylor was in tears, trying to keep their German shepherd, Marshall, calm. My granddaughter was reaching for the strange new dog folded and quaking in her father’s arms. “Puppy,” little Adelaide called. “Puppy.”

And that’s how Puppy became part of the family.

You should know that Puppy is a blonde Boxer. Boxers, at their peak, are big, strong dogs, bred for their athleticism. They come from the bull family of canines, but aren’t instinctively as aggressive as some of their relatives. They’re meant to weigh around 100 pounds.

Taylor knew none of this. All she knew was that her heart was shredded by the sight of a bony, suffering dog in desperate need of love and care.

Puppy had no tags, no collar, and no homing chip. The vet was skeptical at best. “She’s very old. Her teeth are rotten and her bones brittle. She’s flea ridden. And incontinent.”

“We’re keeping her,” Taylor said.

The veterinarian leaned forward. “I don’t think you comprehend what you’re getting yourselves into.”

“We’re keeping her,” Taylor repeated.

Mark petted Puppy’s head. “She seems like such a sweet dog. What’s she been through—and why?”

The doctor shook his head. “Hard to say. Probably abandoned. If I had to guess, I’d say she’s been on her own for months—maybe years. The crook in her back leg tells me a car hit her. Her scars say she’s been in plenty of dogfights. Her cracked ribs indicate that she’s been kicked hard and repeatedly.”

“Can she heal?” Mark asked.

The veterinarian shrugged. “She’s going to need a lot of care. The medical attention she’ll require will be very pricey, not to mention ongoing.”

Mark swallowed. He was in school, working nights to support his wife and daughter and Marshall, the rescue dog Taylor had before they met.

“Whatever my wife wants,” he said.

“I want to give her a home,” Taylor said. “Puppy deserves a chance.”

And that was that. When there was no response to the “found dog” ad they ran, Puppy stayed put.

Let’s pause here because I’m going to ask you to think of yourself as Puppy—or any animal that’s been abused, neglected, and damaged. I want you to take a deep breath and hold it. When you release it I want you to feel the pain go out of you. The shame leave. Feel despair dissipate.

It’s time, my friends, to change the most damaging thoughts of all…the harmful thoughts that have defined you and held you back and held you down, especially the thought that tells you have no worth. You are worth saving; you’re worth any pricey rescue.

That said, no one else is going to rescue you. No one else can change your weak and harmful thinking. It’s all on you. That doesn’t mean you’re alone or without resources, because that is simply not true. So here’s what I want you to do—I want you to start treating yourself like a dog.

Would you kick a broken dog? Would you call that dog ugly because it’s scarred and battered? Would you heap shame and disgrace on an already fragile and wounded animal?

No. You. Would. Not.

And so it’s time to stop treating yourself that way. Stop programming your brain to believe the worst about you. Stop using hurtful words and tones to describe and define you. Stop harming yourself physically with food, alcohol or drugs. Stop neglecting your self-care. No more injury inflicted by you on you. Cease to think thoughts that limit you, and start thinking of thoughts that empower you.

(This is where I’ll end for now, but I do have one particular “power thought” in mind. We’ll get to that later, but for now, I’d very much appreciate hearing what thoughts you’d like to clean out of your brain. And which thoughts you’d like to start believing about yourself.)

Loads of Love and Gratitude,

Toni

One thought on “Treat Yourself Like A Dog

  1. I’m a pretty good troubleshooter and this ability has served me and even others well throughout my adult life. However, like most personal characteristics, there are also unhealthy extremes. For example, when I use troubleshooting to awfulize a currently difficult situation I notice two things: (1) I usually notice that the actual outcome is rarely what I imagined, and (2) how unhealthy this practice of awfulizing feels to my soul. So, what do I want to keep out of my brain? Well regardless of how many times my efforts fall short, I am making a lifetime commitment right now to keep myself on a path that avoids awfulizing difficult situations. Instead, I will replace this unhealthy practice of awfulizing with a more healthy practice of reminding myself to simply choose to learn and grow from whatever life brings.

    Liked by 1 person

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