In a world where every day there is news of some new natural disaster or man made trauma, it is important to also see the lighter side of life to keep the beauty and wonder of the world alive in your heart.
For several months, I have been writing a weekly post at Sundays with Beaumont — Conversations with my Sheepadoodle.
As I said to my eldest sister as we were talking about how cheeky Beaumont is, “I find it fascinating how, even though I am the author, I still can’t win any conversation with Beau!”
Reality check. I’m both sides of the conversation! It’s not that I can’t win. It’s just that I like letting Beaumont get the upper hand! It amuses me and his readers.
Given that these conversations create joy and laughter for those who read them, creating them pleases me and brings me into my heartspace where every act of service, no matter how small, is a reflection of what I want to create more of in the world; kindness, compassion, joy and Love.
So, while these conversations are not ‘real’, they serve a real purpose. They remind me to not take myself so seriously. To not be so caught up in taking myself so seriously, I forget to have fun by creating love and joy in the world.
These conversations also remind me that life is precious, this journey brief. It’s important to find the joy in every day moments.
What do you do to find joy in everyday moments? How do you stay out of the quagmire of taking yourself so seriously, you forget to have fun?
Please join Beaumont and me at Sundays with Beaumont. We’d love to share in the lighter of side of life with you! Click here: Sundays with Beaumont
For quite some time, I have been writing a series of conversations with Beaumont, the Sheepadoodle.
My daughters tell me they’re worried about me. “You know he doesn’t say those things, right mom?”, they ask. Not so delicately I might add.
“Of course he can” I reply.
And while deep inside I know he’s not actually ‘speaking’, I can hear his thoughts. He’s a very expressive dog you know.
In the course of writing down these conversations, I have been posting them on my Facebook wall. The comments are always reassuring — other people believe he can speak too! And they don’t think I’m crazy. (According to my daughters, maybe they do but they’re just not telling me.) But mostly, the conversations bring joy to others. And I love that they do!
Since Beaumont came into our lives just over 3 years ago, I have written over 30 of these conversations, mostly over the past year or so. They give me joy, especially as so many people connect with me over these conversations to tell me of the joy they bring them.
Several people have encouraged me to collect the stories into a book. They’re sure to be a hit, they say.
I’ve begun. It has been my summer project. The compiling of Conversations with a Sheepadoodle named Beau. I’m not sure how I’ll present the photos, whether I’ll sketch them or just leave them as is, but creating this project has been pure joy.
So whether Beau can speak or not, or whether I truly am channelling his voice or it’s just my inner cheeky child having her way or I’m just being silly, the joy of it all fills my heart.
And what could be better than that?
Me: Beaumont. Come. We’ve got to go.
Beaumont: It’s nice and cool here in the river. Why don’t you come in?
Me: Don’t be ridiculous.
Beaumont: Why is that ridiculous? It’s hot out there. Cool in here.
Me: It’s time to go.
Beaumont: Don’t you want to cool off? Kinda seems like you might need to.
Me: I’m fine. Let’s go.
Beaumont: You don’t seem fine to me. You seem kind of grumpy.
Me: I’m not grumpy. I’m just hot and tired.
Beaumont: I rest my case.
Me: We’re leaving now.
Beaumont: As you wish.
And so we left the river’s edge. Beaumont nice and cool and refreshed. Me, not so much.
Tomorrow, we are heading west to the coast and then, across the Strait of Georgia to Vancouver Island and to delightful, laidback in a, hey dude, I’m chillin’ on the west coast, kind of way town on the farthest western shore of Canada, Tofino. A week of beach-combing, cuddling by a cozy fire and chilling out in the rainforest.
I think he’s excited.
Okay, that’s just transference on my part, but if he were aware of where we were going, he’d be excited!
Tofino is a place of treasured memories for me.
Throughout their growing years, my daughters, their friend Vicky and I would head out to Tofino for a week every Easter break. We’d pack the car with everything possible (including 100 Beanie Babies, dress up clothes and other paraphernalia necessary for 3 pre-teen to teens girls to play dress-up on the beach and indulge in other escapades). We’d spend the week by the ocean where we would gambol in the surf, wander the boardwalks through the rainforest and sit on rocks watching seals cavort in the waves. We’d eat and laugh and chatter and dance and play cards and board games and skip through tidal pools and lay in the sun when it was shining, which, given this is the west coast, was sometimes dubious as the weather can often be moody.
Every morning, I’d sneak down to the beach to write a daily installment of a story I’d created just for them in the sand. Every morning, they’d awaken and race to the shore, read the story and act out the tale of three star maidens who climbed down the staircase from heaven to earth every night to cast dreams upon sleeping children. Some mornings, the tide devoured the story before they could. And that was okay. It was all part of the adventure.
C.C., nor Beaumont, have ever been to Tofino.
I’m excited. To share one of my favourite places on earth with the man I love, and the puppy who continues to bring pure joy into our lives every day.
I may, or may not be blogging regularly. For sure tomorrow morning I won’t be as we plan on heading out early to arrive in Vancouver in time for dinner at my sister’s.
For the next week, I will be enjoying the company of my beloved, our pooch and as a special treat, my eldest daughter will be joining us for the weekend.
What a gift. To spend time with those I live in a place that has always filled my heart with loving memories.
The Sheepadoodle families got together yesterday for a play date. Six puppies, many owners and friends. Five of the puppies were from the same litter. One was from a litter born a week later. The mother, rather than being black and white was predominately black. The puppy, predominately black but with the cutest white nose ever.
It was hilarious.
We parents standing in a circle, chatting about our puppies while the puppies rolled about on the ground, chasing one another and acting like crazy fools as they leapt over fallen bodies, dove onto each other and wrestled.
When Beaumont and I arrived, four of the puppies were already in action. He tugged and pulled at his leash as we walked from the parking lot across the field towards them. I let him off his leash and he was gone. Like a bullet, heading into the lump of puppies sniffing and rolling about.
For the next hour he was deaf and blind to my presence. There was no calling him, though occasionally I did manage to grab hold of his harness, make him sit and take a breather.
There’s a lot to be learned from a tangle of puppies playing together.
At first, the puppies played in the grass at our feet. As they gained confidence, or perhaps gained independence and a sense of, ‘forget about obedience, I’m here to play, play, play,’ they moved away from us, running through the stand of trees to one side, running off through the long grasses on the other.
At first they played as a pack but then easily and naturally divided into twosomes, sometimes merging into threesomes and occasionally joining up as the pack for brief periods of time. It’s as if they intuitively knew, the pack was too much energy to handle all at once and kept dividing off.
We owners stood about and chatted like parents of two year olds at a birthday party.
How is your guy doing with training?
How’s her appetite?
Is she completely house trained?
What dog food are you feeding him?
Who’s your vet?
We stood and chatted and the puppies played and we laughed and laughed and laughed at their antics.
The puppies were mostly oblivious to us.
Deaf and dumb to our entreaties to slow down, come here, stop, sit, stay.
We can learn a lot from a pack of puppies playing.
Like, sometimes, its okay to be on top, but you gotta give everyone a chance.
When someone is feeling alone and outcast, don’t hesitate, go over and nip them on the ear to let them know you want them involved in the game. They’ll always listen.
Don’t be shy about joining in. There’s enough play for everyone.
If there’s a water dish full of water and you’re all thirsty, who cares if every head is in the bowl? Sharing is all part of the fun.
Life is about sharing in the tough times and the good. Yesterday, we shared in the joy of six puppies playing and the camaraderie that comes from the shared experience of their presence in our lives.
And always begin your day with laughter. Everything will look sunny and bright if you begin with laughter!
Beaumont and I have a new routine. Every evening we get in the car and drive 10 minutes to River Park. Once there, Beaumont enjoys an hour long off-the-leash frolic and lots of wonderful opportunities to socialize with other dogs (and owners).
He loves it.
River Park is where Ellie the Wunder Pooch and I, as well as Maxie before her, spent countless hours walking and exploring. It has always felt like ‘my park’ and returning to it has been a gift of the puppy kind that simply makes my heart feel light and joyful.
Beaumont gets lots of attention at the park. People are curious about his breed, marvel at his cuteness and are surprised at how social and well-behaved he is for such a young pup. So along with being able to share about what an amazing pup Beau is, it’s also been a great opportunity to observe and learn all about puppy dog etiquette and how to get along, no matter your size, breed or age.
Here are some of the lessons Beaumont and the park have taught me:
Express your happy self.
If you’re happy to be where ever you’re at, don’t feign coolness or shyness or indifference. Express your happiness. Let your smile be the first thing people see. Greet everyone with a wiggly butt and waggy tail, let them know how happy you are to see them, and let them show you how happy they are to see you. Lap up all the attention and revel in being part of this world of wonder!
2. Don’t let the past shadow the present.
This one is a gift Beaumont gives me every time we encounter another dog. In her latter years, Ellie the Wunder Pooch developed fear-based aggression towards other dogs, especially small white dogs and Wheaton Terriers (how she knew the difference between at Wheaton Terrier and a Pitbull is one of life’s mysteries that will never be solved). It became so uncomfortable that I eventually stopped walking with her at the off leash park and would limit her off leash romps to areas I was fairly confident we would not encounter others.
Beaumont has no such fears. They are all mine. Which means, every time we encounter another dog, especially small ones, I feel my pulse quicken and find myself holding my breath in anticipation of some not so friendly behaviours from my pooch.
I am letting the past shadow the present. I am predicting what will happen in the here and now based on what happened in the there and then of the past. In my negative fortune telling, I am creating my own discomfort.
I am learning to breathe and ease my anxiety through reminding myself, Beau is not Ellie and then is not now. This is the time to stay present and revel in the wonders of this moment right now and all the joy it has to offer.
3. Follow your heart.
If that leaf blowing in the wind is calling you to chase it, chase it! You’re only a pup once and what better time to run in circles, chase your tail or simply follow a leaf blowing in the wind?
You only get so many opportunities to run free, to follow your instincts and explore the world in a safe and caring space that allows you to listen to your heart calling. Sure, you gotta also listen to your mistress and pay attention to when she calls you, but seriously? if that leaf is calling you to chase it, run after it with ears flapping, feet flying and heart pounding in the pure joy of being able to run after a blowing in the wind kind of thing.
And Bonus! You’ll make everyone around you smile and laugh and talk about what a cute puppy you are! You’ll bring people together and melt hearts and break down walls that anywhere else than at the dog park would keep people apart.
4. Always stay close to the ones you love most.
First off, they’re the one who’ve got your treats! They’re also the one’s who are scanning the landscape and watching out for incoming BIG dogs. You know, the one’s who’s legs are soooo tall you can’t see their eyes. The hearts that love you most will always be there for you when that ‘bound over to greet the big ones’ bounce of yours takes you just a bit too far out of your comfort zone, leaving you feeling exposed to who knows what kind of mayhem.
It’s okay to come running back to the one you love the most because they’ll reassure you and help you build your confidence to run off and play some more.
And another BONUS! They’ll always give you a treat when you come running back to them, whether they call you or not!
Stay close to the ones you love the most, their hearts love you most too.
I am back to the office today. I’ve been off since Beaumont came home on Wednesday, though yesterday, I took him in for a couple of hours so I could attend a meeting.
He was in heaven. So much attention. So many people to meet and be adored by and adoring of.
This morning, I think we just might have the foundation of a workable routine forming.
Yesterday I bought a portable kennel to put in our bedroom and for C.C. to take to the office when The Beau goes with him.
Last night is the first night he used it and, he slept all night! From 10:30 pm to 5 am. Now that’s progress. Up until last night, I was getting up at least once to let him out. He has a kennel in the kitchen (C.C. says it’s the size of a Parisian apartment). In The Beau’s book, that is just too far away from the one’s he loves! Which means, when put inside at bedtime, he whimpers and whines and yips for a good ten minutes before quietening down. Waking up in the middle of the night, he was reminded of his alone status and pleaded for attention, as well as outside access.
When he went to bed last night, his little head peaked up out of the open top of the kennel. He looked at C.C. and me reading in bed, made sure we weren’t going anywhere and then, with just a little whimper, curled up and went to sleep on the bed in his kennel.
This morning, when I got up at 5, he was sitting quietly waiting for me to release him and take him outside. Now, he’s back in bed with C.C. content to continue sleeping. Yes I know, I wrote ‘in bed with C.C.’ not ‘in his kennel’ This his his morning treat and as this is the first day he’ll not have me home it seems appropriate he get a special treat as C.C. won’t be taking him to the office this morning. He has a golf game at noon and will work from home until then. Which means, The Beau will be alone part of the afternoon until I come home around 3 or 4!
It is all an adjustment, necessary and welcome, but a re-jigging of our schedules and way of doing things none-the-less.
This routine we are creating in the mornings, gives me quiet time for meditation and to write. How perfect is that?
Routine is important in my life. Routine allows me to not think about some of the daily things I have to do to keep my life on track.
Yet, routine gives rise to the contradiction of being present versus being numbed to the moment. It causes me to wonder though if too much emphasis on ‘being present’ can become a routine as well!
I went looking for a quote on the benefits of routine and found little. Most speak to the drudgery and stultifying nature of routine.
For me, routine feels soothing, and in this complex world, things that soothe my feathered soul create peaceful interludes. They give me space to breathe into each moment without having to plan each moment’s breath.
One quote I found that supports my POV is from Daniel Goleman, psychologist and author of Emotional Intelligence. Goleman says, “Scheduling down time as part of your routine is hard but worth it, personally, even professionally.”
Beaumont and I are creating a routine. Part of that requires me to change up how long I appear at my keyboard every morning. To ensure Beaumont’s well-being, and create my peace of mind, I must carve out some time for that all essential morning walk.
Time is finite and I have no desire to get up earlier than 5 am. So, the time must be carved from what exists right now, in this space here.
I’ve cut back from 90 minutes at my computer to 60. We’ll see how it goes.
For now, I’m off to engage in my morning routine and to add the delight of a morning walk with The Beau! How delightful is that!
Before Beaumont entered our household I warned Marley, The Great Cat, that life as he knew it was about to end.
I should have told myself the same thing.
Puppydom is an adventure.
Sleep schedules are disturbed. House-proofing for puppy teeth is necessary. Vigilance essential.
And I wouldn’t change a thing, even the fact my schedule is more erratic, less predictable and definitely not always my own. But I am loving my naps!
Like having a new baby in the house, a puppy demands constant attention and continuous watching. A moment of silence and no sign of Beaumont in the same room is not a good thing. One minute a wooden box is just a wooden box for keepsakes, the next, it’s a teething ring. A mad spin playing chase about the house is just a happy dance until suddenly, in the flash of an eye, it ends with a squat and a small puddle appearing on the floor before I even have time to recognize the signs of nature’s call for bladder relief.
Where once every room had open doors, now gates block easy access through those doorways that do not have doors. Hardwood flooring is a gift. Rugs are either mistaken for grass or possibly the newest chew toy.
And I wouldn’t change a thing.
Beau the Warrior Pup is a gift. A wonderful, delightful, squirmy gift of love and licks and puppy breath and big dark eyes pleading for attention, yearning to get closer and closer to my heart.
And, he is a lesson in patience.
There is no sense in getting angry at a puppy. No need. They are driven by the moment, with nary a thought for the future, though there are moments when I lose myself in forward thinking ‘hurry-up this puppydom’ stage so he’ll be all grown up and we can get back to life as we knew it. Thing is, life as we knew it ‘sans puppy’ is over. Life with Beau is the way of the future. Good thing Beau has the natural ability to bring me back to the here and now. In the here and now is where the action is, where life is happening, good and bad. With Beau’s presence I am learning to pay attention to what’s going on around me and not thinking about what life will be like in some unknown, future time.
In one of the books I’ve been reading on raising a puppy the author says that if your puppy makes a mess in the house, don’t hit his nose with a newspaper. Instead, take that rolled up newspaper and hit yourself over the head. You’re the reason he just made that mess on the floor. You’re the reason your favourite Italian designer shoes got chewed up. Pay Attention! Take Care and above all, stay firm, consistent and aware at all times. There’s no such thing as a natural born bad puppy — there are only undisciplined owners who are unwilling to put in the time, with love and patience, to raise their puppy right.
Patience is essential in raising a puppy. Patience and consistency. Oh, and a kennel and lots of freeze-dried liver treats and toys and breathing. Ah yes, breathing. Deep calming breaths that remind me, no matter what’s happening around me, to stay calm and puppy on.
I’m puppying on. Like life, Beau reminds me that this is a joyful journey best taken with ample doses of exuberance, curiosity, laughter and, no matter what, love. Always love.
I will be writing in the days and weeks to come, not as consistently as in the past, but I will be here, and while I won’t always be writing about Beau the Warrior Pup, he will be appearing here a lot! I guarantee it. He’s a heart-stealing, soul invading warrior pup. And, he’s just so dang cute! 🙂