Wisdom From a Puppy: Taking the First Step to Change
Adapting to life with Nolabees has been quite a crazy transition. She has been such a fun addition to our lives, and at the same time she is a lot of work. I’ve never really had a puppy of my own before. It’s different when you’re a kid and you don’t take much responsibility in the care of “your” puppy. Now that I’m on the hook for feeding her, cleaning up after her, taking her for walks and much more, I realize that it’s a bit like having a kid– except on a faster track. Of course that’s coming from someone who doesn’t have any kids. Just like all you human mommies out there, I am an obsessed dog mommy. I show pictures of her, accept her crazy behavior, see the best in her along with the worst, need breaks from her, and often learn from her.
When she first joined our family, I didn’t do a thing for 3 weeks. She was such a sweet little baby… so cuddly, so loving, and all she wanted to do was curl up in my lap. She was a little scared too, so how could I deprive her of the cuddle time that would make her feel at home? The first few days it was hard to shower, and I could barely even cook a meal for myself because she had to be right by my side at all times. While standing there prepping dinner, she’d follow me into the kitchen and cozy up right on top of my feet. You can imagine how that made my heart melt, and it was amazing, except when I needed to actually move around the kitchen to cook. I miss those sweet baby puppy days. I don’t miss the 2 months of waking up every 3 hours to let her out, but I do miss her cute baby innocence.
Her timidity dissolved rather quickly as she became more curious and adventurous. For the first few weeks, Nola was too little to climb the stairs, so I carried her as she fit neatly in one arm. It’s as if she didn’t even notice the stairs… until one day she did. That one day, out of the blue, she just went for it. It wasn’t exactly graceful, but it was the cutest thing ever! And like any proud mom, I knew I had to film her, so I could laugh at her funny forays into new adventures for years to come. Luck was on my side, and I captured it!
If you watch the video (which you should if you want to hit your cuteness quota for the day,) you’ll see this: she clumsily maneuvers the first few steps really well, and then after about 4 or 5 steps, she loses control and skids the rest of the way down to the bottom at high-speed while letting out an excited growl. If we were to judge her on perfection, we’d say she missed the mark. But the point is that she made it to the bottom and clearly had a blast while doing so. Not only was she so thrilled, but she also didn’t even know it wasn’t perfect. She was too happy, fearlessly enjoying the experience and doing what puppies do best: playing! She quickly learned how to navigate the stairs with a little more grace, and then you know what she started to do? Every time she ran down the stairs, she would bark like a madman the whole way down. Today I’m happy to report that was just a phase.
Of course when I saw how fearless she was, I realized the wisdom we can all learn from my silly puppy. She didn’t stand at the top of the staircase for days analyzing how to take a step. She didn’t question how fast or slow she was going to go. She didn’t try to have all the answers, and she certainly didn’t remain stuck at the top of the stairs, paralyzed by fear. She just did it. She knew she wanted to get somewhere, so she took that first step, and she went for it.
And she survived.
Not only did she survive, but she had fun.
Not only did she survive and have fun, but she grew.
It reminded me of how as adult humans, we do the opposite. We analyze, we doubt ourselves, we hem and haw and make excuses about why we can’t take that first step. And that stops us in our tracks. I know many of us want to change something in our lives. It’s always that first step that is the hardest, and it’s the first step that has the potential to prevent us from ever making a move. But once you take the first step, the other foot naturally follows, creating a ripple of change. You may not charge down the steps the way Nola did, but at least you’ll eventually make your way down. So why don’t you try it sometime? Take the first step. So what if you’re not graceful on the way down? No one ever is. You might as well have fun with it. Besides, you never know… someone might think you’re cute if you’re whooping it up (or the human version of barking) with excitement the whole way down.
Try it. I bet you’ll survive. And I bet you’ll have fun. And I bet you’ll even grow.