Lead with Courage

This morning I am reflecting on my Doberman dog, Gunny (GySgt).

Two years ago, Gunny suddenly went blind. No warning and no real reason ever determined. I’ve learned so much about resiliency, courage, compassion, empathy, and love from him, and our GSD (German Shepherd Dog), Samantha.

Life in a busy household can be hard for Gunny. We move the furniture. Backpacks and shoes sometimes get left in the middle of the floor. Sounds come out of nowhere and many times they are loud like vacuum cleaners, the creak of an aging chair, or the crash of someone dropping something by accident, even loud laughter and clapping can startle him because he can’t β€œsee” it coming. Many days his normal, safe path disappears. Yet instead of retreating to his kennel and hiding, he boldly explores each new day smelling and guiding himself with his nose and sometimes with a bump to the head. Sam also helps guide him by body checking him when he’s about to run into something and she’s near enough to help, yet sometimes he still clonks his head hard. Some days he struggles to sniff his way to his bowl even though it’s always in the same place. Sure, he gets frustrated on those days, yet he stays the course. He figures out the daily obstacles and roadblocks with curiosity and courage and he wags his stubby tail with excitement and joy no matter the challenges. He has no idea what lies in front of him; he can’t see what’s happening around him, yet he lives full out anyway. He courageously trusts himself (and us, his pack)–sometimes he moves quickly when he’s sure of where he is and others he cautiously high-steps and sniffs a mile a minute–he trusts us and Sam to guide him and he refuses to be anything other than a happy, loving, expressive dog. Sure, he gets tired and sad sometimes and some days seem darker than others. On those days, he cuddles more and is gentler. I think he’s a wise and wonderful teacher and I am so grateful for him. He is a generous, loving soul and we are blessed he chose us.

Think of Gunny today when you feel in the dark; when you feel scared of the path you can’t see. Be brave, be bold; sure you may get a clunk on the head and when you do be gentle with yourself, surround yourself with love and simply back up, regroup and step off in a new direction.

Gunny is languishing peacefully on the warm couch today. His life is full and he soaks up every moment of it. He would tell us all if he could to wag our stubby tails and be happy and to go courageously on adventures because no matter how dark it seems the light is in you and those you love and that’s all you need. Oh, and a good belly rub…and maybe an ugly sweater or two (yep, Dobie dogs get cold and he loves his sweaters!) And don’t forget fresh water and good food.

Let’s all live a little bit more like Gunny today; courageous and faithful and trusting and joyful and generous with kisses, cuddles, and love. I bet the world changes.

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