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Last night my Shih-tzu and I went for the second night in a row to an animal shelter to visit with a very sweet Irish Setter Collie mix. We waited 45 minutes to visit with this beauty the night before and the shelter was ready to close when we got our turn. So after a brief visit, I was asked to bring Coco back for another visit the next night because there wasn’t time to process an adoption anyway. But, my heart was already captured by this charmer with one blue and one brown eye. She was great on the lead and not at all dominant with Coco. After just a few minutes I knew this dog was for us and the handlers felt so as well. When we left, I went like a new parent to the store and proudly purchased nearly $100 worth of toys, food and bowls in anticipation of her homecoming the next night.
Then last night when we got there for our second visit, her regal stance along with her striking red coat and white face charmed me all over again. As I had uttered the words, “Let’s do the paperwork,” I was struck with the fact that through some miscommunication I would not be able to take her because my son who lives in the home was not with me. I had explained the night before that he was trying out for sports and would not be able to come after work with me for that reason. Besides he was 17-years-old and knew about dogs, especially since we have one. I could have lied and told them I lived alone but my honesty ended up costing me the dog. They wouldn’t hold her even for me to go home and pull my son from a try-out which I couldn’t do to him anyway. Someone else was in line to see her and in an instant my dreams of rescuing this gorgeous dog were fading into someone else’s reality. I was disappointed. I was angry. I was hurt. I was unforgiving. I was intolerant. I was distraught. I left there knowing that I would never again return to that shelter.
Yes, I cried, but only until I got home and gathered all of the doggie purchases for their return. And then I did what I always do when met with disappointment outside of my control – I accepted that it was not meant to be. I began to pay attention as the reasons why became as vivid as my dream. That night when I opened the back door to let Coco out to go to potty in 5 inches of snow in 29-degree darkness I didn’t have to put a leash on a 56-pound dog and take it for a walk. The next morning in the deafening silence of a 15-degree morning as I opened the kitchen door in bare feet to let Coco out for her thirty-five-second tinkle I did not have to dress with boots to do some morning housebreaking training. I didn’t have to get up early. I didn’t have to come home at lunch-time from work to let a dog out. And I didn’t have to throw away any chewed shoes or socks.
Sure, I’d have done all of these things willingly if the situation were right. But I accept that it wasn’t. And another dog is meant for me somewhere. I can wait. I am patient. Situations like this teach us about adversity, acceptance and faith. The right dog will come. And I will be ready because it will be the right dog for me.
Mary Lee Gannon is a cultural turnaround and leadership expert who went from being a stay-at-home mother with four children living in an unpalatable marriage behind the facade of a country club life to the reality of divorce, homelessness, and welfare. As a national guest speaker she demonstrates turn-around strategies that transform corporate cultures and took her from an earning capacity of $27,000 to the president and CEO of a hospital foundation. Her book “Starting Over – 25 Rules When You’ve Bottomed Out” is available in bookstores and on http://www.Amazon.com.
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