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The Hard Stuff

Last night I stayed up late working on bows and gearing up for my craft show this weekend. Surprisingly I don’t feel stressed or under pressure for it even though I’m totally unprepared. It’s my first show and there are a lot of things I didn’t think about. I ordered a banner and business cards but they won’t arrive until the day of the show so I went to the store, picked out some cute picture frames and a poster board. I ordered some photos of the pups in bows to put in the frames and now I need to somehow legibly and neatly write my business name on the poster. What I know is that it’ll be a learning experience and no matter how many bows I sell, everything is already okay!

Kilo went to bed with her daddy but Jack, Sally and Kain hung out with me. By 1:30 am I was tired and ready for bed but knew I needed to do Kain’s physical therapy. I took him for a walk and then we did his exercises. He did well but I could tell he was sore so stayed up a little longer to put a heatpack on him. He doesn’t like the heatpack at first. I had to chase him around the room, like a toddler that doesn’t want to eat his veggies, until he got comfortable and let me put the pack on his incision, groin and back. He has a bit of muscle atrophy and a strained groin due to lack of use. The physical therapist said to massage him during this time to help loosen up the muscles and reduce pain.

So I’m sitting on the floor with Kain. Sally’s in the cozy cave. Jack is on the couch. I’m massaging Kain’s little leg and back and abdomen as he’s laying there mostly peacefully, squirming around every once in a while just to get a look at everyone in the room.

And I just started crying.

For no real reason other than I love him so much, it physically hurts. He has been through so much in his short life but he continues to show up with nothing but love. It hurts me to see him in pain. It hurts me to push him through the pain to make sure he does his exercises so he can get better. It hurts me to hear his little whimper. He is a dog that rarely shows pain so when he does, I know it’s pretty awful. It hurts me because he doesn’t understand I’m doing this to help him. And it hurts me because I can’t imagine what his life would look like had Jeffrey not found him and taken him in.

There was a time that Jeffrey and I considered rehoming Kain. He is a wild, strong willed little boy and is usually the one that gets the rest going. When we were first integrating the pack, we didn’t know how to handle it and got overwhelmed easily. We went to far as to contact a rescue and they put his information up for adoption. But when we started getting calls from people wanting to adopt him, we just couldn’t do it. And we decided that WE needed to be better. Dogs are a reflection of their owners just like kids are a reflection of their parents. When we are better, they are better.

It’s my job to do the hard stuff. As quickly as I would take Kain’s pain if he could be healthy, I know that’s not reality. So I continue to do the best I can to help him get there. As we snuggled into bed around 3:15 am, Kain silently told me that he understood and he forgave me. The beautiful thing about this boy, and every dog I’ve ever met, is they’ll continue to show that same forgiveness every day.

My Unsolicited Advice is to do the hard stuff. Do it today. And do it again tomorrow. Even when no one else is. Every time it’s necessary, do the hard stuff. The rewards are more than you can even imagine.


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  • Just Beautiful!! Thank you, even a year later!

    Gerri Stemm Orange
  • I enjoy seeing and reading about you and your pups. I’m not very computer savvy and I don’t really understand how blogs work, but I would like find out how you found Kain and learn more about the things he’s gone through. Would I find that on your blog?

  • You and Jeffrey need to do motivational speeches to pet owners,because you said it right “they are a reflection of who we are”. I love this story of kain and how your love keeps him going. I felt your pain as a mom when our children hurt,we hurt too. You and Jeffrey both have beautiful spirits and it shows through your pack. I would love to be able to just sit in your floor and be surrounded by All that Love. Beautiful family

    Yolanda Smith

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