A week and a day ago, we adopted a puppy whose name is Parsnip. Our old dog had cancer and we had to put him down a little under a year ago . We have had rescue dogs for twenty years so getting a puppy is a new phenomenon in our household.
True confession: I have never been that great at living in the present. I have tended to dwell in the past – would’ve, could’ve, should’ve territory. Or in the future – what on the horizon for next week should I worry about – did I get a holiday card out? What should I worry about next month – will schools go virtual again due to Omicron? What should I worry about about six to eight months from now when my daughter goes to college?
Having a puppy in the house again challenges that past/future orientation. I find myself in the present whether I am comfortable there or not. I am preoccupied with puppy pees and puppy poops and with learning to reward positive puppy behavior and ignore negative puppy behavior. I am also trying to redirect behaviors like nipping with playing with a toy. It is a constant lesson in cognitive behavioral therapy that has taken me by surprise – emphasis on behavioral – for me and the pup. Somewhat LOL and somewhat really true about CBT.
All in all puppies are a joy but a load of work. For me for now, that work keeps me focused on the present day maybe even the present hour. I am extremely exhausted by it but it does seem to keep me in the now.
To all of you who have beloved pups and other beloved pets, do you find the act of taking care of that pet helps keep you in the present? And avoid the terrible would’ve, could’ve, should’ves or that projected anxiety into and onto the future’s horizon?