May I share a recent story from my own life with you?
On Monday, Nov 19th, my sweet dog, Oreo and I were out for our morning jog. I don’t normally bring her with me because she’s quite the adventurer and it’s hard to keep an eye on her. This time, though, my husband was going jogging with us and agreed to watch her while I focused on my running (yes, I’m that clutsy).
Shortly into the 3 mile run, my husband began to struggle with an injury he has and felt it better to turn back. We tried to get Oreo to go with Jeff and she started to head that direction but quickly wised up and came running to catch up to me. So, I had a partner for the rest of my run. No big deal. I could handle it this once.
We live quite a ways out of the city where all the properties are on a minimum 1 acre lot so there’s very little traffic. Oreo was being her happy self, checking out everything her nose guided her to. She was on the other side of a one lane road when I saw the truck coming. Traffic in that area is usually going about 35 to 40 miles an hour. This truck was slowing down so I thought he had seen Oreo. Oreo paused on the side of the road seeming to know the truck was there. Just as Oreo probably thought the truck was stopping and went to cross the road, it decided to speed up again. I later learned that he had slowed down because he thought he knew two guys who were standing near the road and never even saw Oreo.
Oreo had been hit. I heard the sound and started to scream. I ran over to her already crying. Even with the driver stopping and the two guys standing on the road, it took about 15 minutes to get my husband back with the car, all the while I’m sitting with my dog, in the middle of the street, crying and babbling and petting Oreo to keep her calm. If you are an animal lover, you can understand the emotions you might go through to see one of your most loved beings go through something like this.
We finally got Oreo to the vet hospital. I was an anxious mess waiting to hear if Oreo was even going to live. The good news, she was mostly ok and nothing was broken. My level of anxiety dropped significantly! The bad news, there was nerve damage that was causing paralysis in one of her front legs. And thus started the roller coaster of emotions. If she didn’t regain feeling in her leg within 48 hours, chances were slim that she’d regain it at all. We picked her up from the vet hospital a few hours later and took her home to watch over her very carefully for the next few days.
That first day was by far the most difficult to deal with emotionally. I’m the queen of positivity and yet here I am on this wild roller coaster. Now one of the things I always say is that we have to give ourselves space to feel the strong emotions. It’s not healthy to hide things and just makes it worse in the long run. So I let them out. I let myself experience the pain and sorrow. But what I quickly realized was that I had no guilt. I had a lot of reasons I could have felt guilty. She should have been on a leash. I shouldn’t have taken her. I should have kept her at my side. I should have called her back across the road sooner. But I felt none of that. It was a horrible accident and no one was to blame.
The other thing I began to notice was that I was going to be ok no matter what happened to Oreo. She was alive. Sure, she was a wonderful dog to run, play fetch, go swimming and even shake hands and those things would be different. We’d still have Oreo even if she was on three legs instead of four. It wasn’t what I would want for her but I knew, from everything I teach, that there is a reason for everything.
Following the accident, we received a huge out pouring of love and support, healing thoughts and prayers for Oreo but, while her spirits started to slowly return, her leg remained paralyzed. We took her to Thanksgiving dinner with us, not wanting to leave her home alone and she wandered around saying hi and checking out all the new sites. Still, no sign of life in that leg.
We took Oreo back for a check up on Friday. The vet didn’t feel optimistic that Oreo would regain any feeling at any point and that we should begin to accept that we may need to amputate the limb. It’s still scary to think that she might not be the exact same wonderful dog she was, she will be a wonderful dog none-the-less.
I still get a little sad about it sometimes but I realize that my journey to become a positive person and really use the principles I wrote about in my book and teach are things that have truly helped me maintain the ability to keep going and be content knowing everything will turn out just right in the end. It might not be MY idea of right, but it will be right.
I’m grateful that I have taken the time to really learn how to be a positive person when I wasn’t faced with this kind of challenge so that it makes being a positive person now, that much easier.
Oreo goes back for a check up tomorrow. There are certain signs that I am hopeful mean she may be regaining some feeling but it’s hard to tell if I’m just being optimistic. Either way, I’m going to be ok. And so it Oreo.