Shayne on You: Puppy love

Dear Maggie,

It was great meeting you at Colorscape over the weekend. Iím having a small problem and think I can use all the advice I can get, so I decided to write to you and get your two cents. I donít like dogs. Iíve never wanted one in my home. My two kids have been begging for years to get one, but Iíve always said no very firmly and I like to think Iíve made it up to them in other ways.

But then, a few weeks ago, this scruffy little dog showed up practically on our doorstep. Heís a small male, some kind of terrier mix, I think. Anyway, he was scrawny and limping, and clearly half starved. I couldnít just ignore an animal who obviously needed help, especially with my kids looking at me with their great big eyes. So I told them very clearly that while we could help this dog through his crisis, we were not, under any circumstances, going to keep him. We ran to the store for dog food and flea shampoo, and we cleaned him up and fed him. I put an ad in the paper, phoned neighbors, put up signs to try to locate his owner, but no one responded. The kids are begging to keep him. He sleeps at the foot of my sonís bed, and follows him everywhere.

Iíve started looking for a good home for Scruffles (thatís what the kids call him) and Iím sure Iíll find one. But how do I go about giving him away without breaking my kidsí hearts? How do I make them understand that I just donít want a dog, without making them hate me for it?

Thanks for any advice you can share.


Not a Dog Lover

Dear Dog Lover,

(Yes, you read that right.) I think you should go right ahead and give the dog away. Itís not going to make one bit of difference, because another one will show up, and if you get rid of him, another one, and then another and then another. And youíll keep taking care of them and finding them homes and breaking the kidsí hearts, over and over and over. And the result will be that you nearly always have a dog in your house anyway.

Hereís the thing. There is nothing more powerful in the Universe than the pure desire of a child. Your kids havenít yet learned all those lessons we adults have racked up. They donít think things never go their way. They donít think life is hard and that you donít always get what you want so you may as well get used to disappointment. And because they donít think those things, those things donít exist for them. All that exists for them is pure perfect love and a trusting, innocent belief in fairies and miracles and magic. So any pure, powerful desire shooting out of them, is going straight into production. Thereís no resistance to it, you see. And clearly, Scruffles has also launched a desire to the Universe. He wants a loving home with a couple of great kids to adore, and he has no resistance either, so he got it.

Youíre outnumbered. So just relax and stop fighting it, and go with the flow.

I suggest you start making lists of all the positive things about having a dog you thought you never wanted. How the kids can learn responsibility, how to care for and nurture another being. How watchful heíll be. How loving and loyal and protective. How happy he makes them.

And most importantly, theyíll learn that wishes do come true, no matter how unlikely it might seem. Use this episode to teach them that when you want something badly enough, and believe in it without wasting time on doubt, the Universe will always find a way to make it happen.

And you, my friend, are going to end up loving Scruffles even more than they do. Whatís not to love, after all? Animals are pure positive energy too.

To help yourself get into a positive mindset about the dog, watch a few episodes of Animal Miracles on Animal Planet. (And for training tips, watch Itís Me or the Dog.)

One more thought to ponder. At the end of life, as you lay dying and looking back over all the big events that defined you, do you think youíre more likely to regret letting the kids keep the dog? Or making them give it away?

Good luck! Give Scruffles a big hug from me!


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