On Dogs and Plans

“You don’t always need a plan. Sometimes you just need to breathe, trust, let go and see what happens.” – Mandy Hale

This weekend, our tiny family–boy, girl, pup–took a road trip to Zanesville and came back with a new darling: Rae, a red and white husky, two years and old and in need of a home.

Spoiler: she found one.

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So now we are four, in a small (but cozy) house, and it’s pretty wild and delightful.

But I have to admit that, all week, leading up to this meeting–sending brief, hopeful emails to the rescue coordinator; trying to imagine every scenario, every possible reaction between this new dog and our own; making fraught lists on my phone of all the questions to ask about eating habits, history, sleep patterns, car travel–I was a bit anxious.

It’s kind of a theme for me, alas.

So by Saturday, I was both hesitant and hoping. I still wondered if it were crazy to even entertain having two dogs, while also feeling I couldn’t bear the disappointment if it didn’t work out. I had talked through every detail, painstakingly, with my all-patient, attentive, and bemused husband. (It’s a good thing one of us usually has the sense of humor, and the sense, to laugh at the other sometimes. I was pretty exhaustive. And probably a little exhausting.)

And yet.

I knew, finally, that I just had to let go, see what happened. I had to quiet my mind, look out the window, see the unsparingly January blue sky, the bright morning.

There are gifts in every corner of our lives, if we’ll only look.

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When they met, the two dogs sniffed at each other, scuffled, got bored, a little playful. Rae greeted us calmly, sweetly, her moppy tail flopping to one side, then the other. Suddenly it was that simple. We found her a bright red leash and prepared to take her home, as ours.

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Dogs are like kids in that they can be smitten with you, and you with them, in a matter of hours or even a few sweet moments. It’s kind of the greatest.

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And it’s something I’ve discovered not through hours of study, or planning, or overthinking it all, but more often from breathing and being, trusting and seeing.

Or sometimes just from letting go.

Emily Jean


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