There are times in life we are bound to feel a little overwhelmed. It’s how we choose to cope with those moments that make the difference in how we will feel, and ultimately grow as humans. Three plus years ago, I made the impulsive decision to become a first-time dog owner. If you know me at all, this is not typical of my behavior. I am more of a planner than a fly by the seat of your pants kinda girl. What I did know was if I was going to have a dog, she needed to love swimming. HA! I say this looking back not knowing what I was up against. Meet my dog, and little miss independent herself, Miss Joy Rose.
Many of you know, I am an avid swimmer. I have loved being in the water since I was a little girl. Growing up, I took synchronized swimming and diving lessons. While I never competed, I always found the water to be fun and relaxing. As I grew older, battling issues like vertigo, and a herniated disc, made me love the water even more. The water provided me with healing and therapeutic effects, ultimately being the solution to many of the ailments I still manage to this day. So there is where my doggie dream started. Lisa and Joy sailing away on a paddle-board on Lake Erie.
As you can see from the shot above, we totally made it there… NOT! Let me tell you though, I am not a quitter and I had a goal. I wanted to teach this dog to love the water as much as I did. There were multiple attempts made, and some of you that follow me on Instagram may even remember the swimming videos. What you didn’t see was how much work it took to get her into the water. This 18lb girl would dig down her paws, and plant herself into a firm, “Ummm, Mom, I don’t think so” position.
It was time to change my approach. My thought was, if I was in the water with her, she would see it was not so scary. I also initiated toys and treats to help reward her positive behavior. Truth be told, I was making progress, and at one point I thought this might really happen. So, why are we not swimming?
Before I go on, please know, Joy is NOT afraid of water. She delights in splashing through puddles, plays in the rain, and literally falls asleep when I bathe her. It’s large bodies of water that scare her.
While we were making progress in a small creek, I needed to up our “big girl in big body of water” game. Having never been on a kayak myself, I thought this idea was brilliant. We could have a family kayak day! In pursuit of our new goal, we rented a kayak, and off onto Lake Erie we went. Joy was supposed to enjoy her kayak “spot for dogs” but clung to my lap instead. She whined and pawed at me the ENTIRE time. In spite of all my comforting efforts, the poor thing remained fearful. I finally faced the reality that swimming and water sports are NOT Joy’s “thing”.
Sometimes our goals have to change and adapt to the circumstances at hand. Life itself, or even a pup, can show us the way forward.
At this time last year on a HOT August morning, Joy and I went to the Rocky River Reservation and climbed up the 155 steps of the Fort Hill Stairs. We walked, we skipped, we took photos, we felt alive. My little non-swimmer taught me to become a hiker.
I am proud to say we have hiked consistently for over a year. We have not let the cold, rain, snow, ice, heat, insects or gobs of mud stand in our way. Every hike has been unique with surprises along every trail. We’ve explored the changing seasons, reveled in wildflowers, observed critters with their babes, been serenaded by songbirds, and watched the morning sun-rays breaking through the fog. Who knew… It turns out, hiking is our happy place.
We even purchased a few hiking “must-haves” along the way. I could not live without my hiking hat, boots or backpack, so I am featuring them here. Joy especially loves it when I bring ice cookies (ice cubes), she rolls in them at the end of our hikes to cool off.
In the comments below tell me one goal you have. Add a backup goal for an extra “just in case” entry. Play I-spy within the blog and guess what I’m giving away this week. Winner will be contacted by email, Friday, August 9th by EOD. Giveaway ends August 9th at 1:00 pm EST.
PHOTOS: TIFFANY JOY PHOTOGRAPHY