Dogged Inspiration

Being outside, especially on a warm, sunny day (though I’ll certainly take a brisk fall day, or a slightly cloudy spring day), is what helps clear my head the most.

Not only does this likely have something to do with the sunshine and vitamin D, but I’m pretty sure walking around and being outside gets our feel-good endorphins going. Surely exercise makes 99% of us feel better (I’m not sure about that 1%…). And having a clear head and a positive outlook absolutely makes me a better writer (not to mention mother, wife, and person).

Another perk of spending time outdoors: it gives us a chance to leave the screens inside, which becomes a break from many of life’s stressors and the constant reminders of our never-ending to-do lists.

Social media has many great benefits, however, in my opinion. Even a bit of inspiration in its own right! I’ve met writers from around the globe on Facebook and we have a virtual writer’s group that provides– on our own time–the essential support, advice, and encouragement people in creative fields require.

I’ve also joined hobby and interest groups online that offer tips and tricks and just plain old glorious enthusiasm about our chosen obsessions hobbies.

I love scrolling through Instagram and seeing photos from people I follow from around the world, hinting at what’s going on in say…Denmark on Saturday at 3p.m. Sharing my own photos on Instagram is also a fun pastime and helps me forge new connections too.

But there is something else inspiring me these days– something wiggly and energetic and about 30 pounds. At least, she’s busy inspiring me when she isn’t pulling me around to go pee or darting across the trail to sniff a dead tree.

Her name is Sunny.

Here’s a photo of me holding her around 12 weeks before she got too heavy for me.

Mama and Sunny at 12 weeks
Puppy Dog Eyes Extraodinare!

Sunny may be my inspiration now, but she’s also the reason my focus turned from writing for a good 2 months. Full time puppy care is like adding a full time job to an already busy and full life. It is just as busy as everyone says it is, and if you stick with it, just as rewarding too.

We’ve made it through the earliest and longest days [I hope], and she has rewarded our family of four with countless great, one-of-a-kind moments.

Not only does Sunny force me to take a step away from my computer and get outside many times throughout the day (every day), she has, I think, had a positive impact on our entire family.

My kids have learned how much responsibility a puppy actually is, that you can’t wrestle with them at 8 weeks old, and that to have a calm dog, they need to be calm.

Sunny has also gotten us to step outside our neat little comfort zones. For example, puppy classes with other folks from all ages, stages, and walks of life were intimidating at first, but so worth the interaction and camaraderie with other humans who are in the same crazy-puppy-rearing boat.

She also got me interested in a new endeavor: field work and hunt training. Yes, me!

I took my son to our first training event last week, and well, all three of us had a blast!

8BCFE9E5-57B4-4B40-8014-F806DE8B5489

Was meeting a bunch of new people (mostly male) with their dogs on a hot, humid summer night out on a farm and introducing our puppy to gunfire and birds stepping out of my comfort zone? Of course! But so worth it.

I’d love to hear what gets you out of your comfort zone. Was it worth it? Will you do it again?

I’d also be interested to hear what inspires others to carve out the time to do what they love. Is it nature for you too? Or perhaps it’s travel, spending time with friends, or going to the gym.

On that note, my now 5 month old pup is giving me her best puppy dog eyes right this moment, wanting to get out for a walk. You know what? A walk’s not a bad idea.

Until next time!

~Julia

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