A valuable lesson re-learnt

In her column for our Spring 2022 newsletter, Amanda is reminded that doing others a favour can rekindle some good, plus a few not so good, memories but brings with it a lesson she's grateful to be reminded of.

Last Friday evening I left my daughter’s flat with a new charge in the car ... their young border terrier.  She and her partner were off for their first holiday without him.  Or rather, as it had been sold to him, he was now old enough to go on his first holiday without them!

He’s known me and my partner since he was a pup, so we aren’t strangers.  He’s used to visiting and knows his way round our space and has his favourite places.  One of which is obviously sitting beside the cupboard where the biscuit box for visiting 4-footed friends lives, just in case it opens either magically or with a little human assistance!

We’re used to the characteristics of the breed having had one ourselves.  'Wise old Win’, as he’s now affectionately remembered, was very much the fifth member of our family when the kids were growing up.  I like to think he played a significant part in the compassionate nature they effortlessly display as adults.

What I’d forgotten though, was the work and responsibility of dog ownership and having someone regularly checking your actions!

We no longer have a door straight out to the garden, so I’m having to remember to stop what I’m doing and head out with him every few hours.  I was trying to finish some decorating at the weekend but hadn’t taken on board that an unwelcome chore for me was an exciting new experience for him.  Not eating filler or getting between me and the skirting board seem pretty obvious but were actions that had to be learnt by 4-foot.  I’ve had to have a word with myself and accept gracefully that heading to bed from the sofa is no longer a direct route but has to go via a trip round the block, even on cold, windy and wet evenings!

But what I’d also forgotten was that wonderful feeling of purpose you gain.  The short glance, just to check you’re there and able to give affirmation that all is okay.  The fact that when you’re out together, without a word being spoken, you belong to a new club.  That smile, nod, greeting or longer exchange with the dog-walkers you meet.  You may have nothing in common with them other than the fact you are both giving safe and loving homes to your canine friends alongside.

I’m appreciating the warm welcome I receive each morning.  It seems to acknowledge that, although I might just be a temporary stopgap, I’m here today and am entrusted to provide the love, refreshment, and companionship he needs in the present moment.  And that seems to be a really valuable lesson to have been reminded of.


This column appeared in our Spring 2022 newsletter.  If you would like future editions of our quarterly workplace wellbeing newsletter sent directly to your inbox, please sign up here.



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