Monday, February 4, 2013

Your Bliss can be Contagious

When I lost my father in 2011 my life fell apart.  He had started a rescue to help dogs who were at the end of their road.  Dogs who others had given up hope on. Dogs where abused, neglected, left to die due to age or disease, or dogs who had seen the worst humanity had to give and still had so much love in their soul to give someone.  He wanted to make a difference in the dogs because he had seen first hand how these dogs changed not only the lives of their owners but also the lives of those who adopted them.

His personal dog was a former fighting dog.  She had been overbred, fought, starved, and beaten.  At first she was afraid of everyone and everything, but over time she became an amazing animal.  She was wonderful with small children, aka his great grandchildren. Learned through positive reinforcement to get along with other dogs and cats and other animals.  He helped her understand that not all humans are evil nor does every life have to have a bad ending.  Her name is Casey.  She was the first official dog rescued by his rescue.

Casey and my dad had a very special relationship.  She opened up his world and helped him find happiness he had never known in his last days.  They only had 18 months together but to me it was the happiest I had ever seen him.  They were partners in crime and he often shared stories of her antics with others as well as made himself happy with her companionship in his life.

When my Dad died of pancreatic cancer I stepped up and took over his dream, it becoming my own.  Every dog we save ever life we change reflects on his dream to help as many as we can.  He worked tirelessly to educate others about these dogs and the wonderful companions they can be. Even though in younger years he may not have been as aware of the problems faced by them he put everything on the line to help them in his golden years.

After my dads death I thought my world would fall apart. He was the base of our family as well as being the foundation on which our lives were built. He was the one person on this planet we could all reach out and touch to find solace in our dark moments be that with a joke or a laughter or a hug or whatever you needed.  I began caring for all of the animals in his pack when he became to ill to care for them any longer.  I found that by getting up every morning no matter how badly I wanted to lay in bed and cry made me realize that life went on.  It made me get outside of my own head and move forward with my life.  It made me understand why he worked so hard to save these dogs.  They really do change lives.

I have learned a lot from these dogs.  I have learned that no matter how dark yesterday may have been that tomorrow is always a new day.  I have learned that not all people are evil self serving animals but that there are good people in the world.  I have also learned that not everything is as it appears and sometimes things that appear to be great on the surface hide a much deeper secret behind closed doors.

His bliss wasn't mine in the beginning.  I was the one saying this would be so much easier if you didn't do this but in the end I learned the motivation behind his actions and respected him all the more for having the heart to lead me to this life.  Through it I have met some amazing people. I have changed lives for the better and I have a purpose that drives me even during my darkest days.

I know this isn't like many of my previous blogs. This isn't just about happiness.  It is also about doing something that impact your world for the better. Be you led there by your own heart or the heart of another.  It is about taking yourself out of your own comfort zone and doing something you may have never pictured yourself doing simply because it is a part of another persons bliss.  It is about stretching and learning and becoming more tomorrow than you are today.

My own personal pup wasn't "categorized" as a pit bull by the shelter that had her.  Her paperwork read "lab" mix.  But I still fell in love with her gentle ways and decided that this was the dog who would change my life for the better.  Her name is Karma.  She was a death row dog in a shelter that only allowed a set time for adoption. Her time had run out.  Now when we did our first vet visit the vet informed me that this dog was a pit bull mix.  I had not had a lot of experience with pit bulls and the limited amount I had not been bad or good.  My ex husband's parents had one when we got together and he was a huge bulky monster who they warned me didn't like strangers but he and I got along famously.

Being told by our vet that the dog of my choosing was a pit bull was a bit of a shock but I didn't care.  She was mine and regardless of her "type" I loved her.  She is the most gentle loving animal a girl could ask for.  She had time and time again proven her dedication for me and now accompanies me most everywhere I go, with very few exceptions.  She never leaves my side when I am home and although she doesn't like small children (some dogs are just not kid friendly and although not aggressive towards them she avoids them like the plague) together we work through that.  I couldn't imagine my life without her and I am really glad I gave a death row dog a chance at her own happy ending. I adopted her on February 15, 2010.  I have had 3 amazing years with this dog and am thankful for every single one of them.

Even my husband lost his heart to one of these dogs. She came to us as a foster and ending up being adopted by our family.  Her name is Phoenix, she came to us from a kill shelter with a spinal injury.  She had been hit by a car best our vet can figure and has a long lasting injury from her great adventure.  She was pictured in an email sent to us to see if we could help her.  He went with me to meet the transport for  her and fell in love on site.

Sometimes bliss can be contagious.  Sometimes it can seep out of your life and into those you share your life with. My Dads sure did.  It may have begun as his bliss but soon became a mission of our family to save as many as possible.  Of my three daughters two are now involved in rescue efforts and volunteer their time with animals to help and find homes.  So the beginning bliss of one man not only saved many dogs it saved countless people from themselves as well.

When my father began following his bliss I am pretty sure he didn't have any idea how far reaching his dream would be.  In his eyes he wanted to help those he could and save the ones he could afford to save. Sadly many times when a dreamer dies so do their dreams. I am fairly sure he could never have pictured us working with other rescues to save dogs of other breeds and types as well as having a wonderful group of volunteers and sponsors who help us follow those dreams.

Companies like Chris Crafts stepped up to donate and help sponsor our rescue efforts and some pretty amazing people across our country have stepped up to volunteer their time and expertise to help get dogs seen through networking and sharing.  My Father's bliss was highly contagious.  What do all of these people share in common you may ask. Not all are huge fans of the type of dogs we help, but they see them as being dogs not vicious animals the media portrays them to be.

Dogs like Zeus once abandoned at a boarding facility left to die from arthritis and age alone and without a family now have loving homes that they are given because someone did a good thing and shared or posted his story.  People like Penny Eims who not only took an interest but also did a story about Zeus to get him some air time and be seen by thousands of people and we had over 75 applications in the space of 4 hours for this handsome boy to ensure his final days were spent surrounded by those who love him.

Don't hold your own bliss so tightly that you don't allow it to seep over and involve others. Let those around you know what is going on, they may decide to tag along for the ride. They may find their own bliss through the actions you take or the things you learn about yourself.  There is entirely to little happiness in the world. It is often filled with sad stories about bad people and bad things.

My personal motto has always been to grab life with both hands and hang on for dear life.  If my Father hadn't followed his bliss my bliss would never happened, or at least not this aspect of it.  The dogs have changed how I see the world. How I interact with my fellow man.  The friendships I have formed along the way have helped me evolve into a better person and helped me learn that even in our darkest days there is hope and there is a chance of finding our own happily ever after.

I hope my words today have given you all food for thought. On how your own bliss can affect those around you. Perhaps even changing the world into a better place to be.  A small ripple in the waters of life can create an outwardly flowing effect. Share your bliss with others.  Share your stories with others.  Help someone else find their own bliss and in return the universe will pass that good Karma along to you and those you love.  Never give up on your dreams no matter how hard they may be to follow because about the time you do is when great things begin to happen.

Until next time blog buddies, stay safe, stay sane, and stay happy.

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