Bolo with a tennis ball in his mouthAlong with many other people all over the world, I have been numbed by the horrendous attacks that took place in France this past Friday.  When I feel this way, I find comfort in the company of my dogs.  Their innocence always calms me and inspires me to reflect on things a little differently.  While watching the news of the attacks in France  unfold, BOLO sat by my office chair- ball in mouth.  Suddenly, holding onto AND embracing what you love took on new meaning.  

Bolo with a food dish My Yellow Lab, BOLO, is the most loveable dog I have ever encountered.  Her boundless energy radiates such love and joy for everything.  As a young pup, we noticed that she always wanted to carry something in her mouth.  Being a retriever, this in not entirely unusual.  Now two years of age, BOLO carries her favorite things around with her all the time.  These include: her ball, her bowl, and the nearest soft toy.  They seem to serve somewhat as pacifiers as she moves in a figure 8 motion while trying to get closely connected to anyone who will pet her.  She is happy and content.  BOLO holds onto what she loves most.

Bolo with a baseballWhen tragic events occur, we think of our family, closest friends, and the people we work with everyday.  We feel grateful to have them in our lives but how are we “holding” onto them?  Do we express kind words regularly?  Do we engage in random acts of kindness that show them we care?  Do we forgive them when we feel we have been wronged?  Do we reach out by phone to those far away on a regular basis?  

For some people, tragedy is a wake up call…a reminder of goals not met, dreams not chased, or passions not pursued.  What is it that stops most people from reaching out to grasp hold of things that truly make them happy?  Is it lack of time? Lack of confidence? Lack of money? Or is it simply fear?

Dogs don’t wait for the right opportunity.  They express unconditional love every moment they grace us with their presence.  They do things they love to be doing and, while they are doing them, nothing else in the world matters.  They hold onto this moment, 100% present- experiencing  every aspect of what they are engaged in fully…completely.  They are happy.

In an instant,  life can change.  We should never wait to express our love or appreciation to others, offer forgiveness where it is warranted, be the person we imagine ourselves being (or that our dogs think we are), or do the things we dream of doing.

Hold onto the gift we are given everyday- life, and the opportunity to truly live it.  Because, in the end, the best things in life aren’t things…they are the relationships forged and memories created along the way.