I woke up in a bad mood. Perhaps too much information, but well, it’s just true and surely it’s also just part of life–a life one often doesn’t read about on social media. Behind the vacation photos and the smiling children and playful pets, we all know that everyone’s life has peaks and valleys.
Luckily, my job this morning is to write my annual Thanksgiving post, and list some things that I am thankful for, a process that we know is a great way to boost one’s mood. I got started by reading some of what I’ve written in year’s past, and that in itself buoyed my spirits. How life has changed since I wrote in 2011 about Willie’s recovering enough from his surgery to be able to play, and in 2015 about the potential publication of my memoir. In 2016 I added a list of things I’m not grateful for, which got me laughing and raised my spirits even more.
Here are a few of the things I am grateful for today:
Jim. This is a man who got up at 5 am in order to make me tea and put it in a thermos bottle, set out cereal, a bowl and milk, and rounded up his rain coat in case mine wasn’t large enough to go over my parka, all to make my pre-dawn drive to a sheepdog clinic easier. He wasn’t going, and there was no reason he couldn’t have stayed in bed, except that he is a good man and a wonderful friend. Lucky, lucky me.
Willie. At the age of 10, Willie still has the face of a puppy, with eyes that light up like a Christmas tree and a face so soft and expectant it makes your heart swell. We have been through so much together, and some of those times have been rough indeed. He and I got through them, and I am better for it. But his face–oh god, his face when he’s happy, it is lit from within, and its radiance warms me like a fireplace on a snowy day.
Maggie. Talented, silly-eared, bendy-body, super-responsive Maggie turned out to be Willie’s best friend. Every night they play tug games with such enthusiasm that we have to pause whatever show we’re watching on TV because we can’t hear over their play growls. There is little that makes me happier than watching dogs play, and I am grateful every day that they play so well together. Maggie makes me laugh every day, and best of all, she seems to adore me and working sheep with me, even when her talent is so very far beyond mine.
Tootsie. Baby-faced, infinitely adorsable Toots reminds me every day of how lucky I am that we can provide a good home to a dog who lived her first seven years of life in a cage the size of a picnic cooler. Tootsie’s ears spin like helicopter blades when she flips in circles while anticipating her Greenie (the cocaine of dog treats), and it is impossible not to laugh when she gets that excited. Tootsie is cuddly, 99.999% reliable around anyone, but also going deaf and is increasingly fragile. I think I love that she bring out the momma lion in me; I would move mountains to protect her.
Nellie and Polly. Nellie is all hyper-social head bunt-y and leg rubb-y, while her daughter Polly, the ghost cat, took longer to warm up to us, even when she arrived as a kitten. I adore having cats; I just wish I wasn’t allergic to them. Maybe I’ll put “treating cat allergies” on my To Do List for 2019.
The Sheep. Sheep are wonderful animals, truly. They are not stupid, nor are they defenseless. They’re just not predators like dogs, cats and humans, and don’t think or act like them. I love how they teach me to think outside of the box, and force me to be a better observer of small, subtle signals. This spring we get to have lambs again, and like the bulbs I’ve planted (300 new ones just this fall), anticipating them in spring helps me through the winter.
The Earth. She’s hanging in there, although we’re not helping her much. But I am grateful every day to the people who are fighting for her health, in spite of the powerful forces that care little for clean water, soil and air. This afternoon I’ll spend some time outside digging in the garden, savoring the trees and the sky and the birds. I am beyond grateful that I live in the country and am able to spend time outside every day in a beautiful place.
Yup, just as I thought. Feeling better already. And you? Every year I cherish reading what you are grateful for. Last year we all wrote about what we were grateful for, and also NOT grateful for. (One of mine was the sound of a dog about to vomit.) So go crazy, send us your list, short or long. I’ll read them every day with more gratitude than I can express, and I expect the rest of our village will too.
MEANWHILE, back on the farm. Finally, back on the farm with no travel plans for several months. Much of my travel has been wonderful, but Dorothy was right. There’s no place like home.
Enjoy Thanksgiving Week everyone; may your list of things to be thankful for be long.
I am thankful for good friends and neighbors, the change of seasons, oak trees and beautiful prairies, this amazing blue planet. And of course the 3 dogs I have had in my life – Moquah, Simba and Ashby. I miss them all but the memories are always there. Thanks, Trisha.
Vicki in Michigan says
Me, I am definitely grateful for the sound of a dog about to vomit. Maybe I have time to get a section of newspaper under that mouth before the vomit hits the carpet? (Because it’s always on the carpet, not the tile, not the linoleum. Always the carpet………….)
🙂 🙂 🙂
Not so grateful that there’s a dog with a need to vomit, but that sound? Yes, please, let’s keep the sound. Even in the middle of the night. 🙂
Thankful for all the help I received in the past years to recover from what was a much more serious burnout than I thought at first. Thankful that it taught me lessons about what is and what is not important in life. About who to trust and how to set very clear boundaries.
Thankful for the fact that what started out as “something to with my hands because I get to tired from reading” turned out to be a passion, hobby, creative outlet, energy generator and something I can make other people’s lives a bit brighter with. I’ve started creating mosaics, I love making them, other people love receiving them ;-). (if you are curious, here is some of my work https://nl.pinterest.com/mireillewulf/mijn-mozaiek-projecten/
Thankful for my dogs sometimes literally who dragged me on through dark places. Who stood by me, where there for cuddles and happy faces. Thankful that I finally seem to have found a food that agrees with Spot’s intestines and which feels healthy.
And yes, Thankful for all that is out there, nature, life forces. Every day I enjoy being outside! Let’s trie to preserve the good things 😉
Besides my BCs,Great Pyr, cats, sheep cows and horses AND the fact that I get to enjoy this beautiful farm perched on a hill and overlooking a state park, I’m grateful for my friends near and afar. Most recently, I’m grateful for the suggestion from an old friend to Google Baxter Blacks rendition of Soliloquy of a Border Collie which I hardily recommend. It will make you laugh and lift your spirits immediately.!
Always love your post, this one particularly resonates with me. We all have bad moods occasionally, best to acknowledge that it is just a mood and not life sentence.
I am truly grateful for my dog, she is truly my best friend! I enjoy everything about her, and wouldn’t consider changing anything about her…even though I still have to carry her into the car each day and she is 65#. I am grateful for my health, family, and friends…in fact I am grateful for everything in my life today!!!! Thanks for this post as a reminder!!! Happy Thanksgiving!!!
Adrienne in Maine says
I am thankful for my ever growing connection with and appreciation of my Higher Power. I thankful for the many gifts I have received in my life including my wonderful husband and my moyen poodle, Zasu. I am thankful for the sweet memories I have of my lifetime of pets, dogs and cats who gave us years of joy. I am thankful for the opportunities given me during my life. And I am grateful each morning when I get out of bed and Zasu is waiting for me to take her out that I can say “I get to do this again today”
Derby Gray says
I am thankful for the infinite variety of people in this world. I am thankful that so many are good in so many different ways.
I am also so very grateful for the people who knew I needed a dog before I did and gave me “Mr Big Boy Puppy” (later named MAC ) who made me see not just dogs but all animals in a much deeper way.
And yes, there is much to be concerned about in our lives but still I witness small and sometimes large acts of kindness on a daily basis and for all of those I am thankful
Thankful for this wonderful life called retirement….I get to spend more time with the ones I love…husband..three Tibetan
My time is spent doing what I love…lunches out…play time with dogs…attending seminars on topics that interest me..knitting..cooking..reading…making new friends….yoga..gardening..trying clicker training with cat…
Life is wonderful and amazing in my first year of retirement…
Great point Vicki! Far better to have some warning before the actual event occurs (we’re talking vomit here, just in case you’re wondering about the topic). I will remind myself to be thankful of the warning rather than unhappy about its cause.
To Victoria: Thanks so much for the referral to Baxter Black. I loved his soliloquy and it reminded me of the Border Collie song, which got me laughing so hard I got tears in my eyes. You can find it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5BqUsEF63kE.
Mireille: Yay for you for turning your energy into something so beautiful! I salute you.
And to Harriet: I miss them too. Such wonderful, wonderful dogs you’ve had. Thank you for letting me share them.
Donna T says
I am thankful for Maddie, my first boxer. She was smart beyond belief and challenged me to learn more about behavior and training. She also had her quirks which brought some challenges, but I learned so much from her. She was my heart dog, the one that the connection is so deep it is indescribable. She was a talker. I am thankful for Nick, my second. He was quiet and never made a peep. Obedient to the extreme. He always wanted to please, and to be close. He was trained as a service dog which came in handy when I was diagnosed with a debilitating disease. I am thankful for Millie, my third. She is nothing like the first two. She lacks confidence and has difficulty adjusting to new situations, but she loves to play and don’t mention the word (present) or she will run to the closet where we stash the Christmas or birthday goods. Oh, she loves to watch birthday candles. I am thankful for my mom – who, unfortunately passed this year just shy of 90 years old. What I am not thankful for – watching Maddie succumb to GI Lymphoma and having Nick collapse and die in my arms. Oh, one more thing – I am thankful for Patricia McConnell who has taught me so much about behavior and challenged me to think. Have a blessed Thanksgiving everyone!
I am thankful for my husband Steven. He has taken a sudden interest in cooking and baking, making it much easier for me to concentrate on my Masters program.
Peggy Michaelis says
I am thankful for many things; My Pembroke Welsh Corgi, Queen Bodecea, leads the list. At 13 she is still my snugglebug, the guardian of the neighborhood. She injured her back but thanks to acupuncture, she is back to making her neighborhood rounds and loving her walks. I am thankful to my Basenji/Carolina dog, Glory. Her antics make me laugh after I clean up her messes, I love how gentle she can be and her looks of love and joy. I’m thankful that I have been able to watch my 6 granddaughters grow into wonderful, loving, intelligent young women. I have been able to rejoice at their accomplishments and cry with them over their setbacks. I’m thankful that my pet service business, Licks & Wags, is growing and giving me joy everyday. The dogs and cats I have the privilege to care for provide me strength and joy. I’m grateful for the people like you, Patricia McConnell, who have given me information and knowledge that has helped me immeasurably in my business and my life. Happy Thanksgiving everyone.
Shasta & Spencer's mom says
I am grateful for the love all of the pups that have shared my life & heart, both those golden recliners who are over the bridge Max & Morgan, and the 2 not so gracefully aging seniors Shasta & Spencer. They have all been willing to share in doing therapy dog visiting, which is the best thing I’ve ever been able to do with dogs ever. Thankful for their love every time I walk in the room & especially when I come home – that’s the best part of every day. Thankful for the army of friends who are willing & able to give them time & potty breaks when I am working ridiculous, long hours and not able to be with them. (Can you tell my whole world pretty much revolves around my dogs??) Thankful for the trainers who worked with Spencer and me when he came to me as a dog reactive adolescent – look at him now! Thankful for the community of dog lovers lead by Patricia who have helped me continue to evolve in understanding life with dogs & being able to give them the best life I possibly can – such a full life it has become for me with them beside me. I hope it is for everyone else as well.
Mary Eckstein says
I am thankful my now-17-yr old daughter, who is bi-polar and been in and out of hospitals since 2012 and who nearly successfully killed herself many times, has, after a year in residential treatment been finally diagnosed and treated with the right medication. I am so thankful I have my daughter back, she is doing well in school, can drive herself and just got a Job!
First of all, I’m grateful that my husband and I were inspired enough or just big enough suckers to look past the behavior profile and ignore the dogs that came running to us, to pick the one that stood back, that wasn’t allowed to visit with us alone at the shelter, it was the adoption that shocked the whole shelter – “she’s been adopted?” Our Violin is sweet, wild, stubborn, spoiled, and makes our lives complete. I’m also thankful for a behaviorist/trainer who is out of this world good. Violin can now be around other dogs. Also, thankful that our trainer is as patient with me as she is with Violin. Thankful that my husband has decided his calling and career is making dog treats so I never know what tasty morsels I’ll have when I work with Violin. Thankful for my family, for being only two months away from becoming a grandfather, for a family of friends and coworkers who make life richer. And, finally, this morning I would have been thankful for the dog vomit sound. She was in the back of the car and we had no warning whatsoever. So, thankful for people at the Greenhouse where we were able to pull over who loaned us supplies to clean up.
Barbara Rogers says
I am especially grateful for the current dog I run in agility competition. Not only is Carmen so beautiful, but she is as great an agility teammate as I could ever hope for. She is incredibly fast (sometimes the fastest dog in the entire class, all heights) but also highly skilled. Just this weekend when she did something that was SO amazing, and about 40 feet away from me, someone told me later, “it is not often you see a dog that fast and also that honest). I thank God for her every day, and for her breeders who are so knowledgeable and have so much integrity.
I am thankful that my elderly parents are able to live their lives the way they want.
I am thankful that Cecil just hurt his rear end and was in fact not dying from some horrible internal injury after too much ball play.
I am thankful I have a job that I enjoy and colleagues I respect.
I am thankful I have a great psychopharmacologist who treated my bipolar disorder successfully in the late 90s and helped me build a career and life I enjoy. I send my very best to Mary Eckstein and her family – it’s a tough road but so worth it!
I am thankful for so many wonderful mentors, both in-person and via their published presence. Thank you, Trisha!
I’m thankful that a smile so often begets a smile.
I’m thankful for the client that says, “We don’t hit him anymore.”
I’m thankful to still find beaches without footprints in the sand.
And I’m thankful the world has Trisha McConnell in it…
Alice R says
Hate those mornings, Trisha. I often think they must be the result of dreams I don’t remember.
So much to be grateful for. I’m grateful for my kids and husband, and in a weird sort of way, the empty places at our table this year. It was such a gift to have our parents for so long, so the sadness is mitigated by our gratitude. I’m grateful for my current dog who has helped me get through a tough two years with unexpected physical challenges by helping me keep active when I would have rather not pushed it. I’m grateful for all that helped me learn the best current thinking on dog behavior and training so I can do my best for him. I’m grateful for food enough to eat, a safe place to live, and friends and family that are as forgiving as they are loving. I’m grateful for this life.
Nannette Morgan says
Loved the Baxter Black song and also the Border Collie song. Made me laugh. Thanks for sharing 😉
I am thankful for my wonderful husband of 48 years who still makes me laugh. I am thankful we have Quinn, the Irish terrier who loves to play and cuddle, Ben, the Shih Tzu mix who can melt my heart with one soulful look, and now little Missy, the foster Bichon, who has learned to run and play and jump and snuggle despite the horrible situation she was in. I am truly blessed.
Gretchen in the Rocky Mountains says
I am thankful for my husband, my goldens and yoga that are helping me heal. And, my goldens think “Down Dog in yoga” means laying down on my lap and giving me loves…so that is what we do for “Down Dog”!!! And sometimes “Down Dog” doesn’t end (even though the yoga ends) because it is way fun and makes me laugh and the dogs smile.
I am grateful to you, Trisha, for your wonderful, helpful and thoughtful books. You have made our dogs’ and humans’ lives here so, so much fuller and happier and EASIER with all of your stories, suggestions and humor. Thank you.
I am tremendously thankful for the members of my therapy dog chapter. When the news gets overwhelming and I’m ready to despair I get to spend time with these people who are giving freely of their time to brighten the lives of those who are dealing with the challenges of aging. Not to mention how grateful I am to be able to spend time with the awesome dogs that are doing the actual work. I am forever thankful for Ranger who introduced me to the world of Therapy Dog work.
I’m also thankful for Purrcasso, the kitten we added to the menagerie a few months back. He’s going to be huge when he grows up, he’s just 6 months old and already almost as big as the 12 lb adult cats. He has a huge purr that makes me smile and his kitten energy has stirred up Meowzart, the eldest cat, and gotten him moving again as well as given The Great Catsby a playmate. I am not thankful for the additional litterbox cleaning required by a new kitten, however.
I’m thankful for the progress Finna continues to make. She’ll always be a work in progress but bit by bit she improves.
I remain forever, thankful for my beloved husband and that we can work together as a team mutually supporting one another through the challenges of this last year. And for my two wonderful children who are now adults.
I am thankful for retirement, a warm and comfortable house and no real financial anxieties. I am very thankful for the wonderful osteopath who once again provided treatment and reassurance for Sophy’s slipped disc when she put it out a few weeks ago, and for the speed with which she recovered. I am grateful every day for good health, loving family and friends, and the joy my animals bring.
And just at the moment I would be very, very grateful if it would stop raining long enough for the floods to recede and the garden to dry out – yesterday the roads were impassable, and we all have cabin fever!
I am thankful for having choices, for the rise of activism in our country lately, for women’s courage, for this blog community. I’m thankful for our little family and for our larger community. I’m thankful for help and support from the most unlikely of places and people. I’m thankful I live in a state that provides health care to almost all, and that I can feel the power of relativity – what used to seem so challenging hardly makes a dent when you’ve been through the truly difficult.
I am also grateful that I only got partially sprayed by a skunk last night. We’ve moved into our new-to-us house, and I should know better having had previous first-week-in-the-new-house episodes with skunks. But, it was late, I was tired, and Olive asked very nicely to go out. The yard is newly fenced, so I said, “Ok, go by yourself.” A few minutes later, I opened the back door and could see her hopping up and down in a parallel line to the back fence. I raced outside and shone my flashlight into two reflective eyes and a fine stream of silvery liquid. I had stepped between the skunk and Olive just in time to get a spray.
I turned to get her to come with me and stumbled and did a face plant in the dirt.
Okay, now I am a stinky, dirty mess and hoarse from yelling, which I didn’t even know I was doing. We both had late-night baths, and there is a slight hint of skunk in the house but it’s not bad. And, it beats the time we had just moved into a house and took the dogs out for a last pee-o-the-day, and Grace found a skunk in the yard and tossed it high in the air. Ever see a skunk flying directly at you? Be thankful 🙂
Happy Thanksgiving in all its meaning
I am thankful for this wonderful post! And all the amazing people who comment, who make me laugh and cry sometimes too.
And I’m grateful that my 16 year old dog Echo, who developed vestibular syndrome about a month ago, is recovering now and can sneeze now without falling down!!!
I am thankful that several years after buying the book I found this blog.
I am grateful that it lifts my spirits makes me smile and gives me a sense of community. It encourages me to keep trying with my current dog Remedy (the cure for my inactivity) Who is turning out to be the most challenging of my dogs over the years. I’m also thankful that many of you have the same wacky sense of humour that I do enjoy this YouTube video
Leiah Roy says
I am thankful for 14 years with my sweet Rudy; german shepherd/lab mix. Rudy was not without trials, but he was my constant companion and I loved him for it. I am thankful that he was relatively healthy until the end and past away suddenly in July.
I am especially grateful that I found Spike just 3 months ago. He is an 8 year old Australian cattledog that plays fetch with such abandonment and enthusiasm it fills my heart with joy. He needs me and I need to be needed right now. I am thankful for the humane society that cared for Spike until I found him.