Monday, August 15, 2016

A Bad Day, A Better Ending

Yesterday was a tough day. I got up early to go exercise. The usual routine - get up, go to the bathroom, get dressed, let the Maggie the dog out so she can do her business, fill the dog's food and water bowls, let Maggie in, then go to the gym.  But that didn't happen yesterday. I let Maggie out into the back yard, then turned to pick up her bowls when I heard her high pitched yelping. That usually means she is chasing squirrels, but this time it was a baby deer. She chased it into a corner of the yard, out of my view, and I ran outside to make sure the deer was able to jump the fence. Unfortunately, Maggie was faster and she already had the deer in her jaws, and it was screaming. I yelled at her to drop the deer, which amazingly she did. When she has caught things in the past -- squirrels and rabbits -- she will not willingly let them go. I don't know, maybe she heard something in my voice; I never have any reason to shout at her.

I was hoping that the deer would get up, shake itself off, and go bounding out of my yard. It was too late. Instead of watching it run off, I watched it die.

My back yard is fenced in so that Maggie has a free area to run, and she can access it through a doggie door. I knew I had to get the deer out of the back. But first I had to get Maggie out of the house and on a walk in the soupy heat, because she was all full of herself and over excited, and really, really wanted to get to the back yard. On the walk we saw more deer, of course, and she lunged and yelped, but by the time we got home after a couple of miles in the heat she was more sedate.

I called the county and found out that they will come and pick up dead deer, but not on weekends. I filled out an online form, which will hopefully get them here within 24 hours, and then carried the deer to the front yard. It didn't weigh much more than Maggie, I would say 40-50 pounds. When I put it in the front yard at the end of the driveway, it looked like it was sleeping. Anyone driving by might think that a baby deer had decided to take a snooze right there, in the green, thick grass.

The sight and sound of what happened stayed with me all day. Last night I had difficulty falling asleep, and sat in mindfulness trying to deal with the feelings in my body and brain. Logically I know that my dog is an innate hunter, she always has been. Ever since she was a small puppy, she would walk with her nose to the ground, searching for whatever left traces in the yard, or on our walks. It was difficult for me to be friendly with her yesterday though, and I know she was confused and sensed that there was something wrong.

A late night phone call from my daughter helped. She listened to me, sent me phone hugs. After we hung up I went though my phone, closing up the apps, and when I got to Facebook, this little quote jumped out at me from a friend's page, like it was waiting for me all evening. It is from Lin Manuel Miranda:

Good night beautiful.
Make room for happiness tomorrow.
If you make room for it, it'll show up.

I was finally able to let go of the tension in my shoulders, to relax the muscles in my forehead. Take a full breath.

I know the world is a crazy place. We all have stress and schedules and too much going on. But whatever you have to do today, wherever the world takes you, remember to make room for happiness. Let it come flooding in to the space you give it.

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