Life Rehab Resources: Taking a Break

liferehabresourcesI had an idea for what I wanted to write about today, but then a puppy happened. I don’t know if you’ve ever had a puppy, or a baby or anyone else in your life that needed constant attention and care, but when you do that’s pretty much all that can happen. The days you manage some self-care in addition to their care, like showering and eating, count as success. I am lucky and have help, an amazing co-parent who has made room for me to meltdown, to freak out a little, to feel disappointed because of my unrealistic expectations, to struggle and suffer in a confusion of my own making, to give me a break when I need it, but it’s still hard and requires effort, time, focus.

The only reason I can write this is because Ringo is in his crate napping. I feel so lucky to have this time, the calm, the sweet and soft of these moments to counter the ones when he’s feeling punky, fussy, tearing at my clothes, trying to nurse on me, frustrated and crazed, caught up in his baby brain which wants what it wants and has to have it right now.

Sam needs me too. He tore up his accessory carpal pads showing off for Ringo in the backyard (when the ground is frozen, it’s hard as rocks, and it’s happened one other time, is known as a “braking injury”) and we have him back on a higher dose of the nerve pain medication after another visit with the Neurologist. He also has a new little dude in his house who is getting a lot of attention, causing chaos, and Sam is a very sensitive dog. I am working on relaxing, trusting we are doing what we can for him, giving him a good life, but I sometimes feel like I’m failing him, failing all of it.

samandringoSo that brings me to an essential life rehab resource: having reasonable expectations, knowing your limits and when you reach them taking a break, asking for help. Allowing what is happening in the moment, whatever arises, meeting it there, and constantly reconsidering “what is needed, what can I do in this moment, what support do I need?” For me right now this means relaxing my expectations, lowering the bar, only doing what absolutely has to get done. For now, I can only do what I can do, even though there’s a whole list of what “should” get done. I am aware that this time, when Ringo needs us so much to just get through a single day, is brief. Instead of wishing it away, rushing it, rejecting or regretting it, I can drop everything else and be here. This is practice, life — the willingness to meet what comes with an open heart.

But being in that here means being less in this space, skipping some things that would typically be happening. So if I seem distant, if I forget it’s Friday until late in the day and write my regular post late or skip it altogether, don’t take it personally, kind and gentle reader. It’s temporary. All of this is temporary — that’s the good news and the bad.

21 thoughts on “Life Rehab Resources: Taking a Break

  1. Lisa Kaftori

    Jill this was such a wonderful post to read – so honest and true and beautiful. Making room for new love is fabulous but it’s a crazy, messy, sometimes, hilarious, overwhelming process isn’t it? Your words reminded me of the importance of being with what is and knowing when to ask for help…
    Supportive thoughts, positive energy + love to you & you 3 guys, Lisa xo

    1. jillsalahub Post author

      Thank you, Lisa. ♥ This is the fourth time we’ve raised a puppy, but you always forget exactly how it will challenge you. You forget what was hard and just remember how much you loved that dog. It makes me feel so much compassion for my friends who have human children, especially first time moms with new babies.

      1. Lisa Kaftori

        So true… We’ve raised two puppies, and a human child- he’s 9 so we are in full swing with that nurturing project. We adopted our current “puppy” shortly before our son, adopted from Guatemala, came home to us so we had two babies at the same time- quite a handful. Loving is wonderful and fulfilling but challenging- we are supposed to keep the fact that it’s hard quiet aren’t we? Well I think we should hold our selves and each other during the hard times so that we have support to savor the sweetness of it all. Your words are always such a breath of fresh air and clarity. Thank you for sharing your beautiful insights and wisdom. You are so courageous Jill! love to you, Lisa ❤️

  2. Lisa Kaftori

    Yep- 2 babies at once! We didn’t plan it that way… Max, our Labrador, ended up being our family therapy dog- such an amazing healer! Sometimes I get glimpses of his angel wings❤️

  3. Misty


    I am aware that this time, when Ringo needs us so much to just get through a single day, is brief. Instead of wishing it away, rushing it, rejecting or regretting it, I can drop everything else and be here. This is practice, life — the willingness to meet what comes with an open heart.

    ….is the secret to life, IMO. Being in the moment, being present, without trying to mold it to our perceived expectations (as we all tend to do by default), just flowing with it – is my own work in progress. Currently, I am on the opposite end of this – our senior Border Collie, Sundance, who is 14-17 yrs old (a rescue, so age is unknown) is somewhat slowly yet frightfully steadily leaving us, due to old age & advancing kidney disease. Having been through this before, several times, my heart knows this process all too well. Ironically, from this end of the life cycle, I find your words fit our situation perfectly as well.

    Now, if I could offer you an encouraging word – you will all get through this 🙂 I have brought in rescues that have initially greatly altered the flow of my happy home, made me wonder if I’d lost my mind, made me cry when I saw my beloved dogs’ lives changed (sometimes initially not for the better) with the new addition (yes, I have been there)……but in the end, it has all worked out. As people, we bond so very quickly to a new puppy, because we’ve had the time to think it through, time to imagine all the happy walks and the great new friendship with the older dog, our beloved – and then reality hits with the introductions 🙂 They haven’t had the mental Kodak moments with the new puppy, LOL. But they will create those in time. They will bond, life will settle down, and Sam will discover he has a new best friend 🙂 Time works wonders. I’ll bet you’re already seeing that.

    Sending positive thoughts to you all. Hang in there 🙂

    1. jillsalahub Post author

      Oh Misty, I’m so sorry about Sundance. It’s so hard to let them go, to be in that place. The funny thing about getting Ringo is I find myself feeling so protective of Sam, not wanting his life to be too disrupted, wanting this to be a good thing for him too. It will all work out, and then it won’t, and then it will again — like Pema Chodron says, “We think that the point is to pass the test or overcome the problem, but the truth is that things don’t really get solved. They come together and they fall apart.” Thank you so much for the encouragement. 🙂

  4. theresanovak

    oh sweet Jilly, life is just school — one learning experience after another; just another opportunity for another viewpoint of the same issue. Failure – no such thing. Just a way to share and accept love. much love, big hug. 🙂

  5. Frances D

    Ringo’s energy is eventually going to help dear Sam. Though do tell Sam his friend Frances says to “cool it with the showing off ;)” Sam looks quite wise, and I believe he not upset at all about the little one getting attention. Give them both a hug. Sign me praying for Sam.

  6. Hazel

    I’ve considered another dog, a puppy, but being in my 60s I’m not sure I can handle the energy required to raise one and train one. Still realistically, this may be my last chance to have a dog. I’ll be watching your journey with Ringo with great interest, Jill. I do thank you for sharing the downs as well as the ups.

    Questions, if you have time: Do you still get time to meditate? How do you manage during the day when you’re away at work?

    Thanks and keep breathing! One moment at a time.

    1. jillsalahub Post author

      I totally understand, Hazel. If I didn’t have Eric to help me, I’m not sure I’d have the energy now at 46! And who knows, maybe this will be the last puppy. Maybe we’ll adopt older dogs after this. Even a six month old is a huge difference from an eight week old.

      I do still get time to meditate. I have to or I’d go crazy. I get up at 4:30 am to have the time (I also write, blog, do yoga, sometimes walk the big dog in the morning before work). And I think your other question is about managing the pup when I’m away at work. If so, I am going to work from home in the mornings a few days a week, and we have a friend who’s going to come over midday, then Eric will be home early afternoon. If we didn’t have a friend who would come, we’d have to hire a pet sitter to visit midday. And yet, having said that, lots of people simply put the puppy in a contained area, leave toys and a pee pad and hope for the best.

      Thanks for the encouragement!

      1. Hazel

        Thanks for taking the time to reply, Jill. I could never give up my meditation either…although to get up that early I’d have to go to bed right after supper! 😉

        It sounds like you have a good plan. This exhausting stage is impermanent (as is everything!) so try to let unimportant things go and just enjoy the ‘baby’.


  7. pittsburghphd

    “he’s feeling punky, fussy, tearing at my clothes, trying to nurse on me, frustrated and crazed, caught up in his baby brain which wants what it wants and has to have it right now.”

    This sounds like my morning with my human baby. He is being a menace, as we like to say. It does get better and some days are better than others. Today, the house is a wreak, we all need baths/showers, need to make a grocery run, make food for the potluck party next door, do laundry, answer emails…

    Obviously all or even half of those things will not get done. As you say, the trick is lowering expectations and being OK with “good enough.” I’ve been working on this for a while and just when I think I’ve got my mind under control, I start all over again thinking “this time I will get it right; this time it will be perfect.” I find I do better when I let my kids show me the way. Let Ringo and Sam show you and you will get where you need to go.

    1. jillsalahub Post author

      Let’s lower the bar all the way to success meaning no one is starving, no one is sick or injured, and no one is dead. I just have so much respect for you, for every parent of little people, and that is sharply focused in the brief moments I’m in a similar place.


I'd love to hear what you think, kind and gentle reader.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s