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  • Karen Brilliant Andrews

How and Why This Dog is a Role Model!

Updated: Jul 30, 2020

LESSONS LEARNED From a Little Bichon Named BEN.


No one likes having a bad day. We all want to feel safe, loved, and happy. We all wish that life didn't have any potholes that get us tangled and tripped up. Lately, there is a lot going on in the news and it seems our security is a little rattled.


Like most, I start my day with a cup of coffee and scan the news on my iPad. Ugh! Emotional drain. From my dining room table, there is nothing I can do about the news…nothing. I hop in the shower, dress up for the day, get geared up for a "glorious" Monday.

I live close to work, so I can walk a couple blocks of a residential neighborhood to get to the small office in which I work. This particular Monday, I see with a familiar face, my friend is outside with her little Bichon dog, named Ben.



A person can't help but like Ben. He is a Bichon, and will turn 10 years old in a couple months, and he has soft curly white hair, and is always groomed and looking his best. Ben’s dad keeps a tennis ball around all the time because little Ben LOVES to chase the ball and loves his treats.


When Ben’s dad picks up the ball, you see little Ben “go long” to get the ball. You see the excitement in his little brown eyes, and you know that is the highlight of his entire day. NOTHING IS MORE FUN THAN GETTING TO RUN AS FAST AS YOUR LEGS CAN TAKE YOU AND CHASE THE THINGS YOU LOVE! Ben will go get the ball, hand it to Dad…and will back up and “go long” again. Dad’s throwing arm will tire out long before Ben’s little legs will.


As I passed by little Ben’s house on my walk to work, my heart was a little heavier that I wanted it to be. I see my little four-legged friend outside with his Mom and stopped to say hello. I made my apologies to Ben, as I didn’t have time to toss a ball for him and or have any little treats. But I did have some little back scratches to hand out!


I next made my goodbyes, and continued on my walk. I had a few minutes before I would be at the office, so I reflected on my visit with Ben trying to figure out what it was about my visit with Ben that lightened my step that morning. What was his secret? Was his happy disposition really contagious? Was it his simplicity? What was the "take away" from this little encounter with Ben?


It occurred to me:

* Whatever the day brings, little Ben handles it. He goes minute-by-minute and day-to-day.

* He doesn’t know how to dread the day, doesn’t pre-analyze how bad the day will be and doesn't feel sorry for himself. While I haven’t exactly ask his Mom and Dad, I feel pretty sure little Ben hasn’t complained that his life wasn’t fair.

* He knows what makes him feel safe, and what makes him feel unsafe.

* He focuses on the things he loves, the people he loves, and will automatically gravitate toward the things that are safe for him.

* Surprisingly, he can do all this without a single social media post


I saw a quote on social media, forgive me, I can’t recall who said it, “You become what you focus on”. Even the bible says, “For as he thinks within himself, so he is.” (Proverbs 23:7, NASB). To Ben, life is belly rubs and chasing ball. Life is everything he enjoys because that is what he focuses on daily. Like my dad said when I learned to play softball, “Keep your eyes on the ball.” I guarantee you that Ben knows where that ball is at all times!

After I made this mental list, I applied some of Little Ben’s secrets to my day:

* Every person I met that day was now a chance to make something positive happen. I allowed myself to think on the things I love instead of dreading the awful.

* I paid more attention to those who I love, what was safe and what was unsafe for that day. I focused on the opportunity for sun and wind to blow through my hair.

* I started that day knowing that no matter what happened, I would end it at home in my little safe place with people I love around me. (Most of my family lives over 2000 miles away. I LOVE today's video chat technology!)


Henry Ford said, “Whether you think you can, or you think you can't--you're right.” A lot of truth in that statement. Side note - watch what you allow your mind to say to yourself. Those random thoughts have POWER in them!


Dogs live 100% in the now. Some dogs may not have Ben’s life, or have the comforts that Ben has. But the amazing thing about a dog, is that you can take a dog that has had a “less than spectacular” life, and they can put it behind them. In time, the past means less and less to them because they get focused on living 110% in the moment. That is where their happiness lives - in the NOW. My mom used to say, "You can do anything for one day". Life is in the NOW.


Challenge: next time you get up thinking that today is going to be a rough day, you can allow about 30 minutes for the day to be rough. But, by the time you get to that SECOND cup of coffee, it will be an amazing day. Be like Ben, focus on the things that make you feel happy, safe, and loved. Do a quick step over the potholes in life and don’t bother looking back.


Lately, people seem to be overloaded with rough news lately. Not much can be done about world news from a living room, and most just want a peaceful and quiet life. It seems every news source, social media post, and conversation is a competition for the next Outrage Reaction. It is up to me to find my peace, I dictate that. I can foster my own happiness. God is good, all the time. I say my prayers, try to keep my front porch clean, and focus on the log in my eye before I focus on the speck of sawdust in someone else's. (Bible reference, Matt 7:3). I need to stop making life too complicated.


I want to: #BeLikeBen




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