Once upon a time…

… a LONG time ago, I used to show dogs. And groom them. I started with Mastiffs. Easy to groom. Hard to convince.

Next, Great Pyrenees. I have trouble admitting this, but we actually put laundry bluing in their shampoo to get them sparkly white. (I can’t believe I’m writing this!)

English Springers for a bit. Talk about perfectionist tendencies!

Then, a dear Newfie. Our first. She was still a puppy so the grooming was less aerobic but there’s a whole lot of we’ve always done it that way beneath those fluffy, drool-y beasties.

For the last 10 years or so I’ve needed help with the fuzzy big kids. It’s harder and harder to get close to the floor and lifting them is a definite no go.

But, our kids are coming to visit and, with all the pandemic challenges, it has been more than the ideal amount of time since Phoebe and Luther have had a bath.

A call to my friends at Jabula Dog Academy, also known as Camp, set us up with an appointment. Then, the brushing began!

And went on. And on. And on.

A new friend came to pick them up for their adventure and, blessedly, immediately grasped the fact that I was totally serious when I said mental health was way more important than looking like show dogs. Especially for Luther who’s had a whole bunch of overcoming to do on his journey.

He has a huge spirit for a guy who’s been horridly abused and sees with his heart.

While they were gone, I took some time out for feet up and weeding email.

That’s when the tears started. Specifically, the news overdose tears. With Atlanta still reeling from last week’s tragic shootings, Boulder about put me over the edge. And then the news about at least five more mass shootings in the US since Atlanta on March 16.

How does this happen???

I can cuddle the big dogs and help them learn about safe and loved. And loving.

I can plan a new program to help some awesome women realize their visions. (There’s still one space left. email me at suesvoice@gmail.com if you have a vision that could use some support!)

There are some things, though, that feel bigger than I can manage. Many of them, in this moment, are trying to make it harder for us to vote. Harder for the young people known as Dreamers to stay here. Harder to keep guys like the Atlanta shooter from buying a gun and using it on the very same day to kill 8 people just quietly living their lives.

So, after crying long enough to reduce some of my stress, I spent most of the time the beasties were at the spa doing what I could do. Signing petitions. Leaving a message for the Georgia Speaker of the House. (I’m for voting. Him, seemingly not so much.)

Well, you get the idea. My mom used to scrub floors in moments like this. (I must have gotten my knees from the other side of the family!) And, at the risk of sounding pessimistic, it seems like we’re going to need some coping strategies for a while.

So pray/knit. Or make prayer dots with paint. Or make soup. Or brush huge dogs. I understand there are even some people who go running!

And use your voice.

For now, I’m off to put a huge load of dog towels in the washer. Well, I should be. We’ll all be happier if I finish washing flannel sheets first so they don’t come out looking like Newfies!

And I hope you’ll join me, in your special way. Think of it as overtaking the tragic, hateful energy with kind, hopeful energy. It actually makes folding laundry more fun!

ps… If you squint and hold your head just right, you’ll see a very wet dog waiting for his girls in the photo above!

pss… May the people of Stockton CA, Gresham OR, Houston TX, Dallas TX, and Philadelphia PA, along with those of Atlanta and Boulder, find courage in our prayers and our actions. Yours and mine.

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Sue Boardman, Certified Intentional Creativity® Color of Woman Teacher

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