How can I ever stop posting galleries of my favorite campers, otherwise known as the dogs? They bring me so much joy and they have begun infiltrating my life in more ways than one.
There is not a day that goes by where I do not think about my furry friends, who I love and who I spend about 40 hours a week with.
It was only a matter of time before they became the primary focus of my energy, time, conversations, emotions, etc.
They continue to remind me, untintentionally, that there are many things that I must continue to work on and things that I need to focus on.
Being in an environment, in which every single soul depends on you for comfort and for safety, emotionally, mentally, and physically, places a lot of stress and responsibility upon you. I am also reminded that some of my very intuitive friends will not react towards certain situations, which we view as insignificant, the way that we expect, or even the way that you like.
This applies to everyone and my life outside of work, which has helped me attempt to achieve a softer, kinder, compassionate, and empathetic reaction towards myself, the people I surround myself with, and the forces and circumstances that are completely out of my control.
While this is not a trait that is easily attained, I am attempting to grasp the concept of “patience” and “being patient.” Beyond grasping the concept, I am working towards implementing it into my life as much as possible, which has been much more difficult than one would imagine. I strive to practice patience all the time, but patience is not easily practiced. On a good day, patience is exuded out of me, especially when I do not consciously practice it, or intentionally set out to be patient and it just happens to exude out of me. These may not be my most gracious or comfortable moments, but learning to be patient with yourself, your life and your circumstances is all very important in learning to love youreslf. Patience, or possessing patience, is one of the greatest gifts that these furry friends of mine have taught me. This includes learning to be patient, even when I am completely uncomfortable, and learning to accept that there will be portions of my life that will be VERY UNCOMFORTABLE and make me want to crawl out of my own skin.
Prior to working at Camp Bow Wow and spending so much time with such genuine creatures, I did not realize how much patience can be practiced in many different ways than one and how being patient with things in which I act impulsively would assist me in growing and learning to love myself.
Last week, during my shift Friday, in which I was closing, I found myself feeling very vulnerable and VERY ANXIOUS. In fact, anxious is not even the word that I would use to describe how I was feeling. I found myself panicking, as I found myself feeling very uncomfortable and insecure. There are many situations that we can encounter in life and have to deal with that we cannot control, which is something that I am constantly reminded of. Whether I am happy with the fact that things will be out of my control is not anyone’s business, because I am often not very happy about it. When certain circumstances that you cannot control affect you negatively and apply stress onto your plate, most people complain or talk about it, but I choose to repress these feelings and thoughts until I hit a breaking point.
Friday afternoon and early evening was my breaking point, in which I acknowledged that certain aspects of my life are far from perfect and have started affecting me negatively. I try not blame anyone, anything, or life, instead I just realize that nothing in life is perfect and pray for this situation to make itself go away. I am not the biggest fan of appearing vulnerable outwardly, especially in professional settings, but this panic could not be masked. In addition to this, I hate making others feel uncomfortable while I am enduring a panic attack, as I would rather mask my anxiety attack and make it appear that I am calm as a cucumber when inside I am blowing up and far from calm. I normally am able to achieve an outward appearance that indicates that anxiety is not in my vocabulary, however, I finally showed my true colors.
My panic attack allowed me to be more open and communicate with my managers about my own mental diagnoses, and what I deal with. My work environment is incredible, as they continued to encourage honesty and open communication about my personal life and deeper things, so they could accomodate these aspects so I can continue to succeed at work. I hate feeling weak, and while it was uncomfortable for me to show emotions other than positive and happy, I cried my way through explainining what other circumstances I was enduring.
While my co-workers did not expect this kind of reaction, nor were they were aware of the extent of my “anxiety,” I did manage to make them concerned, worried, and a little fearful of what my anxiety and panic was capable of. My entire eight hour shift was full of apologies about how I was anxious and hoping that no one else would feel uncomfortable by my anxious presence. I even forgot how to breathe, which is the fundamental of living.
The greatest part about getting through this entire shift and being honest about the hardships I was oncurring was that I had to implement the act of patience, as I could not escape this obligation and I had no choice but to essentially “be.”
I had to push myself to just be patient with myself, which I could not seem to manage.
Who would have thought that just being yourself could be so uncomfortable?
This Friday reminded me why I do what I do and why I work with such gentle creatures, such as dogs. These very receptive and intelligent animals can pick up on emotions, moods, and energies, better than the average human, making it almost hard to even dislike a member of this species. Even while I felt so uncomfortable, felt so anxious, felt so panicky, felt sad, felt exhausted, felt insufficient, felt helpless, and felt vulnerable, these kind creatures managed to quite literally make their way into my arms and then into my heart, by strategically snuggling with me, carefully placing themselves into my arms and placing their bodies against my heart. Friday, if this was even possible, my campers displayed kindness, affection, joy, and empathy to an extent that I had never even imagined was possible. The way that they welcomed me and continued to show me affection made me realize how healing spending time with my campers is. It also made me think that I should be panicking more often, so I can receive that kind of treatment (LOL, JK). While I would never wish to endure that again, I can only guarantee that it will happen again, however, having a support system made of four-legged LOVERS continues to give me the hope and the courage to keep trying.
I also was able to witness first-hand what some of these campers endure, as not every camper enjoys doggy day care. Even if they do not enjoy it and are visibly exuding anxiety and panic, they seemingly have no choice but to endure the day at Camp Bow Wow, in one of the six dog yards that we have. Even if they are not trying to socialize with others or play, there is always someone who pushes you over the edge and causes you to snap. It takes so much courage and so much strength for these furry friends to get through an entire day, let along a half-day, of day care, as there are many aspects of Camp Bow Wow that are beyond your control.
Recently, I have found myself placing myself in some of these campers shoes, in which I had begun to realize how much I would HATE attending doggy day care, especially with all the factors that are out of your control. I imagined myself being an anxious wreck, acting like the most vulnerable versions of myself, and spending many days at camp in isolation, in the hopes that no one will bother me. I have formed bonds with many dogs, all of which expresss their anxiety and panic differently, whether it be aggressively or emotionally.
It takes so much strengh and courage for ALL CREATURES to put themselves out there, let along for them to socialize with others and put themselves out there.
It still continues to amaze me how strong and how much pain, anguish, and hurdles, these campers go through in order to simply accomodate their parents schedules, lifestyles, and decisions. In fact, attending doggy day care, as well as the length of time they spend there, is completely out of their control. Similarly, nothing about doggy day care is very consistent, minus what time breakfast, lunch, and dinner are initiated. The rest of the stressful factors that come with attending doggy day care, without their consent, are completely out of their control. The most consistency that these animals get are being in the same dog yard as a “Camp Counselor” that they are familiar with. I suppose the only consistent factor of Camp Bow Wow is the full-time staff, as it is not gauranteed that the same dogs will be in your dog yard, which often holds up to 35 dogs. Even the “Camp Counselors” are barely consistent, as we have a higher turnover rate than one would expect.
Not to be cliché, but every moment with these campers is a kodak moment. You cannot capture every single moment with these amazing creatures, as they are capable of doing things that you never thought were even possible, because they never fail to surprise me with a handful of hilarious moments. Sometimes, moments are too precious to even waste time capturing, so I choose to mentally store these visual memories into the kodak moments of my life, deep within my brain.
Please feel free to share your favorite kodak moments with your favorite furry friends! There is nothing that brings me more joy than a photograph of a man’s best friend, doing what they do best. The only thing that beats a photograph is the ability to witness the cuteness in person.
#DOGSOVERDONGS – The latest hashtag that graced my life, obviously at work. Basically, this hashtag reinforces the idea that dogs are infinitely better than any male companion, or female companion. I appreciate this hashtag and life motto on a more personal level.