Paws and Reflections: Welcoming a Canine Friend

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When our family decided to welcome Chewie, an 8-year-old rescue dog with an anxiety disorder, into our lives during the pandemic, we underestimated the emotional rollercoaster that lay ahead. The seemingly simple decision was more than just adding a furry member to our family. It was about navigating a significant shift in our lifestyle and mindset, a journey we hadn't fully anticipated.

Before Chewie: The Life We Knew

Our life before Chewie arrived was a blend of freedom and flexibility. Spontaneous outings, impromptu gatherings, and a certain order to our home were norms we took for granted. Our days were predictable, our routines set, and our responsibilities, though significant, were familiar and manageable.

The Arrival: A Ripple of Change

Chewie's arrival marked the beginning of a transformation. Initially, we focused on the practical aspects - setting up his space, adjusting our schedules for walks, and attending to his needs. But soon, this change became deeper, and more emotional layers began to surface.

The Emotional Shift: Recognizing the Impact

We hadn’t fully grasped how this decision would challenge our emotional equilibrium. The responsibility of caring for Chewie, coupled with his anxiety and needs, added complexity to our family dynamics. It forced us to confront a change process we were unprepared for. As William Bridges brilliantly articulates in his change model, we were in the midst of an emotional transition, not just a physical one.

Letting Go: The Hardest Part

Our journey with Chewie made us realize the importance of 'letting go.' We had to mourn the loss of our previous lifestyle - the unbounded freedom and the less encumbered life. This was not just about adapting to a new member but also about acknowledging and releasing the life we once had, an unexpectedly poignant and challenging process.

The Transition: Embracing the New Normal

As we navigated this transition, we learned that embracing our new life with Chewie required acceptance and adaptation. It meant embracing the messiness, the unpredictability, and the new form of joy and companionship he brought. We developed new routines, discovered unexpected joys in our daily walks, and experienced a different sense of fulfilment in caring for him.

A New Chapter: My Daughter's Journey

Recently, my daughter embarked on her own canine adventure, bringing a new puppy into her life. Her journey mirrors my own with Chewie, reflecting a similar emotional process but in a different life stage. As she adjusts to her puppy's boundless energy and constant attention, she's navigating the joys and challenges of a significant lifestyle shift.

Reflections and Shared Experiences

Supporting my daughter through this transition has offered me a unique perspective on the universality of change. Our shared experiences highlight how welcoming a dog into one's life is a profound journey of emotional growth, re-evaluation of priorities, and adaptation to new forms of love and responsibility.

Conclusion: Lessons in Love and Change

Chewie’s arrival and witnessing my daughter's new beginnings with her puppy have been metaphors for life’s broader changes. These experiences remind us that embracing change involves letting go of the old and welcoming the new, a process filled with growth, adaptation, and unexpected joys. Life, at any age, can surprise us with new lessons, often in the form of wagging tails and loyal companionship.

The vivify-me purpose:

As the Founder and Architect of the Vivify-Me program, I have seen first-hand how transformative understanding and embracing change can be. The vivify-me program is designed to support individuals, especially those in midlife, through significant life changes, whether dealing with loss, navigating new beginnings, or finding renewed purpose. 

Welcoming Chewie into our family is a simple example of this. The journey of personal transformation is about embracing change, learning to let go of the past, and moving forward with courage and resilience.

At vivify-me, we are committed to guiding you through these transitions, supporting you in rediscovering your joy and helping you confidently step into your next chapter.

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