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Ordinary People Taking Action
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I know that not everyone is a dog lover. But for those who are, you know what I am talking about when I say that dogs just have a magical way of getting into your heart. This post is about a dog, recently named Wicket.
It’s a long story of how Wicket came to join our family, but I’ll give you the short version. A few months ago, interested in adopting a Pug, I left my contact info with a local animal shelter. Last week, they finally called to tell me that a Pug, approximately 7 years old, had been brought in. The dog had a severe eye infection that would require his eyes to be removed, was extremely skinny and had a major skin infection. He needed surgery immediately and was thought to have been overbred and neglected. The surgery went well, and two days later, he was up for adoption. Sarah from the shelter reminded me that he is an older, special needs dog. I left work immediately to meet the dog at the shelter.
At this point in the story, Wicket went by the name of Chug. Chug entered the small room and would bump into things as he tried to walk around. He was howling, which is extremely rare for a pug. He was also shaking, and was so skinny that you could see his spine. He had red patches of skin with fur missing around his body and fresh stitches from both his eye surgery and being neutered. He was smelly, had weak leg muscles, and his ears were filled with medicine to treat an ear infection. Even though I was dressed in nice work clothes, I decided to sit on the floor of the shelter. I clicked my tongue and called “Chug”. It took him a few minutes to find me, but once he did he crawled right into my lap. He stopped howling, he stopped shaking, he fell asleep.
I came home with Chug that evening. Numerous times during the hour drive from the shelter to our house, I questioned my decision to bring Chug home to meet the family. Would I mess up the rhythm of my family? Well, only one way to find out. When Chug and I headed inside, we faced a mixed reaction. My husband thought I was beyond nuts. My 12-year-old daughter was extremely excited. My 14-year-old son was a little unsure. Our 3-year-old resident Pug, Quincy, seemed as skeptical of the idea as my husband.
It’s been four days since Chug came home. The family settled on the name Wicket, after the Ewok warrior from Star Wars. He has had a bath. His stitches are healing nicely. His skin rash is almost gone thanks to antibiotics and Benadryl. He has been fed, given treats, loved and even is learning his new name along with some commands such as “come”, “up”, “down” and “stop”. He has pretty much learned his way around the family room of our house, including how to go in and out of the doggy door. He is getting the layout of our yard down pat. He can go up and down stairs and comes towards the kitchen at the sound of food. Like a typical Pug, he loves treats. He is more alert every day, more comfortable every hour and more relaxed every minute. He has already learned that snuggling on the couch is one of his favorite things. I don’t know how to explain it other than he has the sweetest soul.
Sometimes I feel like being a professional coach makes it hard for my brain to stop thinking about professional and leadership development. I relate it to the feeling of my friend who is an editor. She says being an editor is really hard to turn off – she sees something misspelled and always has a desire to correct it. Her editing brain never turns off; that is how I feel about my coaching brain.
So, of course, I can’t help but relate how far Wicket has come in just four days to how far a professional could come in the same short amount of time – with the right amount of support. From the outside, it is really easy to look at me and think I am crazy for bringing home Wicket, who from all signs had no potential. In fact, my colleague thought I was absolutely crazy for leaving work to go get this dog. By Friday afternoon, after hearing me talk about his progress, she’d completely changed her perception of Wicket – and of me for going to meet him. She said she thought it was great.
Who on your team – or in your life – is Wicket? What would happen if you gave a little bit of attention, support, training and compassion? Would that person thrive with some help? If we take away our judgment and negative perceptions of a situation, I truly believe we can maximize potential in all of us – whether that be animals or professionals.
Let’s all find our Wicket this week and make a positive impact.