Have you ever thought about what your dog or cat would tell you to do if they could speak?
Do you think they would want us to work 12 hour days, spend hours in traffic, watch too much TV, or shop for things we don’t need?
I invite you to close your eyes and imagine what kind of life your animal friend would want for you.
The first time I asked myself these questions was more than 14 years ago before I sold my veterinary clinic to go online and focus on helping people and their dogs stay healthy for as many years as possible.
When my friends asked me why I made such a sudden decision I just said that I listened to my dog, Skai.
For years, he reluctantly followed me to the clinic door, hoping that I would change my mind, turn around, and go play in the park instead. He knew I was burning out well before I did. I was helping many dogs and their people, but I felt like a failure because I could not find balance in my own life.
One day, at the end of a 12 hour shift, I turned to Skai and asked him:
“What would you want me to do, if anything was possible?”
I closed my eyes and floated away into another world. There I was, inside a pitch black box. I felt the fear and panic of not being able to find the door, trying to push the walls away as they were closing in on me. But then, I gave one more push and suddenly the black walls collapsed.
I was standing at the top of a huge waterfall, frozen with fear of falling into the unknown below. I stood there for what seemed like an eternity, but then it felt like an invisible hand pushed me. Just like a slow motion film, I leaned forward beyond the point of no return and started falling into the unknown below.
Splaaaashhhhh! The cool water enveloped my body, I felt chilly for a few seconds, but that quickly turned into feeling invigorated and refreshed. My head surfaced and I gasped for air. All I could see was light and the blue horizon.
“Peter, our computer system is down, can you come and look at it? Also the washing machine is leaking.”
“Peter, there is someone calling with an emergency.”
“Peter, can you sign this cheque?”
“Peter, you have a client holding on the other line…Peter! Peter! Peter!”
I was clearly back in my box.
A few months later...
My partner and I decided to go for a brief holiday to Maui. It was the first time we were able to take Skai along, as they had cancelled the rabies quarantine requirement and the state was allowing direct airport release.
Seeing Skai running on the beach was one of the happiest moments in my life. I closed my eyes, and again, a movie played in front of me, this time from the early years of my life growing up in a small town near the German border. It was surrounded by open-pit coal mines and the air was heavily polluted by sulphur dioxide from burning poor quality brown coal. Most of the time, the air smelled like rotten eggs.
I opened my eyes and looked around. “How wild is it that I am here in Hawaii, 11 time zones away!” I thought.
Near the end of our trip we visited Hana, a remote village on the north-east end of the island. We hiked through a very dense and lush jungle and bamboo forest until we reached a magnificent waterfall.
I stood under the waterfall, arms open wide, gasping for air as the cold water rushed over my face. I didn’t even notice that my partner took a few pictures of that moment.
The next day, on the way back to Vancouver we browsed through photos from the trip and one of them made my heart stop.
There I was, standing in the waterfall with Skai in the foreground grinning at the camera!
Suddenly it all connected, my moment in the clinic, the black box, the waterfall, the plunge and the feeling of freedom.
It felt like Skai was saying "Go for it, and jump!"
Now that you have read my story, ask yourself this:
What would your canine friend want you to do?
Close your eyes and listen to your dog! 🐶❤️