There is an emanation from the heart

which cannot be described,

but is immediately felt and puts

the stranger at his ease.

~Washington Irving

Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life.
It turns what we have into enough...

.........and more.

It turns denial into acceptance,
chaos to order, confusion to clarity.

It can turn a meal into a feast,

a house into a home,

a stranger into a friend.

~Melody Beattie

Don't be satisfied with stories,

how things have gone with others.

Unfold your own myth.

May my life be like a great

hospitable tree, and may

weary wanderers find in

me a rest.

~John Henry Jowett

Thursday, 21 January 2016

Jack's Day at the Beauty Parlour

Unless you leave room for serendipity,
 how can the divine enter in?
~Joseph Campbell

Yesterday was a very big day for wee Jack, who isn't quite so 'wee' at ten months old. It was his first trip to be professionally groomed--and it broke his mother's heart.

Between Stuart and I being away for a month over Christmas and New Year, and Jack going too long between good brush-outs, we came home to what resembled more of a dust mop than our little, fluffy puppy. And we came home to a shock........a good one mind you, but still a surpirse.

A Bichon Frise', like Jack's momma.

The classic Lhasa Apso,
originally bred in Tibet.
Before we left in mid-December, we had thought Jack's coat was at it's full length and although he was a roving ball of fur and fluff, it was still manageable. We were confident it would stay that way because when we adopted Jack last May, we were told his momma was Bichon Frise' and his papa was a Jack Russell. Imagine our surprise when we walked in the front door, after not seeing him for four weeks, and saw that his coat had grown another two inches or more! The thought that he was half Jack Russell went straight out the window and I knew we were most likely looking at a Llasa Apso coat on our wee Jack, or maybe even a Tibetan Terrier.

Jack at six weeks on the left, a Lhasa Apso pup on the right.

"Mama always said life was like
 a box of chocolates. You never 
know what you're gonna get."
~Forrest Gump

Once the surprise wore off that our Jack wasn't half Jack Russell, Stuart and I had a good laugh, said 'oh well!'--and immediately booked him in to spend a morning at the local doggie beauty parlour to be groomed. I also knew in my heart that ten months of puppy fluff was going to have to come off, if we were ever going to get rid of the knots in his fur that had appeared while we were away. And that broke my heart. I've spent the past eight months or so burying my face in that fluff, and I knew he'd come home looking like a mature teenager rather than a puppy.

I'm happy to say that Jack was a brave, little soldier and did beautifully with the groomer. Max was also getting a beauty treatment, so he shored up Jack's confidence too. I also was right--he didn't look like the same dog when he was finished. How many of us have chopped our hair off in a fit of "needing something different", only to keep telling ourselves "it will grow out"......over and over again. That's what I've been repeating to myself since yesterday afternoon when we picked them up--it will grow out and my ball of fluff will return.

Post-grooming Jack's little face and big
 brown eyes still look almost the same......

..........the rest of his body not so much.
Jack checking out Max's haircut......,
"Hey! Why do you still get to have fur?!"

Jack and Max resting after their
 morning of beauty treatments.

Without his fluff to fill it out,
Jack swims in his little puffy jacket now
but he seemed happy and warm,
 running about after his haircut.

Jack is still a blur running through Holywell Cemetery.

The true adventurer goes forth aimless and 
uncalculating to meet and greet unknown fate. 
~O. Henry

I tend to listen to my intuition and follow my heart in all things, so I've never been one to over-think my life. Also, being the middle of five children, I was blessed with the "resiliency gene". No matter what's thrown at me, I'm always able to readjust my stance--and can usually find something to laugh about in almost any situation. Just over a year ago Stuart and I decided to look for a puppy in the spring and I had my heart set on a Jack Russell mix. I searched and searched online.....and then saw Jack's face and that was it. Heart stolen. And now a year on, I still don't have my Jack Russell but even better, we do have our Jack. Maybe our next dog will finally be my little Jack Russell, but following my heart meant finding Jack. 

So, fluff or no fluff, he's still 'wee Jack'. We chose his name not only because we thought he was a Jack Russell, but more importantly after our (second) favourite 'Jack', C.S. Lewis--Oxford's most famous Jack. With his little, pink tongue, (our Jack not C.S. Lewis), his happy ways, and his funny spirit, Jack ended up being just the right dog for us. His fluff will grow back and in a few months time I'll be able to bury my face in it again.

So to reintroduce our wee Jack........
he's Bichon Frise' and (maybe??) Lhasa Apso
or Tibetan Terrier.......and still perfect.

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