I have this incredible golden retriever named Bella. She is probably the best dog in the whole wide world (now I will hear from everyone telling me their dog is the best)! We bought Bella, or actually, put an order in for Bella, the day after she was born 5 years ago, the same day we had to put our other dear golden, Emma down. I have always been a “dog person” and the thought coming home to a house without a wagging tail greeting me at the door was way too much to bear. Of course the thought of falling in love with another animal just to have them die years later was hard to bear as well, but the wagging tail prevailed and we bought Bella!

To say that I am a “dog person” is an understatement, and I have become worse since my only child went off to college four years ago. I am one of those crazy people who puts the dog on their Christmas card, consider her as part of the family and calls her husband “daddy” when talking to the dog. I totally own up to that!

Besides the companionship of my dear Bella, I love that she makes me get out and do things. I like that she makes me walk; she makes me navigate new trails; she makes me trek through new, deep snow; she makes me play on the frozen pond; she makes me enjoy walking in the rain. When I take her in the car, she just enjoys all the sights and sounds of the car ride. She loves nothing better than to have her head out the window, ears whipping and jowls flapping in the wind. Even a trip to Walmart is an awesome adventure for to Bella! I often think that without Bella I wouldn’t see the world in its full spectrum of color!

As a therapist, people come to my office with so many different struggles and heavy burdens. My heart aches for them and one of the many things I suggest is a change in their behavior. What will it take to get outside of the pain and begin to see the world differently? Many times this requires doing the exact opposite of what we feel like doing; this is a component of “behavioral therapy.” This is the gift that Bella gives to me! She persuades me to do the opposite of what I am feeling at the moment and I am so grateful!

Today would have been a great day to just rest, be lazy and do nothing after church! My idea of “rest” today would have been watching television (hey…the Vikings were playing the Cowboys and I was sort of interested!) or just resting, but Bella gave me “the look.” She has been so cooped up with the weather being so cold and me fighting a nasty cold over the holidays that she is dying to get outside! I gave in and dressed up warmly to brave the weather.

All I can say about our walk is, what a gift!  The sun was out, it was 34 degrees, and the snow was sparkling like diamonds!  Her joy in just being on that walk was so infectious that I couldn’t help but become energized and happy! We walked for almost 45 minutes, and I never felt cold or bored. I watched the world through the eyes of our ever happy golden retriever and it was beautiful! What a joy!

I want to challenge you today! How can you grab your “bright shiny day” today? What can you do to explore the world that God has given us? How can you go against your normal feelings and get out there for a fresh breath of air?

Perhaps I can negotiate the rental of our Bella, or not!

Shiny Blessings…

PS:  I am convinced that dogs are angels in disguise!  Become an angel to a dog that is need of a loving owner.  Check out “Retrieve a Golden of Minnesota”  http://www.ragom.org/   ***Warning: you might fall in love!