Seeing opens your heart.

I agree, it was an impulsive decision, I couldn’t, or didn’t stop myself. I didn’t use my logic, engage my rational, or consult our budget to make this choice. I simply followed my heart-who wanted what she wanted when she wanted it. Ever happen to you?

Two weeks earlier I had met a Havanese puppy at the bank and fell in love. I didn’t mean to, I wasn’t even considering a new dog. actually didn’t want a new dog because I was still grieving Jeff, my soul-mate-dog. He adored me and I adored him. He slept next to after my divorce, we shared our transition from country to city living-him having to poop on a leash and me having to pick it, and he was my wing-man when I was dating. If Jeff didn’t like the guy, neither did I.

But there was something about this puppy at the bank that caught my heart. And I couldn’t shake it. So Easter morning of 2015 we drove East on the PA Turnpike stopping along the way at Pet Smart to pick up dog stuff. I knew from past pet experiences that once I held these teddy-bear pups, smelled their puppy breath and rubbed their soft bellies, I wouldn’t be leaving empty handed. And I was right, we came home with Gabriella. Gabbie for short.

Gabbie was a shy pup, slow to trust and warm up to us. As a result I was constantly reminded, she is not Jeff. I knew I wasn’t in love with her. I didn’t recognize myself. I had never hesitated loving a pet. Who was I? Had we made a mistake?

I talked with Tom about taking her back to the breeder. Knowing what an animal lover I am he was also surprised. Thankfully, he held for me what I was unable to hold at the time and said, “No, she is our dog now.” I will always love him for that.

I told Jena that Gabbie and I were not bonding. She casually said, “It’s the hair in her eyes. She can’t see you and you can’t see her. Cut the hair around her face and you might change your heart.” Havanese have hair, not fur, and a lot of it. It is what keeps them looking like puppies even when adults.

I told Jena a story I had heard about someone that cut the hair around their dog’s face and it never grew back. Kind of like my over plucking my eye brows as a teenager and now I carry an eyebrow pencil in my purse. She laughed and said, “I think you should try it.”

So a few days later I decided Gabbie and I were going to have our first serious grooming session. She struggled as I tried unsuccessfully to trim her. She didn’t trust me. Out of fear of hurting her, and frustration of losing to a 3-pound pup, I assertively announced in my best alpha-dog-voice, that I was the human which meant I was in charge and she needed to be calm. She settled into my lap and the fur flew.

When I was finished she looked at me. I looked back. We took a moment to see each other for the first time. It’s like we both said, “Oh there you are!” In that moment I was reminded that there is relational difference between looking and seeing. Do you know what I mean?

As the day went on I noticed differences between us. Gabbie watched me as I moved around the room, she didn’t run into the dining room chair when we played ball, she moved closer to me allowing me to cuddle her a little longer and for the first time she asked to go out. I nuzzled her more, talked to her more and I got to know her. Our hearts opened because we saw each other.

Several weeks later I had dinner with Landon. I was distracted at the restaurant, tracking the waitress, noticing the people coming in the door, taking in the decor of the place. I realized wasn’t seeing Landon, 3 feet from me. So I refocused and set my intention to see. And there sat my adult son. Handsome. Smart. Honest. Engaging. I looked for the little boy who wore the blue pajamas and was all arms and legs. Instead I saw my grown up son with the eyes of an adult.

In the movie Avatar, instead of saying, “How are you?” they greet each other saying, “I see you.”

Being seen is a gift.

Seeing opens your heart.

Patricia Boswell

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