Dogged Determination | Pawsitive Living

Caroline and SplashOctober 20, 2013

Every afternoon at 5pm my 13 ½ year old Standard Schnauzer, Splash, wrestles his body upright, shakes his head, and carefully walks to the front door where he patiently waits for his afternoon walk. I’ve never figured out how he actually knows it’s time for me to give him that attention, particularly because he spends most of his day sleeping on a huge yellow smiley face beanbag chair, but at his age, the rhythm of his day is deeply ingrained, and he holds fast to the habits that have defined his life and soothed him.

Walking Splash at this point is an exercise in trying not to obsess about whether or not he has a few years, let alone a few months, left. He seems to be blind because he looks in every possible direction before he lopes toward me. He is obviously hard of hearing, too, because he used to jump into action if anyone in his family of five came home; now you have to search for him before he actually notices that someone new has entered the house.

Most heartbreaking of all is that Splash has a massive tumor in his back left leg, and it is so large that he has trouble lifting his leg to simply clear a curb, and he stumbles in places where he used to have boundless agility. Going up and down the stairs is heroic, and I often cheer for him as he contemplates the challenge in front of him, and then gathers himself and tentatively tries a few steps before committing himself to the whole set. Sometimes he tumbles backwards and has to start all over, but he always eventually gets to the top.

Splash embodies “dogged determination.” He never stops trying to be at his best, even if he is bumping into obstacles, trudging slowly up a hill on a hot day, or fruitlessly trying to perch himself on a stair that once was a favorite spot. What he doesn’t know is how important his role-modeling of this quality has been for me in recent years.

Caroline Adams Miller

Caroline Adams Miller, MAPP is a pioneer with her ground-breaking work in the areas of goal-setting/accomplishment, grit, happiness and success. Caroline is the author of seven books, including Positively CarolineMy Name is Caroline,  Creating Your Best Life and Getting Grit Live Happy Magazine named Creating Your Best Life one of the top ten goal-setting books ever published and Getting Grit one of the ten books that will change your life in 2017.  She has been featured in BBC World NewsThe New York TimesThe Washington Post, USA Today, U.S. News &World Report, ABC, CBS, NBC, NPR and CNN.  Caroline  is a graduate of Harvard University and holds a Master’s degree in Applied Positive Psychology from the University of Pennsylvania. And, she has more than three decades of unbroken recovery from bulimia.

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