Don’t Change, Exchange!

Rusty changed his status, from King of the House, to nap pillow when Sasha arrived.

This past Labor Day weekend was the rainiest holiday of the year. My poor pups, Rusty and Sasha, stared at me for four days hoping to resume their afternoon walks.

Every time they saw me putting on my running shoes, they started wagging their tails, hopeful, only to realize that the walk was just for me on the treadmill. I could just hear their muffled complaints: “Why does she like walking on that thing? There is  no pee to sniff!” 

On Sunday, the rain stopped for an hour in the afternoon, and I got the doggies ready for a stroll. As soon as we came out, I saw our next door neighbors coming home from their walk with their cute, long haired miniature Dachshund, Stella. However, another set of four short legs overran her around the corner, wagging its tail with a lot of character. It was Skippy, the “new  kid on the block.”

Rescued from South Carolina, this caramel Dachshund/Golden Retriever found himself in “dog heaven,” because my neighbors are the nicest people in the world. Even my dogs wanted to move in with them after they doggie-sat for them during our vacation in Colombia. Ungrateful brats!

We chatted a few minutes about the new fur baby and how he and Stella were adjusting to each other. Rusty growled at Skippy and Sasha sniffed his butt. We said good-bye and I took the pups for a very short walk before it rained again. I could hear them bitching while I pulled them inside the house.

Thinking of Skippy made me remember when we brought Sasha home, six years ago. Rusty was the King of the House. He slept on our bed, owned all the bones and toys, and watched TV on my husband’s lap. Then, one day, we came back with the skinniest and dirtiest dog we could find at the dog pound: our sweet Sasha.

Rusty looked at her–all snooty–and then started whining. I bet he was saying: “Ok, is anybody going to explain what the heck is going on here? Who is she? Just so you know, she is not sleeping in my bed!

Rusty has a “cat personality,” and although they get along fine now a days, I bet he still hopes somebody will come by and pick her up one day. But why did he react this way? Because he didn’t like change. Who does? Change is probably one of the most difficult challenges any living creature experiences in its life time. Even a plant would react violently if it is used to lots of sunshine and then placed, abruptly, in the darkness.

Moreover, change is dynamic. Sometimes we are affected by change and other times we are the factor that changes somebody or something else. When my son was born, Sasha’s life changed forever. My son always saw her as a pony and tried to ride her cowboy style the moment he was able to walk. I am sure Rusty said, “Now you know what I felt when you came home!

During the 2007 recession, when I worked selling worker’s comp insurance to construction companies, I read the book Who Moved My Cheese? to help me deal with the economic changes and the crash of my commissions. The object of the book is to identify what kind of attitude we have as our situations in life are altered, and to portray change, not as a threat, but as an opportunity.

This book taught me to see change in a different way. In my mind, I don’t change; I exchange–because I just hate feeling empty-handed. I always try hard to learn a lesson from it so I feel like I got something in return. So, no matter if the cheese is moved, eaten or stolen, I always try to take a  bite before it gets moldy.

Thanks for reading and sharing,

Xiomara Spadafora.

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