Do You Look or See?

I agree, it was an impulsive decision. I couldn’t, or wouldn't stop myself. I didn’t use logic, engage my rational self, 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?

I met a Havanese puppy at the bank and fell in love. I didn’t mean to. I wasn’t even considering a new dog. I was still grieving Jeff, my soul-mate-dog. We adored each other. He slept next to me after my divorce, we shared the transition from country to city living-him having to poop on a leash and me having to pick it up, 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 fur-ball puppy that caught my heart. So two weeks later 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 who was very slow to trust us. As a result I was slow to warm up to her. I didn’t recognize this hesitancy in loving a pet. I had never felt this way before. And I had never had a dog that was so stand offish. I wondered if we had made a mistake.

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

I told my daughter that Gabbie and I were not bonding. She looked at me, then at Gabbie and 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's have hair not fur and it will grow to the ground if not groomed.)

I shared I had heard about someone who 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.”

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 in charge and she needed to be calm. Out of fear, or assurance, not sure which, 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. I felt like we both said, “Oh there you are! I see you!” In that moment I was reminded that there is a felt 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 I threw her 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 noticed I nuzzled her more. Talked to her more. I let her teach me her preferences. I got to know her.

Our hearts opened. We saw each other.

Several weeks later I had dinner with my son. 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 him, 3 feet in front of me. Remembering my lesson with Gabbie, I refocused, setting my intention to see.

And when I did, 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. I saw my grown up son with the eyes of an adult. Seeing him, in that moment, brought tears to my eyes. Not only did I come to the table, so did my heart.

In the movie Avatar, they greeted each other with, “I see you.”

Being seen is a gift.

Seeing opens your heart.

May you both see and be seen today and always!

With love,

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