Over the years, my pup and I have learned that life is an unpredictable doggie-trail filled with joys and challenges. Many of us often have to deal with very tough situations, but through it all, the power of hope and gratitude can help us find strength and beauty in every situation. This summer, as Unleash Love anticipates the upcoming tenth anniversary of the adoption of my little pal, Louie, I also had the “pleasure” of experiencing two surgeries in one summer (one down, one to go). However, through these experiences, I’ve learned to appreciate the profound impact of hope and gratitude in my life.

The Gift of Louie

I can’t believe it has been ten years since I adopted my little pal, Louie. While most adoption stories would read something like, “he was a lovable rescue dog who brought immeasurable joy and laughter into our lives with his playful antics and unconditional love.” Ummmm, no—that was not the case. He was challenging, and I had to decide to actually keep him, and, despite his behavior, I chose to love him. And the transformation began for both of us.

Facing the Challenges

While we’re excited to celebrate our tenth anniversary and the release of The POWER of HOPE, it also means Louie will be 11 years old. And as he ages, I’m noticing signs of vulnerability creeping in, which has brought a mix of emotions.

And then there’s me—I have spent most of the summer recovering, yet my little pal has been right by my side (most of the time, LOL). I’ve recognized this summer that what started as a cute story about our little cousin, Noli, is now being lived out by both me and Louie. The POWER of HOPE has fueled our determination to persevere and provide the “best care” for each other. And I believe it has inspired me to remain optimistic despite the challenges.

The Attitude of Gratitude

Hopefully, through life’s trials, we also learn to embrace an attitude of gratitude. Hope and gratitude help us focus on the blessings. Instead of dwelling on my pup aging or me walking around with a crutch, I am thankful. I am blessed that I am mobile and have had so many wonderful friends and family to help out. I am thankful for all the many years with Louie. I know we have many more, we just may be moving a bit slower. And that’s okay. I am thankful for the joy he has brought to so many children and continues to do so. Despite his challenging behaviors initially (and some remain), I am grateful for the invaluable lessons he has taught me about love, loyalty, and resilience. Gratitude allows me to enjoy my time with my granddaughters (my awesome co-authors), my daughter and son-in-law, my family, friends, and Louie.

Embracing the Present

As we prepare to celebrate a decade of Louie Love starting in September, we realize the importance of living in the present. Time does fly, and moments of joy and togetherness are to be cherished. Regardless of life’s challenges, embracing the present with hope and gratitude allows us to make the most of every precious moment. Hope keeps us moving forward, one day at a time, and gratitude helps us find joy even in the most challenging times. Embrace hope, embrace gratitude, and embrace life with open paws ;-).

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