Thinking about the Christmas Spirit and what it means.
I’ve been trying to write this blog for ages, but I just have a mental block! I wanted to give you something that lifts your Christmas spirit and empowers you but is different from all the other posts I've seen recently.
I wanted to talk about mental health, overcoming challenges, learning, love, determination, frustrations...there are so many things that should be said. That need to be said.
However, today, I want to talk about our community, as dachshund owners, enthusiasts, trainers, behaviourists, vets, physiotherapists. I particularly want to shout out to the charities supporting dachshunds and their owners through difficult times and particularly Dachshund Health UK for working so hard to drive and fund research into preventing all the heartache that diseases like IVDD cause.
This year I have had the immense privilege of working with all of the above professions and various charities. I have witnessed strangers coming together to support people and dogs they don’t know with nothing expected in return. It is inspirational and I am blessed. We are all blessed! Other breeds do not have the same level of support we do, lets make sure we continue to support them.
We are a formidable bunch aren't we? Full of passion, love and knowledge. A passion so hard sometimes frustrations can have people dubbed “the dachshund police” when in essence these people are desperately trying to make people aware of the things concerning many of us with the breed. Things, you may not understand until you’ve experienced it. And yes, I know, sometimes there are better ways to phrase things, but I know these things do come from a place of care for the breed we love. Don’t take anything to heart, but do consider both sides of the coin. Our breed has been targeted by those who seek to take advantage of our love for them, don’t let that happen. (For breed advice and facts please go to Home | Dachshund Health UK).
I want to take a moment to thank everyone for every single time they have helped a dachshund or a dachshund owner. We are not easy, but we love our dogs. We know their superpowers, and hopefully you've learned never to underestimate the determination of a dachshund. They are far more than cute, short-legged foghorns.
We all come from different backgrounds, different experiences, ranging areas of knowledge but what I can say, is that every person I have worked with is inspirational. You have all inspired me in one way, shape or form. Thank you for playing your part!
It takes a lot to ask for help, and support. However as with everything, asking for help is just the first step in a long process. Whether its addressing your dogs behavioural issues, getting help for any mental health issues you may struggle with, or reaching out to support a friend asking is just one part. The hardest part is making changes to facilitate change, to follow guidance and be consistent with it. The hardest part is putting ourselves first and our dogs. Being patient and making time to change things is a huge challenge. And gosh, we give ourselves such a hard time when we just don’t feel we’ve done enough.
Any small change for the better is change. You are in control of making changes for the better and maintaining them. You can only do your best, let it be your best. As long as you try, and you keep trying then you will succeed.
I have personally experienced how you all come together to share someone’s grief, and how you all grieve alongside them, for an animal you may have never met. The love and shared grief we all shared on that sad day when Spesh gained his wings will stick with me for the rest of my life. How a little blonde bombshell brought us all together, and how you all share how knowing him, knowing his journey helped you and so many other dogs will always make the loss so much less painful.
I do want to talk about Spesh for a minute. I've been thinking about him a lot lately. My beautiful little angel on earth who returned to the stars in March. Now he was inspirational! Despite his many many physical challenges he welcomed life. He just loved life! He always tried to do things for himself, and he would always ask for help when he needed it, without shame. He would ask for help with a range of vocalisations- and yes I understood every single one, he really did speak. “I am hungry!” “ I need a wee!” “I want a cuddle.” “I want to play!” And my favourite – “oi you, come give me a snog!” He knew what he wanted. He radiated joy. If angels exist, I was blessed with a golden light that will always be with me. He is my bright star on a dark night!
His physical presence is missed far more than I ever could have anticipated, but his soul and spirit are around me all the time. Every clear night the twinkling stars catch my attention, everytime I eat dinner and smile remembering how he’d share my food as he was far to superior to eat from a bowl. Everytime someone mentions him in a conversation. His spirit lives on. For those of you who have lost someone close, who have empty chairs or absent bowls, remember the joy they brought you, not their loss. Raise a glass to them and remember the love you shared.
Why am I talking about Spesh? If you don’t know him, search the page for his name. This little guy overcame all odds, and despite his very short life his story and departure from this world affected many of us. He showed us, despite his differences he could still love life….just differently. He showed us sheer determination. And most importantly he showed all of us love. His presence brought so many of us together in the strangest of ways.
That’s what its about really isn’t it. Regardless of the obstacles you face, regardless of your own challenges love life. It really can be gone in a heart beat.
And so, this Christmas, regardless of your plans. Whether it’s a huge family get together, or you are tucked up solo with your dachshund watching sappy flicks on tv, remember you are loved. Probably by far more than you realise.
Christmas is a religious festival at its roots, and it has become so commercial its easy to forget the reason for it. It can cause so much stress, pressure and arguments. And that’s where it loses its meaning. I am not religious, but for me Christmas has been about being with my family, and sharing time and food with them. We all live together now as the family has grown smaller, and I am so glad I have my family so very close. Christmas day is probably the only day where I stop trying to do, and just am. I am a daughter. I am a mother. I am a dachshund slave. And I am going to eat lots of chocolate, lots of food, surrounded by my world.
This Christmas, just be. Be loved. Be happy. Be at peace. Be with your dachshunds. Be you!
Thank you all for your support this year, it really means the world to me. I am so glad to have been a part of all of your lives, and I look forward to seeing your adventures next year.
For anyone struggling at Christmas, please ask for help (see link at end).
However you spend the day, know you are loved.
If you want a giggle, have a watch of Neuro warrior Kami preparing for Christmas. https://fb.watch/p7V-_5I28H/. I will get a video of her on Christmas day!
And some pics that make me smile.
Here is a link to MIND, a mental health charity with lots of advice, guidance and support numbers should you need it.