There is this quote I’ve seen in my forever home that I’ve always wondered about. It reads “love many, trust few, always paddle your own canoe.” It is sewed onto a little pillow in one of the bedrooms and written onto a teeny homemade canoe on the bookcase in the living room. I can’t say I was a believer in its theory until I learned its history.
It was something my adoptive mom’s grandpa (my great-grandpa) used to say. He went to heaven a long time before I would have had the opportunity to meet him, but I have to say he sounds like a pretty stand-up guy. My adoptive dad never met him either, so we have in common that we wish we could have met him before it was too late. Instead we have his stories and theories to hold onto, including (but not limited to) his quote about the canoe.
I will admit: I do love my fair share of people. Good, bad, or ugly people are pretty important in a dog’s life regardless of the role they play. People have the power to pretty much control a dog’s environment at all times to reflect whatever they desire. Unfortunately, what they desire isn’t always a happy place in a dog’s life. I myself have had my fair share of negative experiences with people choices that impact a dog’s life. But as I am making it my goal to find good and happiness in all people and things, I will focus my attention on the very important people in my life:
1) Momma Schmidt – I love you more than words can say. You know that. If home is where the heart is, you are home to me.
2) Dad Schmidt – I’ve heard you say more than once that you will never admit to loving “a dog,” but your actions speak otherwise. I know you love me without you ever having to say so, which (in my opinion) is perhaps even more affective and meaningful than if you said it all the time.
3) Grandma and Auntie Finke – My momma’s momma and sister. How I love you both simply for who you are.
4) Grandma and Grandpa Schmidt – You buy special treats and toys for me when you know I’m coming over. What more could I ask for?
5) Little Schmidts – You are the little people in my lives, from whom I gain more wisdom than anyone else. Thank you.
6) Schmidt family friends – You know who you are. If you have ever left the Schmidt house with my fur all over you, consider yourself loved.
7) My blogosphere – Especially, Amba, Seeker, Hope, Leisa, Rachel, Misifusa, Putney, Cheyne and Popper’s mom, Trompie’s mom , Trev’s mom and all else. You are some of my most favorite people who continue to inspire me on a daily basis. I am grateful for you all.
As a former stray who was adopted into the wrong families before I found my forever home, I understand the “trust few” portion of the quote more than I would like to admit. Yesterday my own adoptive dad (who I love and trust) took his belt off and I cowered like I always do. It doesn’t mean I don’t trust him, but my instinct for leather belts is negative and that stays with me forever. Especially after being beaten and abandoned, experience has reinforced the importance of earning trust. My doggie circle of trust is known only to me.
That said, I can say with honesty that I would prefer to never paddle my own canoe. Like my perspective on joy, my time on boats has taught me these are moments best enjoyed when shared with loved ones in spite of how plentiful that list may be.
People are pretty important in a dog’s life. Good, bad and ugly, it doesn’t matter. And so it is. I love many, trust few, and choose to paddle my joy canoe with the help of whomever wants to join me. Fortunately for me those negative days are in my past now, and I have nothing but very important positive people to celebrate.