Posts Tagged ‘dog

21
Mar
14

50 Shades of Blue

50-Shades-of-Blue (1)In celebration of a life well lived, I paws to recognize one the greatest influences in my life, Mr. Blue. Mr. Blue is my soul dog, my once-in-a-lifetime dog, the companion who has stayed faithfully by my side through the tumulus last thirteen years.

People often mourn the death of a pet with great intensity, and they feel a bit strange about it, as if an animal is unworthy of such emotion.  I only saw my father cry twice in his life and one of those times was when he had to put his German Shepherd, Jessie, to sleep.

The reason we mourn the deaths of our pets so deeply is real, and is not to be discarded lightly. The love of an animal is unconditional. There are no bad times. When we lose humans, it is a mixture of sadness and, let’s be real, relief. That’s because there are good times and there are bad times. Not so with a soul dog. There are only good times which make it infinitely harder to let go.

The love of a dog is so rich, so real, so all-encompassing that it takes us to a divine level. Now I do not mean to deify or suggest that a dog is a substitute for a human or for faith, but I have come across countless humans who have told me stories of how their dog got them through the death of spouse, a divorce, or some other tragic circumstance.

Mr. Blue is one of those furever companions. He has brought such richness to my life that it is hard to even formulate the words to describe it. Those of you who have met him know what I’m talking about.

In August of last year, when Mr. Blue was twelve years old, he was diagnosed with lymphoma.  I was absolutely devastated.  We immediately embarked upon a sixteen-treatment chemotherapy plan. Mr. Blue went into remission immediately and things looked bright until his sixteenth treatment when he relapsed.

I’ve been through divorce, the death of a parent, and war (twice), and I can say this is the most devastated I’ve been. The oncologist moved him onto his second regimen of drug protocols and within a week Mr. Blue was back in remission.

He is doing remarkably well. He knows what I am doing for him. He has regained weight and is spunky and snarky, almost puppy-like. And as long as he has this quality of life we will continue on this journey. Every night I thank God for another day with Mr. Blue.

This experience has placed me in a state of thankfulness for the here-and-now, something I was sorely lacking in my life. In celebration of a life well lived and in the transformative power of a dog’s love, I invite you to join us in a special time of sharing on April 7th in the Charlie “T” Jones Conference Center where we’ll celebrate Mr. Blue’s life and continuing legacy!

02
Nov
12

How I finally became the most popular kid in school

I confess I wasn’t very hip when I was in school. Part nerd, part band geek, and part quasi-athlete, I mixed with a wide range of kids and never made it to the top of any particular group. But that all changed when my dog wrote a book: at 49 years old, I catapulted beyond Justin Bieber status, all because of my dog, Mr. Blue.

I had no idea that a dog in a tie walking onto an elementary school campus could cause such mayhem. He’s made so many appearances that his reputation precedes him. At every event, at least one youngster has already seen him and anxiously stokes the flames of what’s to come. And when we walk through the halls, its pandemonium.

I hear growing squeals and packs of footsteps behind me as we move to the auditorium. Kids stream out of their classrooms, unable to be restrained any longer. It’s reminiscent of Beatlemania, where hoards of screaming fans just can’t contain their enthusiasm. Yes, my dog truly is a rock star minus the ego and self-destructive tendencies.

I didn’t realize that dogs are verboten on school property in today’s world. There are signs everywhere. Hence, seeing a creature of the canine persuasion enter your facility is a little like seeing a unicorn. You think you’re seeing what you’re seeing, but you can’t actually believe it.

Mr. Blue met with 1,200 of the most pawsome K through 5th graders on the planet over the last two weeks. He gave an average of 10 kisses per student which puts him well into the six-figure range. He shared his leadership principles in the way that only a dog can do, with sweetness, unconditional acceptance, and hound wisdom.

I never know who’s more excited about the whole affair; the dog, the students, or me. It’s seems to be the trifecta of learning and sharing together. But then again, with a dog at the center of the universe for the day, how could it be anything else? When I see the group photos of us all posing together I laugh. When I read the letters they send to me and Mr. Blue about what they learned I cry. When I realize how blessed I am to be sharing with this age group the timeless principles that make life tremendous with my best friend by my side, I think I’ve died and gone to heaven.

It feels great to be the most popular kid in school but I’m glad it took me this long to achieve it. Now I know that being popular amongst the youngsters is all about making them feel valued and inspired. And I’ve got just the sidekick to help me out.

If you would like to schedule an appearance by Mr. Blue, but you live outside of the Central Pennsylvania area, please be sure to send your private jet to pick him up. Rock stars don’t fly in the cargo hold!

07
Sep
11

not all who wander are lost

When I was young I had a passion for writing. I was told I was good at it. It came naturally and I enjoyed it. When it came time for college, I went the engineering route because that’s where the money and jobs were. Being a creative person in a technical field definitely had its advantages. The ability to write and communicate was always in demand so I felt actualized on both sides of the brain. The leadership training I gained during my years in the Air Force was also a plus. Looking back, even though it wasn’t my most authentic self, it was still a pretty good self, and I worked hard at each job.

When I got my first dog, Mr. Blue, I was intent on socializing him. So I signed him up to go to a tremendous doggie daycare, DogBoy’s Dog Ranch, in Austin, Texas. For four years he romped through the fields learning how to play and be a joyful canine. I’d drop him off and he’d race into the pen to join his friends. I wished, each and every time, that I could run into the area with them and spend the entire day playing rather than going to my J.O.B. But could I pay the bills hanging out with dogs all day and sharing all the amazing things we can learn from them?

Fast forward ten years. As part of my journey, I wound up back home in Pennsylvania running Tremendous Life Books, the premier publisher of motivational and leadership material. I can’t say it was planned, but I’ve always subscribed to the mantra, “Not all who wander are lost.” I’ve never been one to pass by an open door. As Yogi Berra so famously said, “When you come to a fork in the road, take it.”

So now I am a writer. And I get to bring my dog (now dogs!), to work every day. And my dog wrote a book. And we’re going on a six-city book “pawtograph” tour. And I get to give speeches with my dog about leadership and our various journeys throughout life. Had I not had all those “detours”, I wouldn’t have much to share. Sure I could go on and on about how much I love my dog, but so could every dog parent.

So in the end, despite all the wandering and forks in the road, I wound up exactly where I am supposed to be with my best friend by my side! All those previous industries and experiences helped me discover the most authentic version of myself. Best of all, I get to spend my entire time focused on the things in life that matter most to me, and make enough money not only to pay the bills, and to give back to some tremendous organizations.

I’m finally running and playing in the field where I was meant to be.

17
May
11

let’s do it doggie style!

The divine canine is my hero and muse. This past January, after 10 years of living in solitude and bliss with three cats and my soul-dog, Mr. Blue, I introduced a new adoptee into our pack. Ruby Red was a six-year-old Aussie purebred whose previous life was spent as a breeding dog in Kentucky.

I voraciously read how to introduce a new dog into the mix. She was cat-approved: Check! The existing male dog approved: Check! Let the dogs meet on neutral turf before introducing into the home: Check!

By day three, however, the novelty had worn off and the quest for dominance erupted. They had to establish their own “barking” order, which they did with much snarling and snapping, but without, thankfully, bloodshed or trips to the vet’s office.

Fast-forward to the present day: Mr. Blue and Ruby Red have worked through their issues and have actually become quite chummy. The entire household knows that Mr. Blue is the number-one son, but he allows Ruby Red to be her vocal, bossy self. I even see them wrestle a little, assume the same napping positions, communicate by making the same shepherd sounds, and even give each other little kisses on the muzzle when they pass. Each day they become more and more alike and comfortable, like an old married couple who intimately knows each other’s routines and thoughts.

So why do so many humans behave in the opposite fashion? We meet, fall into the gooey honeymoon phase, and eventually get married only to become disenchanted and spend the rest of our years becoming more and more hostile to one another. Humans are on an exact opposite trajectory than hounds!

We misrepresent and hide our true aggressions until we eventually let the snarling truth come out when we are inextricably, legally, and morally linked. If we tried to be more guileless and honest, we wouldn’t be less than forthright. We wouldn’t try to change one another. And our lives would be full of a lot more unconditional puppy love.

We need to take a lesson from man’s best friend and learn how to lay it all on the table within the first few meetings. Display right from the beginning our motives and temperament. Define our boundaries and who we are and demand respect. After all, everything surfaces eventually; the sooner the better. Ruff said.

31
Jan
11

let’s get the “h” out of there!!!

Swearing was verboten in my house growing up. Decades later I still shudder thinking about the consequences if we had. The closest we ever got to profanity was using the letter “h” to refer to “hell”; such as in the spelling “h” “e” “double tooth pick” (which referred to Hades) or in telling someone “let’s get the “h” out of there!”

I’ve spent the last four weeks with my rescue dog, Ruby, unlocking all the secrets of her canine mind. She was scared of certain things. Due to my inability to pinpoint exactly what was frightening her, I met with a behavioral specialist who used relaxation protocol and a bag full of turkey hot dogs as positive reinforcement.

With each new sight or sound, I looked in Ruby’s eyes, spoke calmly, and plied her with treats. She slowly began to realize that things that had previously scared her were now harbingers of her favorite snack.

In short, Ruby quickly learned how to turn a “threat” into a “treat” by getting the “h” out of there. I wish I could be such a quick learner! One little change in your attitude leads to a whole different outlook on life.

Hans Selye said, “Adopting the right attitude can convert a negative stress into a positive one.” Truer words were never barked!




Tremendous Tracey


CEO Tremendous Life Books. Book Evangelist

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