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A New Puppy and a Newfoundland in the Same Week. And Why It’s a Bad Idea.

January 22, 2013

Posted in: Passion, Performance, Personal


This is a story of 48 hours of what seemed like a good idea – at the time.

First: Coleman called us from the road with the news he was bringing a puppy home with him and that we were all of a sudden new parents of an eight-week-old Australian Shepherd puppy.

OK. Fine.

Next, Kari has always loved Newfoundland dogs, and she learned of a breeder who needs a home for the two-year-old dog until the owner from Kansas needed her back for breeding.

Perfect. We didn’t have to buy a $1500 dog. We get to enjoy it. It’s what we’ve always wanted. We’ll be like house parents to our dream dog.

What a great idea!

But what happened next was anything but a great idea.

First off – managing a small, eight-week-old puppy is much the same as bringing home a baby. It cries. It has infant issues. It chews. It runs through the house.

Secondly, managing a two-year-old Newfoundland who is to be inside is much the same as bringing home a wooly mammoth. It has Newfoundland issues. It cries. It chews. It runs through the house.

With four kids, hectic schedules, and a so-called, fairly organized life, the injection of two cartoon characters presents enormous challenges.

From the moment Newfy landed, you could feel the earth move.  I swear when we were bowing our heads to pray at the dinner table, you thought there was a man walking through the house. The floors creaked, the milk on the table would vibrate and when we open our eyes from praying, Newfy has its head on the table, waiting for us to dish up a plate for her. And I just don’t do that.

Meanwhile, little Maggie is in the laundry room yapping its head off, screaming to go outside right now, or so help us it’s going to use the laundry room floor as its own personal stockyard.  Things are falling down. Lamps are being broken. Kids are laughing. Everyone is in concert screaming – no, no, NO!

Oh, and by the way, the 140-pound behemoth can run up the stairs, but can’t go back down the stairs. So now it’s late and we want to go to bed. Newfy is pacing upstairs from front staircase to back staircase just hoping that one of them isn’t a staircase. It’s beginning to panic. It’s crossing its legs – it has to go to the bathroom. So Kari and I struggle to lift livestock to carry it downstairs. The next morning it does the same thing. But Tatum is ahead of the dog on the staircase. We start to carry her downstairs. It decides to wrangle itself free and run down the stairs. It runs between Tatum’s legs. Tatum becomes an instant cowboy and is carried the last few steps riding a bucking dog which lasts less than the needed eight seconds to win anything. Tatum is thrown to the floor. I have to get Tatum to practice. Maggie is screaming from the laundry room. A yellow river is running from under the laundry room floor into the hallway. Tatum is crying, holding his wounded need.

I think I was swearing.

Kids were in shock.

We’re living the dream. Aren’t we? Or so we thought.

I took Newfy back to Kansas that night. The vehicle swayed like a semi loaded with cattle.

So what did this 48 hours teach us? What can all of us learn from what looked like a bad reality TV show?

IVR – Ideas vs. Reality. Our idea of having a giant dog and a puppy is much different than the reality of having a giant dog and a puppy.

The truth is our ideas and our realities are rarely the same thing. Either our idea will change to the reality, or our reality will change the idea. It’s a good lesson for me.

How many of us are in love with an idea of something? A future not-yet realized that holds an idea? Is it a new venture, a better spouse, a lottery winning, a better bank account, a temptation or a seduction that promises something better? How often we run to that idea, and when we actually get there, it somehow isn’t what we thought it would be? Somehow the reality before the idea is no different after the idea, just different?

It wasn’t the dog’s fault. She was an absolutely beautiful creature with a gentle spirit. It was our thinking that it was going to be just as we imagined. And that’s rarely the case.

Believe me, I am all for dreaming and ideas, and to pursue them with passion. Simply think past the idea and look at what the reality of your idea is going to be. It can be greater than you ever imagined, or you could be looking to take your idea back to Kansas. We’ll all be a little wiser if we own the fact that whatever it is that we dream – it will not be exactly as we envisioned.






Do you confuse the two sometimes like I do? When has the idea been better than the reality, or when has the reality been more than you ever dreamed possible? Post your comments! 

Need help in distinguishing the two? Contact me for your own personal or corporate offsite to learn how you can achieve the right balance so that your idea can be the reality you’ve been waiting for.

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One Response to “A New Puppy and a Newfoundland in the Same Week. And Why It’s a Bad Idea.”

  1. Ginny says:

    As a fellow dog lover, and owner of a few ideas that have or should have been “taken back to Kansas,” I loved this story. Your foster Newfy is hopefully thriving wherever she is, and your puppy is probably still creating chaos. I think my new phrase for stupid ideas will be “take it back to Kansas.”

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