Every Day Is a Challenge: It’s All About How You Perceive It

Every day is another day in this world. While you’re trying to live your life to its fullest you will definitely have those challenging days, right? Well, I’d like to share with you a story about one of those challenging days.

About a week ago, my wife Amy and my six month old daughter Taylor Lynn decided to go out for breakfast at one of my favorite restaurants in Sonoma, and of course, I brought my 14-month-old McNab Shepherd Pistol with us. I take her everywhere I go. When we came out of the restaurant, Pistol had dug into a bottle of Advil which was wedged in the side of my truck door. It was almost impossible even for me to dig it out, but somehow she managed to get into the bottle and ate I don’t even know how many pills.

We drove over to the warehouse where we were scheduled to do inventory. I told my wife to go in and get started and I would keep an eye on Pistol, for as much as I knew, she might not have eaten any pills. Amy just got through the door when Pistol started throwing up all over the truck and began dry heaving. My heart froze, but I knew I couldn’t panic. I had to act now. I ran to the door and asked the girl at the desk to please get my wife, and as Amy came out the door, Pistol collapsed in my arms.

While we were rushing the dog to the hospital, she fell into a coma. We thought for sure Pistol was dying. When we got to the hospital, the doctor rushed her into the emergency room and would not let us back there. I was not very happy with them at all, and was somewhat in their face; I could not let my dog pass without me holding her in my arms. Several hours went by and they finally came to get us. When we went back, Pistol was still in a coma, and they explained she might not make it due to liver and kidney damage from the Advil. They kept questioning us on how much she ate and we kept saying we have no idea, as I had not opened that bottle for probably a year. They explained we might not know for days if she will make it. After about six hours of hanging out waiting, they came to get us again and took us back to see her. She was lying totally still, but opening one eye to let us know she knew we were there. The doctor recommended we go home and come see her the next day so that she would rest, so we did.

You never know what each day will bring us – one minute, we were having fun as a family; my little daughter Taylor and my lovely wife Amy enjoying an early morning breakfast, including having the chef prepare a special chicken dish for Pistol, and the next minute, our whole world is turned upside down. Life has its challenging moments like that, doesn’t it?

So, after spending most of the day with Pistol, we finally got home at about four o’clock in the afternoon. When I went into the house, tired but undefeated, something caught my wife’s eye.  Amy said, “Hey, there is an orange rabbit in the yard!” My heart sank a little, and I thought, what kind of strange test could it be now? “A rabbit? That’s strange, I think you’re thinking of the neighbor’s orange cat,” I said to her optimistically. “I’ve never seen a cat jump like that,” she replied. So, I went outside to watch my neighbor’s cat jump like a rabbit, but lo and behold, there were 12 domestic rabbits, all different colors, running around! They were so cute, these fury little balls hopping around the yard. They looked like they were having the time of their life. At first I thought wow, this is very cool, I love seeing these rabbits enjoying themselves running around our three- acre yard. Now, this was a week ago, when the temperatures were getting down to 26-27 degrees at night and I know from being a rancher that rabbits aren’t going to survive outside in this cold.

I should mention that our neighbor, the caretaker of our three-acre estate also has a dog. If his dog were to get one whiff of those rabbits, he’d be eating them in a heartbeat! And normally Pistol is home and she’d be eating the rabbits as well. As with Pistol’s situation, I had to think fast. So, I went straight to it and started chasing after our little guests. If you’ve ever tried to catch a rabbit, you can imagine what it’s like to chase after those quick little buggers! They were quite a bit faster than me. I had to outsmart them by opening doors and little cupboards here and there around the pool house. As I tried to get them inside, they still kept sneaking away from me.

Four hours later, I had all of the rabbits stored safely inside our laundry room, but my wife was having a fit. “They’re going to make a huge mess, Steve!” she said to me. Her kind and tired face showed deep concern. “Well, I’m not going to leave them out in the cold, you know they will all be dead in the morning,” I said taking her hand. “I have to take care of them,” I added. She nodded, giving me a gentle, understanding smile.

So we went to bed and the next morning it was time to face the next challenge. I got up and went to check on our guests. Lo and behold, my wife was right; the rabbits marked their territory inside of our laundry room. There was urine and feces everywhere, up the walls three feet! After spending four hours cleaning up the mess (thanks for our hospitality), I called around trying to find the rabbits a home. Finally, I found a granary that agreed to take them and help us adopt them out. Why would somebody dump rabbits in my yard? It must be someone who was fed up with the rabbits and knows that I love animals and would make sure they had a good home.

Some days can be a challenge. However, it’s all about how you perceive it, right? As of today, all the rabbits have a nice little home. Pistol stayed in the hospital for four days but finally came home as well. She is healthy and doesn’t seem to have any issues except sniffing around to see if she can figure out who was in her home when she was away.

I wanted to share this story with you as it is a story of overcoming life’s trials through perseverance, or a story of finding the strength in your heart to see the good in whatever the day may bring you? Would Pistol have lived if I had not saved the rabbits? We will never know that, will we? But I can tell you one thing: we all will face those challenges probably more than once in our lives, and our perceptions of what is going on will determine our actions, and those actions determine our lives.