Listen to your Inner Pup

Thoughts to Ponder – April 9, 2015

“Today, give love and comfort to the starving pup inside you. 
Then let the love and comfort guide any action you take.
It’s a simple little practice.
It might not save the world.
But then again, it might.”

Martha Beck*

We all have an inner pup even if we don’t think so. Most of us deny its existence and starve the poor thing thinking that the persona we portray to others is the real us.

Some of us were fortunate to be nurtured by family and friends allowing our inner pup to grow to be a strong, healthy dog as we grew to maturity. Those inner dogs learned to love and protect us.

Often something terrible happened along the way that caused us put the young dog in a pen. These are the animals that tend to bite or at last snarl at perceived attackers. We reflect those behaviors when we feel threatened.

Others of us were never allowed to let our pup grow. Perhaps the cause was verbal or physical brutality, or simply unreasonably high expectations. “You will be an A+ student, outstanding athlete, and succeed in business, thus bringing honor your family.” These actions and unmet expectations kept our pup in its training cage so it could not run and play as it grew. Since our pup couldn’t mature, neither could we.

My family believed that dreams were for others. Our job was to grow strong, work hard and have a little fun, and if we were lucky die peacefully without pain. No expectations can hinder the pup, just as unreasonably high expectations can.

Even though my parents were proud of me making the honor roll they seldom mentioned it because it might make others feel badly if their children didn’t do the same. When I reached middle school and teachers began suggesting that I prepare for college, I was told that college was for rich people. Besides the professors would teach me useless information and erase my common sense.

Somehow my inner pup told me that I had to leave that area if I wanted to fulfill my dreams, whatever they were. I’d never allowed myself to envision or verbalize a dream. That led me to accept a marriage proposal from a military man. Whatever happened, I’d get to see some of the world. I had three fantastic children, met some wonderful people and lived in places I’d never imagined. Even with all those gifts, one day my inner pup told me to leave my marriage. I did and experienced life’s ups and downs over the next several years.

One of those gifts was the day I read an article about area colleges and my pup began barking like crazy. Even though I had no savings and could barely meet my bills, I listened to her advice and enrolled at Alverno College in Milwaukee. I graduated five years later with less student debt than most of my classmates. My pup had even found some grants and fellowship dollars. That education led me to some good jobs , the ones that sounded like fun. Those that weren’t so good were jobs I sought simply for higher wages.

As I approached 55 my inner pup began barking again leading me to retire early so I could live near my children and grandchildren here in Virginia. She told me that if I waited until full retirement age my grandchildren would be adults and strangers to me. I took the leap and became friends with my sons-in-law and grandchildren. Now I have four great-grandsons who are the light of my heart.

Even with all her good advice, I still tend to push my pup into her cage when I think something else is more important than what she has to say. Sometimes I listen to her. While sitting at the doctor’s office I allowed my pup to speak through my pen instead of reading or working a puzzle. This blog is the result.

Much of the time my inner pup is confused because my to-do list is so long. But, I’ve learned that IF I listen to my furry buddy, she’ll lead me in the correct direction.

© by Sharon D. Dillon, April 11, 2015

*Blog article, Loving your Inner Pup . . . Insight from Martha, Martha Beck Inc.

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Sharon D. Dillon,, “Laugh your way to peace, love and joy”

Chesapeake Bay Writers, Erma Bombeck Writers Workshop, Southern Humorists, National Society of Newspaper Columnists

Author of one of 14 stories in The Book of Mom: Reflections of Motherhood with Love, Hope and Faith, published by Available in print and e-format at