Hoppy Easter weekend. Spring and Easter bring me feelings of hope, renewal and growth.

It’s a time of spring cleaning of not only my physical spaces but my mindsets and expectations.

Walks are my dog Bailey’s favorite thing in the world and she comes to sit in the doorway of my office every day at 2:00 to demand her neighborhood stroll.

These are not for exercise in her mind. They are missions to”check messages” and leave her own mark. I’ve often wondered how long our 25 minute walk would stretch to if I let her wander, sniff and mark anywhere she wanted. But that would involve lots of trespassing and ruining of flower beds so we keep her to the wild areas.

Bailey, is around 10 years old. She had an entire life in a different home before we adopted her three years ago. In that time she developed her own mindsets and habits.

One difficult trait of hers for ME is her aggression towards other people, dogs, bicycles and skateboards. This makes her beloved walks tricky.

We cross roads, take side paths and bring tasty treats to help her cope with fellow walkers and bikers. We’ve done some formal training but honestly fell off the wagon over the pandemic.

This weekend we took her to a new path to film a photography tutorial. There were bikes, dogs, and joggers on that lovely morning.

And surprisingly she did great! What changed?

I did. I did some Spring Cleaning of my expectations of her. I accepted that she is not a happy go lucky friendly pup. I took her to areas of the trail with no other people or pups. We stood to the side of the trail with tasty treats when bikes or joggers passed. We let her sniff in areas she wanted to linger.

We simply accepted her “Challenges” as her “Way of Being”. She loves to be a lone pup exploring the world and being queen of our kingdom. She loves us and really doesn’t want to expand her friend base.

And instead of changing her we let her live the life she likes and we keep her safe.

May spring be a time to assess your mindsets too. Perhaps it’s about your dogs or about your fellow humans.

Where can you improve your acceptance of how others live and thrive in the world? Where can you set aside your expectations or feelings of discomfort when confronted with a lifestyle you personally don’t live? Where can you support someone and help them feel safe?

Happy Spring Cleaning!