Lessons from Lulu: What can we learn from a rescue pup?

Many of you know I recently adopted a rescue schnauzer puppy. How this came about was most certainly a ‘God thing’ (which I believe everything is….yet, this particular occurrence was ‘in your face’!). I was suffering from major writer’s block as I was attempting to finish the final chapter of Book #2 (due out early next year), and after sorting my underwear drawer, dusting the baseboards, and emptying the dishwasher…there was only one thing left to do to ‘clear the cobwebs’…yes…you got it! Shop the doggy rescue sites!

And low and behold a little white schnauzer (my favorite breed) named Gretchen (my sister’s name) was on the Paws in the City site. Not thinking for a minute that I would ultimately get her, I applied. A short 72 hours later (and a few funny stories which I can share if you are interested), I was the proud “Aunti Kris” to a new puppy. A few name changes later (as Gretchen would not do for both sister and puppy)…Lulu became my new family member, muse, and shadow. She is a precious pooch who has endured a lot in her short 6 years of life.

What I am learning from her is simply amazing. A few recent observations:

1. The power of love is tangible. I have written a few articles on the power of love…and I use the word LOVE intentionally and deliberately. Too often we don’t integrate love into the workplace as we think that it is soft or weak. It is the antithesis of both. Love transforms. Love is generative. The beautiful reality is this: upon adopting this scared, lost, puppy, I (and all those in my life) have showered her with love. Love in every form. And the transformation of this little furry soul has been nothing short of miraculous. She came to me scared having been in multiple foster homes and not knowing where she belonged. She was timid, sheepish, and barely ate due to her fear. Over the past few weeks, she has revealed her playful, coy, flirtatious self and continues to show an abounding syrupy amount of gratitude with every breath she takes. This is one small example of the supreme power of LOVE to transform lives. In this case: hers and mine…not to mention everyone who has the blessing of meeting little Lulu.

I believe 100% in the power of love in life and in the workplace. Having a strong passion for what we do, how we do it, who we do it with, and for whom we do it…is magic. Love and passion are the glue that binds a person and a collection of individuals toward their common mission. Fostering love between our co-workers, our clients, our constituents, and our partners makes all the difference. It shows up in a variety of ways. We know when it is there – and when it isn’t.

So, in answer to Tina Turner’s classic song “What’s Love Got to Do with It?” I believe that LOVE has everything to do with it. Love is the great transformer. If we can change a little puppy’s life with our care, compassion, and kindness – what can we do with our human counterparts, our businesses and the world?

This past month, Lulu reminded me of this truism, as only a dog loving for their life can.

lulu22. It is simply not about appearances. To me, Lulu is precious. Yet, she is not perfect by a long stretch. She is not recognized by the ‘AKC’ (American Kennel Club), as she is a ‘white coat’ schnauzer, not a standard gray coat schnauzer. She lost her top and bottom front teeth due to the neglect she suffered; thus, when I first got her she had what I referred to as a ‘comb over’. Her little mustache had nowhere to go, so we have to trim it every week. And her little tongue sticks out all the time because there are no teeth to hold it in place. Her little ears were not cropped (like the schnauzer breeds who are shown at the Westminster Dog Show), and so one sticks out at a strange angle and the other just flops over.

Does she care? No. Does anyone else? Well…some do and some don’t. Yet, Lulu (like us) does not control what other folks think about her. As Deepak Chopra offers: “What other folks think of you is none of your business.” Lulu grins her snaggle-tooth grin. She runs with her ears flopping up and down like a little girl’s pig tails. And she gnaws her bones with her very back teeth…the only ones she has!

And, is she loved? Yes. Does she love? Yes. Is she happy? Yes. It is simply not about appearances, being certified or deemed by others as legitimate. Same holds true for us. Our responsibility is to be true to ourselves. To remain genuine and to allow our vulnerabilities to show. By doing so, we become approachable and our humanness is exposed. This is where power resides…when we are our most authentic – whatever that is.

3. Gratitude is magnetic. Most of my friends and family have said that “Lulu hit the lotto!”. Well…she did. And she is so very grateful. She is grateful for the basics: to have a roof over her head, food to eat, a backyard in which to play…and most importantly, a circle of love surrounding her. This spirit of gratitude – which shows forth when she nestles next to me, licks the common stranger, and sits obediently with the sole intention to please – is magnetic. She lures people into her spell. Her eyes, with residual sadness, penetrate. She is so happy and grateful to be in a home that loves her. Gratitude is magic AND magnetic. As humans, we can learn from this example…as we have so much for which to be thankful.

We can learn so much from our furry friends. These three small lessons are just the beginning of what I know will be Lulu’s ongoing tutoring sessions toward my growth. And yes, they are applicable to business AND life.

What have your furry friends taught you? Please share!