(Be sure to pick up a copy of Lake Norman Woman Magazine on stands April 1—Our 2024 Pet Pages!)

With the songbirds singing in the early mornings, daffodils poking their green shoots up through the ground, and ducklings paddling furiously to keep up with momma duck, spring is the perfect time for new beginnings.

The thing is, though, new beginnings aren’t always easy, are they? They involve change after all, and change can be downright scary. There have been a number of times in my life when fear of change held me back. And though I was able to eventually find a way forward, for many, the fear of change leads to missed experiences and opportunities.

I wish we all could be more like my dog Goose. Goose came from a hoarder situation in which he lived in a home with 26 other dogs. He was chained and had little interaction with humans. Feeding time was a free-for-all in which he scrambled for whatever food was thrown within reach.

I don’t know about you, but had I never ventured further than a few feet from a stake in the yard, I would be angry and resentful. Had I fought with 26 others for nourishment, I would be quick to snarl and growl. Had I lived that sad, hopeless existence, I would be distrustful and withdrawn. But not Goose.

When I met Goose, he wouldn’t make eye contact, and he looked confused and insecure. He was so sweet and docile though, I had to give him a new start. Thankfully, instead of choosing to be like me, Goose decided to embrace the change—to move forward, secure in the notion he deserved love. He does this by surprise licking attacks that land square on our mouths, and if we’ll let him, by using our ears to satisfy his ear-nibbling fetish (he nibbles the ear of our pit bull too). He follows us everywhere—respecting one’s privacy is not his thing. Granted, he’s not the most intellectual of canines—he still wears a look of confusion (what we call the “Goose face”), and when the front bell rings he runs helter skelter to the back door and barks ferociously at the person who isn’t there. But what Goose lacks in brainpower he makes up in devotion, loving us with every fiber of his being and never letting us forget we are the center of his world.

Somehow, Goose innately knows that only by letting go of the past can room be made for better things. He isn’t angry about his first year…he isn’t even upset that last night, I forgot to sprinkle his food with bacon bits. He spends no time on yesterday at all, he simply takes life as it comes.

Goose didn’t get off to a great beginning. But from a bleak existence filled with hopelessness and heartbreak to an overabundance of ears to chew on and laps to lay in, Goose has not only transformed himself, he’s also transforming our hearts. Which makes me wonder: maybe Goose is the smart one after all?