People are much more properly wired to deal with happy and not sad. It’s far easier to wish someone sincere congratulations than an equally sincere condolence. With that in mind, this week’s Tribe message is going to try to turn a very sad thought into a happy one.

We put our dog down last week. Meeshe was rescued nearly 7 years ago from a recently divorced woman whose ex-husband clearly abused this beautiful girl. She was around 5 when we got her, and it took her 3 weeks to not wince when I tried to pet her. My son and wife were fine, but with me, it took weeks for her to trust me. She had a lovely spirit and the kindest eyes I’ve ever met. Like most labs, she obsessed over food and found all sorts of new and creative ways to procure it. We knew she had a couple of healed fractures and early arthritis after our “we got her 2 weeks ago and took her to our first vet visit” visit. She refused to go into our basement and hated loud noises with a passion. She let you know when she wanted something and loved behind the ear pets.

It was her body that failed her. She had a tumor in 1 leg and her rear legs were giving out on a far more regular basis than any dog should endure. We made a very difficult decision and last Tuesday we said goodbye. I’ve often heard it said that animals go over “The Rainbow Bridge” on their way to Heaven. How could I ever turn such a sad story into something uplifting and positive? I rolled this around in my mind from the moment her eyes closed for the last time. I pondered it, gave it many good thinks (my friends will tell you that is a thing with me. Every once in a while, I will tell people, “I need to give that a think.”) and prayed…Hard. 2 words kept popping into my mind that quickly turned my sadness over the somber into hope and loving appreciation. 2 words.

Unconditional Love

Anyone who has ever owned a dog will attest that no one really knows the definition of unconditional love until they have a dog. You could run to the mailbox or store and be gone for 2 minutes or 2 hours and when you come home, your dog is so happy to see you. How can you not feel that unconditional love. Meeshe had it in spades. All she wanted was to be loved and give love. It got me to have a really great think about it. How can I be more like her? How can I not stress over the small stuff and show more unconditional love for those I truly appreciate? How can I be more like Meeshe? I have chosen not to mourn a loss but celebrate a life. A life where we gave her the loving 2nd half she didn’t seem to have in the 1st half. Being that we are all Tribe members, can I let you in a little secret? For as much as we loved and taught her, she gave us far more love and lessons than we ever did. She loved her bed, her meals, her snacks, her snuggle time, the 2 rescue cats we own (as much as a dog can love cats I suppose), her boy, her momma and her daddy. She loved us. Unconditional love. If that isn’t an up message, nothing is. Think about those you love and wrap them in unconditional love, my dear friends. Show them, tell them and show them some more. If only we had tails. Then people would know when we were happy. When I think about our beautiful Meeshe, my tail won’t sag. It will wag. It will wag uncontrollably. Thank you for the lesson’s old girl. Until we see each other again.

Steve is the owner of Better Place Consulting, Tribal Leader of the Tribe of Up and Chief Tail Wager for all things uplifting and happy. If you need some up in your day, reach out to him at

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