Refuge in Routine

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By: Jessica O’Connor

Many times in my life I’ve reflected on the fact that I find refuge in the routine of owning hounds. After all these years, the day to day tasks can seem automatic and mindless. My hands are calloused from a literal lifetime of scooping manure, first for my horses and then later in life for my dogs as well. It’s a task most would like to avoid, but to me it signifies a soothing routine that has carried me through various storms in life.

Betrayals, ended relationships, anxiety and panic attacks, losing my father and then too short a time later losing my favorite dog, the best friend that helped hold me together. No matter what’s happening in my life, one constant is that these animals need me. Each morning and evening they’re waiting with the equivalent of smiling faces, and their individual habits that make ME smile even on the worst days. Keeping their living areas clean, freshening their water, the sound of all of them crunching their feed...it’s not a burden. It’s a blessing.

Some days I come home from a long day at work and as I change clothes a fleeting thought will whisper that it would sure be nice to be able to just sit down and relax. That thought is always quickly carried away on the wind as soon as I set about my routine. I’m grateful for this work and this safe place to land when the rest of the world is testing me.

Whether your animals are pets, sporting companions, or all of the above, embrace the everyday joy they bring to your life. When the “human world” gets too heavy, they’ll always be there waiting.

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