Don’t Worry, Be ... August 5, 2007

I wrote this after Poncho came home nine years ago.  I'm reposting it because so much of it still rings true. ... Stop worrying and BE.  BE AMAZING.  

We were headed back from Chattanooga, my mom, brother, and his significant other. I occupied the back seat as we wound our way through the Alabama countryside. On my lap, reeking of vomit and urine, sat an eight pound ball of fur that was the purpose of the trip. His black/blue eyes peered up at me, filled with concern. I stroked the beach towel he was wrapped in and said, “It’ll be okay. I promise.” His eyes closed and his head slumped on my vomit and urine soaked pants. “I promise.” I propped my head on the cool window, and closed my eyes.

You've come a long way, baby!
All the way home I worried if I was doing the right thing – bringing another dog into my home, my family. Would my other dog, Jake Ryan, resent me? Would he eat the stinker on my lap (who would soon be called Poncho)? What if Poncho ran away? He looked like a sorry sack of shit when the breeder handed him over to me. He’d been traveling since Pigeon Forge, confined in a crate. The ride wasn’t easy as was evident in the odor that permeated. My mother looked at me with eyes that said, “Dear Allison, what have you gotten yourself into now?” She forced a smile. “Oh, he’s cute.” I could hear right through her.

We arrived home shortly after 3 p.m. where big brother, Jake Ryan, anxiously greeted me, but was none too thrilled to see stinky. Poncho was anything but joyous.

The two sized each other up and big brother decided he was the boss. Poncho played along. My worries about their interactions were put to rest. But what I never worried about soon took center stage.

Don't worry.
Poncho came home with worms and Jake Ryan caught an eye infection. I’ve shelled out more than $700 in the last four weeks for the two. Their health and wellness is now the top priority in my life. I chose this, being a pet parent. Jake Ryan gets pills with his meals and eye potion three times a day. The little one needs more love and attention than I thought I had. I can not imagine how parents do it. Just yesterday a friend called, canceling plans due to a sick child. Frustration was apparent in her voice.

Women worry, a lot; it turns out, there’s a reason. According to an article presented in Psychiatric Genetics, women have less of a brain chemical that influences anxiety. This chemical, an enzyme called COMT, may just make people more anxious.

Scientists combined DNA analysis, recordings of brain activity and psychological tests. They found that women with the same gene variant had similarly high scores in tests that measure anxiety. But men having the same genetic make-up did not appear to be extra anxious.

Well trained boys.
Despite what scientists and smart people uncover, I’ve concluded that worry is a waste because the energy that you use worrying could have a more beneficial use. When you release yourself from the permission to worry, you allow yourself to be more.

Bobby McFerran sang that catchy little tune years ago: Don’t Worry, Be Happy. Forget happiness, it’s a transient state. Be more. Be confident that no matter what the universe doles out, you will be able to manage it. Be understanding that what you do choose to worry about will be the thing that won’t happen. Be patient for the answers always come, as does the grace. Be aware that you have the wisdom, talent, and capability to endure.

The Best of Friends
Nearly a month later, my two boys lay nestled beside me as I type. Jake doesn’t resent me, and he hasn’t eaten Poncho. Jake is a good big brother and Poncho is as laid back as they come, happy to be passed around to strangers. I did the right thing, bringing Poncho into our family. And I’ll never worry about being a good pet parent, by looking at their faces, peaceful as they sleep, I already know the answer.


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