tuukkatakeiteasyFor the past several years, my motto has been “Live Life Brilliantly!” And a lot of the time I do a really good job of it – but not all the time. Sometimes, I fall off that track, and when I do, it’s not a pretty sight.

Recently, we welcomed a surprise new addition to the family – our 3-5 month old puppy, Tuukka (yes, for those of you who are wondering, her name is Tuukka named after Tuukka Rask the goalie for the Boston Bruins hockey team). The first week with her was spent adjusting to having another being in the house to take care of. I’d fallen out of the practice of cleaning up my crumbs, putting away all of my shoes and closing all trash cans – and with a puppy around I was reminded I had to be on top of my environment at all times. It was also during that first week that I determined that THIS TIME we were going to do it right and I was going to create the perfect family. Tuukka was going to be one of those cool dogs that don’t need a leash, that never barks, that always comes when called, and that never gets into any trouble.

But Tuukka –had a different plan.

For example, rather than sitting in my comfortable, warm office at my computer with a big screen, I am now sitting at the dining room table as I write this so I can keep an eye on Tuukka as she plays outside in the backyard because SOMEONE has a penchant for poop-eating and digging huge holes.

And on Friday, at 5am when Kevin and I wanted to leave for the gym, we were instead running around the yard trying to get Tuukka to drop to poop she was carrying around in her mouth and come back inside to her crate.

And then on Saturday, when Kevin and I had the big idea of taking her to the woods for a long walk but she decided that it was a great time to grab the leash and pull and tug and wrestle with it to the point where we couldn’t walk forward at all. (Yes, we picked her up and carried her the rest of the way back!)

Needless to say, when I woke up yesterday morning I was re-thinking our decision to bring Tuukka into our lives. What happened to my peaceful little family? Where did my dream angel dog go? And how, with all of the animal communicating and consciousness work I have done on myself, could I possibly have ended up in a situation where things were not looking the way they were supposed to? One of the first things I said to my husband yesterday morning was, “Kev, I’m really not sure we should have gotten Tuukka.”

So, I spent yesterday in a big funk. I felt angry at Tuukka for not behaving the way I wanted her to and I felt angry and Kevin and Cole for not making an effort to get her to behave the way she was supposed to. I also felt angry at myself for not being all-knowing enough to tap in and just magically change the situation into exactly what I wanted it to be.

Tuukka and ColeAnd then a friend said to me,

“This isn’t about Tuukka not behaving, it’s about you wanting everything to go the way you think it should go!”

It wasn’t until about an hour later while laying down quietly on the sofa that I realized friend my friend was right – why was I trying to make Tuukka succumb to some idealized image of “dog” rather than allowing her to emerge as herself with her own strengths, quirks and challenges?

And then I realized that my friend’s observation of my “funk” went much further than just Tuukka. I saw that I had fallen into the trap of trying to control ALL parts of my life rather than just allowing them to do what they’re going to do. For example, I had been feeling pretty impatient that my job wasn’t moving forward in the way that I had decided it should. I’d also created some pretty rigid expectations about what my son’s road to Prep School next year should look like – and about how my husband’s career should be progressing, and about how my house should be cleaned…

As I lay there in that moment on the sofa, thinking about these things I finally understood that the reason I was in a funk (and had actually been in a funk for a couple weeks) was not because Tuukka was not behaving or because my son didn’t like one of the schools I liked, or because my husband shrank yet another pair of my workout tights.

I was in a funk because I was trying to control and maneuver EVERYTHING in my life in order to feel safe and this was sucking the fun, enjoyment, surprise and spirit out of it.

This morning when I woke up, I saw Tuukka as the goofy, happy, crazy puppy that has come into my life to push me to let go, relax and have fun – and I feel so grateful to her for this. In her own crazy way (as she eats the soil from the plant pot, chews the lego guy’s head off, and runs up and down the stairs like a maniac), she’s demonstrating living brilliantly (from a dog’s perspective!).

And when I come back to living brilliantly myself, I find that I can laugh at each and every thing she is doing. I can easily see how hard she is working to get me out of my head, away from all of my plans and expectations, and into the present moment – where she sits her bum down in my laps and tries to fit my entire forearm in her mouth.

Thank you Tuukka!

31 replies
  1. SherryZ
    SherryZ says:

    HAHAHA Danielle….perfect. Helps me relax more with our Christopher cat who has transformed himself and us totally! Then we got another forever home addition in Sammy kitten…turned it all upside down for both my husband and I and the other 3 cats, especially Christopher!

    I look forward to talking again soon.

  2. Julie
    Julie says:

    Hi Danielle, I loved reading this as recently I adopted 2 romanian street dogs 6 months apart the first one Ollie I feel will have to be attached to a 20 metre lead forever as he wants to run off all the time, hes escaped a few times already so I’m extra careful now..Before adopting a second dog I asked that she would be a bit more loving than Ollie & able to be off the lead as I couldn’t cope with 2 dogs on huge leads lol, well the day come & I collected my new baby Trixie who is very loving amazing off the lead, well as we know sometimes we should be more specific about what we ask for as I forgot to ask that she be well behaved & not try to eat everything in site including the giant house rabbits pellets & veg, for a tiny dog she can jump every gate I’ve put up. She manages to get food off the worktop, this week it was 2 danish pastries & a 4 pack bag of frozen chicken which she ate frozen leaving only a 3rd of one, the consolation is she eats the stray rabbit poos on the carpet so this does save me hoovering so often, so yes I can sympathise with you. Thankyou once again for your story it made me chuckle, hope mine does the same for you. xxx

  3. JoAnn Finger
    JoAnn Finger says:

    wow thank you for sharing!! I’m going through this with “Papi” I ask myself what is he trying to tell me? I don’t think he wants to be here… blah blah… I love your perspective! and I love how you came to it.. and I love that the poop eating is almost done thank GOD. I can imagine the SH** really hit the fan when she showed up lol ENJOY and keep sharing! xoxo

  4. Nancy Honea
    Nancy Honea says:

    Dear Danielle,
    Thank you for sharing your journey with us.
    You did a mini reading for me concerning my animals. You told me they are here to help me learn to let go. Those words made a huge impact on me. I began to understand.You were so right!
    My life is becoming easier as I let go and allow Everthing to unfold at its natural pace. I too, like to plan how Everthing is going to go. Haha
    What’s that joke… If you want to hear good laugh, tell him your plans.
    Letting go is difficult. But not as difficult as expectations going way, way, different than I planned. ♡
    (I know you know this, just a reminder, your new girl is still a baby. When she’s 2, I would be willing to bet, she will be alot more like the companion in your dreams) p.s.s feed pineapple chunks or juice for puppies eating poo. 😉

    • Danielle MacKinnon
      Danielle MacKinnon says:

      So, I was reading everyone’s comments to my husband – and he really perked up about the pineapple. We are definitely going to try that! She’s actually doing much better with the poo-eating since now she’s almost fully transitioned over to her grain-free diet, but we’re still keeping a close eye. Getting some pineapple tonight! <3

  5. Jemma Hipper
    Jemma Hipper says:

    Oh Danielle, LOL!
    I TOTALLY relate as I tell Bramble (my new 11week old puppy) to chew her special shoe not my ugg boot and explain that Horatio (my philodendron) who has been with me for years is not a chew toy and doesn’t like being eaten. My sister was the one who laughingly (don’t think she’s stopped laughing these last 2 weeks) told me Bramble is getting me out of my head and making me live and remember the joy :). I actually had a lot of fears around bringing another little animal soul into my life, (not having dealt well with the loss of loved ones in the past) and when as i started to let go of them and continue to, the Love and the Joy she brings fills me, I am incredibly grateful to her for coming into my life.
    Whoop it’s time too pee (for her) gotta go. And know you’re not alone!

  6. bridget chicoine mckoy
    bridget chicoine mckoy says:

    Tuukka, what a beautiful name, its my favorite goalie , I love your new family member, I was in stitched laughing, been there done is , thank God they grew out of it, thanks for sharing.
    he is a cutie

  7. KB
    KB says:

    I too have a new puppy at home, and I too am a bit of a control freak… So I can definitely relate! Congrats on your new pup Danielle – he’s a cutie 🙂

  8. Donna O.
    Donna O. says:

    I had to laugh. I have been complaining about the men writing to me from dating websites. But, it is what it is. I will enjoy the laugh they bring into my lfe, no longer try to limit or control who is coming my way, and just hope one I want to keep comes along with the flow.

    By the way, I’m taking dog obedience classes. They use food, bites of cheese sticks, for one & only one command – Come! Good luck with the new pooch! He is adorable.

  9. Donna Myers
    Donna Myers says:

    Hi Danielle

    Thank you so much for sharing your story. About a couple of months after Patty passed away my husband decided to get another dog she is a sweetie I realize that now but I could not get myself to fool with her I felt like Patty would be watching and would not like it. I found myself getting up when she laid down beside me. Then one day I saw Cleo staring at me like Patty always did except she looked so sad like what did I do I felt so bad so now I try to give her a little more attention because I know It”s not her fault

    Thank you

    For everything you do

  10. Ella
    Ella says:

    How wonderful to read a story of love and delight! I’ve always believed that when we experience vast amounts of frustration, it usually is due to some unspoken or unacknowledged expectation…for ourselves or others. It’s also very hard to tell when it is our Own expectation, and how wonderful to have a friend with genuine insight who could see what you could not. Seems you have blessings all around!

  11. Maryellen
    Maryellen says:

    Hi Danielle,
    Thank you so much for your post! I have a 4 1/2 year old St. Bernard who, just yesterday, I was feeling frustrated with because she continues to eat all the cats food and bark like crazy whenever another dog goes by the house. She is the 5th St. bernard I’ve had and by far the most energetic. I was criticizing her & myself for not spending more time (and money) on training, and wondering if it was a mistake to get her in the first place. When will she ever be the sweet docile St. Bernard like the last one we had? I actually thought of you and wished I could communicate with her and find out what our soul contract is! I’m glad to hear that even you have these times of doubt. I will try and follow your lead and accept her for the overactive dog that she is. Maybe she is trying to tell me to get off the couch and play with her!

  12. elena
    elena says:

    danielle, ohh I can so get what you’re going through.. but, yes!, it seems she is just doing ‘her work’ at her best! 😀
    so, i wish you to manage to relax enough to enjoy all of this super sparkling living energy she brings.
    and to her, a warmful WELCOME TUUKKA!

  13. Pat Spencer
    Pat Spencer says:

    Thankyou so much for for sharing your story! I cannot begin to tell you how this “hit” me. I lost my best friend Brutus a little more than a year ago and cannot bring myself to get another dog. I keep feeling that it would be a dishonor to him. I finally gave away his 300 plus dog toys to animal charity and still feel bad about that. I know something is missing in my life but just cannot get another dog yet. I will be keeping tabs on you and your new addition. Thankyou for being so honest with all of us and good luck!

  14. Andrea vassiliadis
    Andrea vassiliadis says:

    What a perfect blog to cross my path this Sunday morning, as I try to enjoy my coffee while keeping a cautious eye on my puppy Piper Blu. She’s my third cavalier King Charles, and doesn’t seem to have gotten the memo about the breed!!! She’s full of beans and even after having her since August I barely know what she looks like… I should have named her blur. Before her my home was so peaceful- my other two pradictably lazier than me.. My two boys old enought to help with the minimal care… And then bam! Somehow I think it’s s good idea to get another one after my son Jack had a dream and one thing lead to another. But, I too have had many “aha” moments- where I my plans were disrupted (like just now- did NOT plan to wear some of my coffee!), and I was pulled into the moment, unavailable to any other distractions. Piper has indeed come with important messages for me, and I’m grateful to her for helping to wake me up!

  15. Karen Reid
    Karen Reid says:

    Thank you for sharing Danielle! It’s a relief to know the ‘experts’ have struggles and can still learn and remember to apply the lessons of Life! The general Animal Consciousness these days carries the same message – To Lighten Up and Be Here Now. : )

    • Danielle MacKinnon
      Danielle MacKinnon says:

      I think it’s really important to be transparent. I am NOT perfect, I do NOT have it totally together and I have my own struggles too. If I put myself as an expert out there as all-knowing, I don’t really feel it’s helpful (or true!). Thank you for understanding and supporting me!

  16. Naixieli
    Naixieli says:

    i wonder how tukka feels after you realize the real messagge

    As I was reading your post, I was thinking how hard my beautiful cat Blu tries to take me out of the computer at nigths when i “work” but I’m really just spending time online doing nothing. I came to my mind that maybe she wants me to do something else.

    I always see that she has everything she needs before I sat down to work but she doesn’t rest until I get up i wonder what she wants :O)

  17. Sue Miller
    Sue Miller says:

    Danielle!!! This was priceless! Thank so much for sharing. Tuukka is showing you the way back to F-U-N! I own a dog-walking business and I feel joy and their love every single day. I have learned so much from each of them. They are angels on earth and I am so very grateful for them in my life. They bring us back to what counts – live in the moment and don’t take life so seriously….
    You are a wonderful person! I look forward to taking some of your classes.
    Be well!


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