Gratitude Anyway – sticking positive in negative’s face

Gratitude Anyway – sticking positive in negative’s face!

            I was getting depressed.

            All the people around me have been down or stressed or terrified for months.  And we dogs are big empaths (which means we feel what you guys are feeling), so I’ve been down too.

            But that was just from the stupid virus.  Now it’s worse – the continuation of the lockdown far past what anyone envisioned, the billions of people suffering from this around the world, the continuing death rate from the illness but also from accidents and murders from people’s stress and misery, all the fear going around…  it’s enough to make a tail unwaggable.

            But that’s not the way I choose to live.  So I decided to change my feelings.

            I can’t change what’s happening around me, of course, but I know that I’ll be more energetic, and more helpful, if I can also focus on good things, and feel grateful for them.  And there ARE still so many of them, despite everything.

            So I gave myself a task: Come up with 100 things I’m grateful for.  Grateful for right now, at this exact moment.  It wasn’t easy, but I did it.  And do you know what?  I felt better right away.

            So maybe you can try it too.  Stay upset, stay angry; we need that to beat this awfulness.  But also, appreciate what you’ve got that’s absolutely wonderful.  And struggle to think of it.  It is possible, I promise!

            Here’s mine:

Scientists are working for a vaccine.

Most people are behaving intelligently to slow the virus down.

The lockdown has been great for pet adoptions – many shelters have been emptied by people enjoying raising puppies and kittens in their time at home.

The lockdown has kept you guys home so much more, which we love.

Taylor Swift put out a new album that many say is her best ever (though I haven’t heard it yet)

I’m very hopeful about the upcoming US election, that new people will take charge who reduce the amount of poison in our air and water, and work to combat global climate change.

There’s Handsome.  Always there’s Handsome.


Trees.  I love trees so much – the shade, the squirrels, the place to squat or lift my leg…

Water.  Maybe there’s nothing more important out there.

YOU!  My pack, my readers, and every question I get from any of you!

Animal Rescuers.

The couch I’m not supposed to climb on but I do when Handsome’s not at home

Zoom, FaceTime, Doxy… imagine how much worse this lockdown would be if you guys didn’t have these!

Dogs Don’t Get COVID-19.  (at least so far)

Cheese.  All kinds.

Squirrels.  How boring life would be without them!


Unlike you guys, we can bend around and lick and chew just about anywhere that hurts or itches or is dirty!


My neighborhood – especially the dogs I get to see occasionally.

Buster Keaton’s movie Steamboat Bill, Jr.  Handsome had never seen it before, and it was glorious to sit in the room with him when he watched it in breathless awe last month.


The people who pick up our garbage and recycling and drive it away.

Leashes.  I know it sounds weird, but I’ve explained this before – they give me safety with some freedom.

Veterinarians.  I know that sounds weird too, but they’ve saved my life numerous times, whether I liked their methods or not.

Groomers…  well, really I don’t like doing that at all, but I do appreciate their being as nice as they can!

My house.  And all shelters.  For so many reasons.

My friend Dilla, who makes the funniest sounds and has a tongue that sticks out the side of his mouth.

My friend Aria, who melts my heart and teaches me new things all the time.

My friend Kuma, the best playmate I ever had.

Opera.  Of all the music Handsome plays in our home, this is the closest to what my heart is like.  Passionate, dramatic, and loud!

Grass.  To roll in, to run in, to sniff and pee on.

Memories.  Of lost friends, of great meals, of the best vacations.

Dog Parks!



Beverly Cleary – the great children’s book author who always has done such a good job of helping her readers understand weird kids (and dogs!)

Trumpets.  I’ve always loved the sound of trumpets!  No matter how well or badly they’re played.

Bruno Mars.  Because if I could be a human, he’s the kind of human I’d want to be!

Dog Food.  Duh.

Treats.  Double-Duh.

Whatever it is in the human brain that makes so many of you want to befriend us, adopt us, care for us, play with us, fall in love with us. 

Speed Limits on cars!


Ice Cream.  And because Handsome doesn’t like to eat too much dairy… all those fake ice creams!  Based in almonds, coconut, soy, cashews… all of them YUMMY! (the little bits he shares with me)

The shower in our house, which on hot days like today is the coolest place to lie down, with my back against the tile wall

My ability to run

My ability to jump

My ability to bark (even though it annoys people)

My ability to lick people’s faces

My ability to wag my tail!

The fact that, however smart he might be in other ways, Handsome’s love for me makes him too stupid to kick me out of the house for making noise and shedding hair all over the place.

The smell of chocolate (Handsome won’t let me eat it but… wow!)

Cool night air

Warm sunshine

Ear scratches

Head scratches

Nice soft stroking petting

Huge overwhelming hugs

Tummy rubs

And best of all, tummy KISSES!

Every moment someone I love comes to my home

The fun of barking at anyone I don’t know who walks by my home!

Governments and Charities who help their people devastated by this tough economy

Health care workers risking their lives to help people with this horrible virus

Scientists working to find treatments to help people with this horrible virus

Scientists working to find a vaccine for this horrible virus (I know I said that before, but isn’t it worth two counts?!)

Chew Toys


Tennis balls

Harnesses for us dogs that tie us to cars’ seatbelts so we’re safe in case of an accident

My doggy optimism that tells me things will get better eventually

The fact that even if people can’t get together as they used to right now, they can still laugh, cry, and dance.


People who push to make this world a better place

People who risk their lives to keep this world safe for others

Dogs who do both

The feel of the ground when I lie on it

The smell of the ground when I lie on it

The sound of the earth when I lie on it

Other dogs’ butts!  Hey, just because you don’t appreciate them doesn’t mean I can’t!

The way some guys are so wildly attracted to women

The way some women are so wildly attracted to guys

The way some guys are so wildly attracted to guys

The way some women are so wildly attracted to women

The way we doggies are so wildly attracted to all you people!

The way so many of you people are so wildly attracted to us doggies!

The way (amusingly incomprehensible to me) so many of you people are so wildly attracted to nasty old kitty cats!

The stars in the sky at night

The clouds in the sky at daytime


The fact that history tells us no plague lasts forever


The new really amazing vegan meat substitutes that taste so much like the real things, but without anyone getting hurt!

Happy Couples

Good Marriages

Amicable Divorces

Did I mention how grateful I am for Handsome?

Did I mention how grateful I am for YOU?

And okay, #101 – a third shoutout to those scientists working so hard to get us to a new world where we don’t have to worry about this stupid virus anymore!!!!

So what do you think?  Can you do that too?

I know you can!


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Leave a Reply 6 comments

Eiramam - August 19, 2020 Reply

Hi Shirelle! Thanks for mentioning me and my sideways tongue in your newsletter. I know you think I’m a funny guy with my googly eyes and all but we can’t all be as lovely as you. And your butt is gorgeous and smells really good too! I’m going to put you at the top of my grateful list. Bye for now

    shirelle - August 20, 2020 Reply

    Oh and thank YOU my great friend!!! SMOOCH!

LadyFi - August 22, 2020 Reply

I’m grateful for Karl, the Mr Pug who was in your gratitude newsletter email. He’s the funniest, most ticked off pup I’ve ever seen, and made me laugh and laugh and laugh in commiseration… 😀 Thank you!

    shirelle - August 23, 2020 Reply

    Thanks LadyFi! I feel just the same way – but I do wish he could laugh too – it looks like his face has never once smiled!

MissAria - August 22, 2020 Reply

Hi Shirelle! I’m grateful for all kinds of dancing (especially disco) because it’s just so much fun and let’s me MOVE! And even if some of the music hurts my doggy ears, sometimes I even get to howl along. HA!

    shirelle - August 23, 2020 Reply

    I sometimes envy humans the ability to dance, but then other times I remember that we dogs dance ALL THE TIME, but to music humans can’t hear! So I agree completely, Miss Aria!! Thanks!

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