Animal house. #TeamDuke – a year to remember


👁❤️2 ……………………….. pick up the poo from the ground………. not a nice view
And so another View From The Ground blog starts with a quote. Not one; not two; yes, threes quotes. Why? Well, in truth, I tried to copy / paste one quote but seemed to collect three. However, in reality I love these quotes as the capture the theme of the latest, all singing and dancing, #TeamDuke update. So, welcome again to regular readers, new readers, and those who are just curious at what may unfold before their eyes.

“People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” – Maya Angelou

“Two roads diverged in the road and I took the one less traveled by, and that made all the difference.” – Robert Frost

“You must be the change you wish to see in the world.” – Gandhi

Please bear with me as I unwind what is whirling around in my head. The title of the blog captures three themes, whereas as the sub-title captures what I capture from one of those themes. Mmmmm, now that’s something to behold.

So, I hope life is treating you well and that you are treating life well. Now, there’s a thought straight away – how many of us expect life to be good to us rather than us being good to life? Confused? Let me expand, as this idea has just dropped in.

When we wake up, do we a) groan; or b) express gratitude for a new day? Now, if the answer is a), there’s work to do. If the answer is b) you’re in a brilliant place and can stand up and take a round of applause. Me? I’m an a) and b) kind of guy these days and am proud to have developed away from just being an almighty a++) person.

Once we are up and about, do we a) dread the day; or b) enjoy the moment and work on making the best out of the day ahead. Now, if the answer is a), there’s work to do. If the answer is b) you’re in a brilliant place and can stand up and take a round of applause. Me? I’m less a) and more b) and, again, am proud to have developed away from just being an almighty a++) person.

I hope you get the picture. It’s useful exercise and one I personally try to do regularly to switch my old, natural, pessimistic self, into a more positive focussed person. As those who know me well will confirm, it’s a road I still travel daily and I do have occasional slips along the way.

The core at the #TeamDuke base – as featured in the last blog – Our House – is now, an old man (me), a young man (Ben), a young lady (Liv), a cat – the boss (The Zeek), and a dog – a doofus (Ringo).

If someone has said that our home would be made up of 3 humans, a cat and a dog a year ago I’d have thought they were thinking about another home. However, here we are! A veritable animal house and loving it.

The Zeek joined us 16 months ago and is a beautiful , majestic animal. She’s the boss and we all know that.

However, welcoming Ringo into the home has been a completely different experience. Liv has wanted a dog for years but I steadfastly held out that it just wouldn’t work. Recent times have softened me and here we are, With a great big doofus of a border collie.

It’s also being a big thing for Ben, who has always felt uncomfortable around dogs. But, Ben recognised that bringing a dog into the home would be good for Liv, so he gracefully agreed.

And, here we are, Ringo joined us and introduced me to having to deal with the poo from the ground. Nice! However, the many, many wonderful things he has brought to our home have, at times, being overwhelming.

I’ve seen on Facebook a picture of a man and a dog, sitting by a lake with thought bubbles over their heads. The man’s is full of work, money, news, relationships, anger, etc. The dog’s just has an image of the lake, as that is all he sees. I’ve always liked this image, but never really understood it.

But with Ringo, I fully get it now. I know all dog owners will understand this but please bear with me, as this is new experience for #TeamDuke.

The morning is the best example. I roll out of bed, feeling the gratitude for doing so of course. I stumble around the house, doing my best to be positive but remembering the things I need to do in the day, growling at a slightly loose tap (faucet), grumbling that Liv has left the bathroom light on …………. again, reminding myself I need to put some fuel in the day, and so on.

The Zeek wanders around close by, looking at her food bowl and wondering how Donald Trump is the most powerful person in the world. She’s very intelligent. And then, I open the downstairs door to Ringo. Does he leap with delight at seeing me? Does he run around looking for food? Does he ask me whether I’m worried that Theresa May has called at election and she won’t have any dogs standing to be elected for parliament? Nope! He looks at the door and telepathically tells me he’s got a gift for me. Another poo from the ground.

After that, and breakfast, the magic begins. My head is still awash with the day (positively of course), but it’s time to ask the question – “where’s your lead?”. This is where the perspective kicks in and I tune into Ringo’s frequency. Those words trigger unbelievable excitement as he Runs in circles. I can’t help but be swept up by his enthusiasm. No work, money, news, anger issues can break into this bubble of fun. He leaps trying to get into his harness and we end up leaping around together. Yes, dear folk who are used to my scowling, grumpy face, I leap about. It’s impossible not to.

And, that the magic. All of us in #TeamDuke have been effected by the joy for life that Ringo has injected into our home – even The Zeek.

As I said, all dog owners will resonate with this but, for me, this has been such an awakening. My dream for these blogs is to share our learnings and to, hopefully, bring a smile and even some hope when it’s needed. I want people to feel our happiness and, in turn, feel happy.

So, 2017, a year to remember. That was the plan at the start of the year and that continues to be the #TeamDuke mission. So far, so good. As we look at our achievements so far, Ben is doing great at work and is looking forward to a summer of music festivals; Liv has been to Belgium and Denmark this year, going on her own. Such a step forward; me? Well, as I have alluded I have someone in my life now – Audrey. It’s early days but the magic is there to be seen and felt. Im truly grateful for the joy Audrey has brought to me, but also, in turn, to #TeamDuke.

Ben and Liv are such wonderful people and, in the last 10 months, we have really learned about the strength of #TeamDuke. I am so blessed to have such an awesome son and daughter.

Life for #TeamDuke is on an upward trajectory. But we will never take what we have for granted. We are grateful for every day and for everything we have.

And, at this point, I will wrap up another #TeamDuke update. Ringo needs a walk and I’m looking forward to letting the dog out, and having a jump around.

I wish you peace, happiness and that you also have a year to remember.


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