4 Key Lessons to Uncover Joy in Your Life from someone who can’t even talk

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Meet Quest – a 3.5 month old Vizsla/Lab mix. This little lady made her appearance into my life rather quickly and unexpected when Tori (An incredible worker from Found Nation Animal Rescue) text me and asked if she could drop her off in 30 minutes the day after my foster application had gotten approved.

The moments that followed her drop off, I think we were both a little nervous. In fact, Quest probably thought I was dead for the first 10 minutes she was here as I just sat staring at her thinking “what did you get yourself into Emily?”  This isn’t the first time that thought has crossed my mind in life and I’m sure it won’t be the last, however, this time was slightly different.  My decision would now affect another living thing – not just me.  Luckily, Quest excused my not so warm welcome and gave me a chance.  I had no idea the lessons I would learn from this wild woman during our short time together.

4 Key Lessons to Uncover Joy in Your Life

Courtesy of Quest Love

  1. The present moment is the best moment

Every morning, Quest and I had the same routine.  We would get up early for a walk, have breakfast, brush our teeth (okay maybe that was just me) and then play as I got ready.  After play time ended,  it was crate time for Quest.  Aside from weekends, crate time was a good chunk of her day while I was working and for a 3.5 month old puppy, crate time doesn’t sound like the most appealing time in the world to me.  However, each day when I get home, she amazed me.  Her tail would be wagging and tongue always ready to clobber me with kisses. It was like she is oblivious that she has been locked up for hours.  Her focus was never on that I had been gone for 8-10 hours, it was on that I was home.  She was excited for what was taking place right now.   Her heart poured into the present moment.

It got me wondering how often we unintentionally miss the present moment.  How often is our current mood dictated by moments that have either passed or are yet to come?  What if we changed our mindset to focus on the here and now? Maybe then we would have something to “wag our tails” about, too!

2. Embrace the mess

If you have ever owned or been around a puppy, you know these few facts.

  • They will get themselves into something you weren’t anticipating
  • The best place for toys and bones is….everywhere
  • Dog hair becomes part of your wardrobe

And if you have lived life you know one thing holds true – It’s messy.

Quest taught me, not everything has to be put back in it’s place.  And if you make a mess, that’s okay.  It can always be cleaned up.  Some messes easier to clean than others, but some of the most important lessons we will ever learn come from a big ‘ol mess.  Example, if you jump into a giant puddle of brown, gooey stuff while on a walk, that’s called mud and it will get stuck between all pads/toes on your feet.  And if you chose to do that in the middle of the walk, it isn’t the most comfortable to walk the rest of the way like that. Lesson learned by Quest.  She had to experience it to learn for herself, though.

In life, sometimes we have to do the same thing.  We have to jump into the gooey puddle, learn by firsthand experience, before we can clean up the mess effectively.   And sometimes we have no choice but to embrace the mess until we reach a point at the end of the walk where we can clean it up.


3. Change isn’t so bad

Quest came from a high kill shelter in Texas. She then lived with a foster, moved to Colorado, met me, and now has found a wonderful home.  In a little under a month, change has been the name of the game for Quest. She was a shy little girl when we met, but that didn’t stop her from exploring.  She didn’t try and run back to Texas (although I guess her leash wasn’t long enough to allow for that).  She took one step at a time, consistently found courage and got brave. She wasn’t ever aware what the end result would be, yet she loved her way through the process.

Change, whether good or bad, takes courage.  We can’t always see where change will lead us, but by boxing up our fear, and marching forward, we have the opportunity to see where the journey takes us when we venture outside of our comfort zone.

4. Play is a must

In a society where success and hard work can be measured by how much sleep we lose or how many hours we spent in the office, play doesn’t always make the “To Do” list.

Having Quest, ensured that I left work on time.  It ensured I took multiple walks each day.  It ensured I ran around my apartment like a maniac so she could chase me.  It ensured that I play. Daily.

Much to my surprise, though I wasn’t spending 80% of my day working, work still got done and the world didn’t end.  Ironically enough, my productivity increased by taking time to let me brain rest from work and do other things. My mind become stimulated by something other than my career, which actually enhanced my enjoyment and creativity when it came to work.  It reminded me that my work ethic isn’t defined by hours spent at work and taking time away helps channel focus when you return. So find time for play.  Find time to do little things that bring you joy. Daily. And make sure it becomes a must for “play” to make it on your “To-Do” list.

Though Quest has moved on to her forever family, I find myself thinking of all that she taught me and without words, how much she influenced my approach to each day.


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