January, 2021 Hope Has a Cold Nose

Dear Hope Has a Cold Nose readers,

Every child is born in the garden of humanity as a flower.  Each flower differs from every other flower.  There are many messages in our society that tell us, even when we’re young people, that there’s something wrong with us and that if we just buy the right product, or look a certain way, or have the right partner, that will fix it.  As grown-ups, we can remind young people that they’re already beautiful as they are; they don’t have to be someone else.  – Thich Nhat Hanh in How to Love. 

I am humbled, honored, and grateful that Hope Has a Cold Nose is being shared to high school students at a local community north of where I live as well as to third grade children in the school district I attended when I was growing up.   Young lives being positively influenced by service for others, wisdom, resilience, and hope exhibited in each of the co-authors’ stories.  

On one of the morning runs with Ginger and Kutana, I was reflecting on this special ripple that is taking place in which the stories of Hope Has a Cold Nose can inspire those who are still at a most impressionable age in comparison to those of us as adults who still form impressions, but who have already banked within ourselves a significant number of imprints that impact how we see and hear. 

Ginger and Kutana have beautiful cold noses.  And.  They have very powerful noses that create moments in which they might go a tad astray on our runs.   Suddenly.   Now with Ginger the only ramification is my voice calling her back from what we affectionally call “chasing the bears”.  Not bears, literally.  Please don’t worry.   Ginger has this routine in the mornings when my husband leaves for work in which she insists she must exit the door before him and bark in all directions of our yard as to ward off anything – or anyone – she is certain is lurking to get my husband if she does not make sure it is safe for him.   After all, that racoon in a tree might just climb down and get her dad!  {smile} My husband and I refer to her gesture as “chasing the bears away”. 

So, if a sudden whiff to Ginger’s nose sends her into a run and or bark mode, she gets called back with an assuring voice that all is safe.  Now Kutana, on the other hand, is the silent one.  No barking.  The only ramification is to my rib cage and a rapid readjustment of my footsteps in the middle of our run.  Why my rib cage?  Kutana and I are joined with a waist leash because, as Kutana’s trainer once told me, she has an almost intuitive like nose.  It can smell things that none of us can see, let alone smell.  And dear K is also very driven when she gets something on her mind.  Translation.  The ears turn off when the determination kicks in.  If she were not leashed with me, she would not hear the hark to come back right away.    

I do have a tiny bit of influence to avoid where these rich aromas are when we are running in mother nature.  I can steer us to certain trails so minimize where the night critters have walked before us.  I also strive to use positive reinforcement.  Good girls.   Good, good girls!  That’s my girls!  I am so proud of you!  The bears, racoons, deer, and owls hear echoing through the woods as they watch two reflective coats lower to the ground and a headlamp running through their homes.   (We typically run before daylight.) 

Ginger conveys her I am? Yay!  Thanks mom.  Okay, I’ll keep doing this with a turned head, smile, and this little footstep dance I cannot begin to describe as she goes into a happy trot.  Kutana, still an eager puppy in learning gives me the hmmm. what?  You want something else? No?  Oh, you mean do what we are doing right here.  Ok, if you say so.  Her tail raised high in pride, she turns her head back around and forward we go on the trail. 

On the flip hand are their responses if they hear No!   In addition to those beautiful cold noses are taste buds for mother nature that I am so grateful I do not have like dogs do!  (smile) If these “discovering” moments happen for what the girls believe is cavier calling to them, Ginger puts her ears back in a way that is a blend of sorry mom and you ruined the potential fun mom.   Kutana hangs her ears down in a way that communicates ooohh, mom is not happy with that little move I just tried to make, I guess I better listen.   

What we say, and how we say it, in response to the moments that are teachable. 

Which is every moment we live.  At least how I choose to believe.

Recently I had the privilege of providing happy birthday wishes through video to a friend’s daughter who was turning thirteen.  Her mom – my friend – had invited a large group of people to post messages on a private social media page so that her daughter would receive a big celebration for this milestone birthday since an in-person celebration was not possible.   My focus in the message was on all the ways this amazing young soul is going to help the world transform.  I have already been witnessing her do so and I am certain she has only just begun to make a positive impact. 

What message are we providing to young lives regarding the pandemic and all that our world has experienced over the past twelve months?  Are we communicating that these fledgling souls have chosen to enter this lifetime when they have so that they can be the change agents for our world’s transformation?   

Or are we focusing them on all that they have lost? 

Are we holding tightly to what was, fearful that because children did not experience life as we did, the future is destined to not be as promising? 

Or are we fostering in youth that the sky is the limit for them and that the old systems that are not working as they did are crumbling so that the youth can create new systems that are calling to be built even better than what we have known or experienced? 

On the journey of writing Hope Has a Cold Nose my path intersected with a veteran who was a peer support specialist for other veterans.   He shared about a research study he had read in which individuals who had struggled significantly with pain, trauma, sorrow, or despair were individuals who had also experienced a traumatic event as a child but had not been able to process that event in a positive healing way.   

All that 2020 held introduced a traumatic event.  

For adults and youth both.

We need to honor the grief.  That is part of the positive healing journey. 

Yet, in what we say, and how we say it, are we fostering positive healing and new beginnings? 

Are we creating hope?

If you want to change the world, you have to change the metaphor – Joseph Campbell

May wellbeing continue to be yours. 

Sincerely,

-Christine

My gratitude to Connecting Vets for their support of the power of hope!

https://www.radio.com/connectingvets/news/veterans-share-stories-of-how-dogs-provide-hope-in-new-book

My gratitude to We Are the Mighty for their support of the power of hope!

My gratitude to Southern Living for their support of the power of hope! 

https://www.southernliving.com/news/hope-has-a-cold-nose-service-dogs-military-veterans-ptsd

For an engaging webinar facilitated by Dr. Alan Westfield, with sharing by Dr. Adrian Popa, Michael Ortiz, Taylor Rowell, and me, please click on the link below:  

Listening, Empathy, Awareness & Dignity: LEADership Through Storytelling & Companionship

https://www.gonzaga.edu/school-of-leadership-studies/news-events/leadership-through-storytelling-and-companionship

To purchase Hope Has a Cold Nose:

Amazon:

https://www.amazon.com/s?k=christine+hassing&ref=nb_sb_noss_1

Barnes and Noble:

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/hope-has-a-cold-nose-christine-hassing/1137781095?ean=9781982255282

Balboa Press:

https://www.balboapress.com/en/bookstore/bookdetails/811622-hope-has-a-cold-nose

or you can contact me: https://christinehassing.com/contact/

For additional impactful and powerful information regarding the healing impact of service dogs, please visit https://www.northwestbattlebuddies.org/a-vision-of-hope/.    

https://www.hopehasacoldnose.com/,

https://studio.youtube.com/video/VD5a8wnL1sI/edit

Christine Hassing | Facebook

Christine Hassing (@ChrisHassing) / Twitter

Christine Hassing (@hassingchristine) • Instagram photos and videos

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