Preparation for a New Puppy! (The meet & greet with Max)

There’s a puppy on the way!

Yup, that’s right, a new puppy will join our family this Saturday, April 23. 

!!!!!!!!!!!!!

There are so many things I want to write about right now: the surprise of feeling open to getting a puppy after my senior dog Lorca died; how my partner and I came to choose our puppy (or how she found us); how there is room in my heart to love a new being without taking any love away from Lorca and Max; my wondering what Soul Lessons the puppy will have for me; and also, my fears! And frenetic preparation for the puppy…

I’m going to dive right into the fears and frenetic preparation….!

When I’m nervous or anxious, one of my responses is to try to control everything I can. Often, that means reading as much as I can about something, trying to learn and know EVERYTHING so I can be prepared for any possible (disastrous) situation that happens. Which of course ISN’T possible. 

In other words, I look outside for the answers. When I’m anxious, I feel disconnected from my intuition and find it a struggle to trust that I am safe. 

I’ve learned to allow myself to go through this. And then, I gently direct myself back to my intuition. I check in with myself about what I’ve read and see what makes sense, and what is in alignment with my inner knowing. 

In the case of my animal companions (and animal-companion-to be!), most importantly, I also CHECK IN WITH THEM ABOUT THEIR POINT OF VIEW. 

As an Animal Communicator (aka Pet Psychic or Animal Psychic), I can ask my animals what they need and want, why they are behaving the way they are, and what they are trying to show or teach me through their behavior. It’s amazing to be able to ask them directly.

But this doesn’t mean that I am immune to fear. 

Or that I have it all figured out, or that I feel certain all the time. For example, the fact that I was able to communicate with my dog Lorca through his transition process, and after he crossed over, didn’t mean I was immune to sadness, anger, denial, confusion, and grief. 

It’s kind of like how being able to communicate with a romantic partner doesn’t exempt you from feeling all the things—but it does help you understand their point of view and be able to build a relationship of mutual respect, communication, compassionate negotiation, and love. 

I believe in building relationships with animals in this same way—with mutual respect for each other’s intelligence, point of view, needs and desires, to create a harmonious household where everyone thrives. 

So what does this look like? 

Well, let’s start with one of my main fears coming up right now. I’ve got A LOT of fears showing up during these few days before the puppy arrives; most of them have to do with ways I might do something wrong and inadvertently cause harm to either the puppy or to my senior dog Max. 

The thing I’m MOST anxious about is the first time they will meet each other. 

One of the things my dogs have been working with me on is my PTSD. Lorca was a reactive Cattle dog mix, and part of his Soul Lesson work with me was to show me my own reactivity that I wasn’t aware of or had buried.

While one of Lorca’s gifts was to show me what I wasn’t facing in myself, both Max and Lorca’s gifts have also been to show me that I can learn to trust again. 

But it’s hard to trust. My mind spins with all the things that could go wrong, and my nervous system gets activated. Cue: START READING ALL THE THINGS!

And, I would add, WATCH ALL THE TRAINING VIDEOS.

It’s A LOT of information. A lot of good information too. My partner  and I have made a plan that involves taking things slow, having the two dogs meet in a neutral place, and observing body language, etc.

I like the plan. I like the stuff I’ve read. It makes sense to me. It’s super helpful to have a structure and have a plan of action. But there’s another piece that I need. 

The training plans tell me what to do, but not how to be.  

My mind continues to spiral: What if I do all the right actions, but I am nervous or afraid, and my energy creates tension and results in something bad happening, regardless of the steps we are taking? 

In the past I would have approached the situation by trying to be different than I am (while berating myself for feeling what I feel):  How can I try harder to be a different person than I am? Or, if I can’t, how can I pretend to be a different person than I am? 

I might have tried to mimic my idea of what a “confident Alpha” is like, even though my energy is totally different than that (and the animals have shown me that “Alpha energy” does not necessarily mean “leadership energy.”)

Now, after everything the animals have taught me, I know that:

#1. Pretending doesn’t work. I can’t be a different person. And I can’t even pretend very well to be a different person. I mean, have you ever tried to force yourself to not be nervous when you were truly nervous? How did that go?

#2. Animals know what’s really going on with us, even when we don’t. So it’s no use pretending.

#3. What animals really want from us is to be transparent, honest. They want congruence, not perfection. 

#4. The way through is to be true

So instead of trying to force myself or pretend to be different, I gather myself, draw inward, and I connect with Max:

What do you need to feel comfortable with the new puppy?

And what you would like me to know regarding that first meeting with the puppy? 

In his very-Max-way, he tells me that he will be fine, and turns the question back on me. “What do you need to feel comfortable?” 

I say, “I need things to go slowly, and I need lots of check-ins and communication.” 

That sounds good to him. 

Turns out, that the plan to take things slowly in order to make the dogs more comfortable is also about making me more comfortable. 

“But what if I’m nervous?” I ask him. “I don’t want to mess anything up for everyone.”

“Be transparent,” he says, as I suspected he would. “And trust me.” 

Trust. That difficult Soul Lesson. 

It’s hard to know how to do trust, when you don’t know what it’s like to feel trusting

At this point in our communication, Max shows me how I see myself and everyone else in this situation. 

Through the lens of my hyper-responsibility and fear (both Soul Lessons of mine!), I’ve been seeing myself as the only one responsible for the dynamic of the whole group. And with this, comes all the PRESSURE. I have to be perfect or something will go wrong. I have to personally meet everyone’s needs to make this new configuration of our family work. 

Max tells me to ask him for help. To let him help. To recognize that he’s got all this “dog stuff” that I don’t even know about, which he and the new puppy will be working out together. It’s not just me welcoming the puppy and trying to make sure Max is okay. It’s my partner and Max too, and each of them have contributions only they can make. Max is welcoming the puppy in ways only he knows about. 

He wants me to recognize his important role in the family. And to let go of some of the responsibility and need for control that is stemming from my fear. 

As soon as I understood this, I took a deeeeeep breath, and I could feel my body start to relax. 

This rang true throughout all the cells of my body. 

Today, I feel less anxious heading into things. Which means more room for EXCITEMENT!

I know, though, that the nervousness will still be there. 

But I’ve got a plan. I’ve got things to do. And I’ve got a way to be—honest, not holding myself up to perfection, allowing myself to ask for help, and staying in the awareness that I am not doing any of this alone. Each of us—me, my partner, Max, and the new puppy have the support of each other. 

Are you curious how things will play out? If I’ll be able to do this? 

Or if I will MESS EVERYTHING UP FOR EVERYBODY because I can’t be perfect?

Check back next week to see how things go, or sign up here for my newsletter and receive next week’s update in your inbox!

Published by Stephanie K. Hopkins

Intuitive Coach. Animal Communicator. Psychic Medium. Teacher.

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