Being Lily

“Originally, the word power meant able to be.
In time, it was contracted to mean to be able.
We suffer the difference” (Mark Nepo, Book of Awakening).

In a world weary and wary of power, I doubt the distinction that comes from rearranging words—even contracting them—is noted when we  consider our power, inner or outer, globally or individually. Usually, we find power and ourselves lacking, somehow; “…the wish for more always issues from a sense of lack” (Nepo).

Yet, there are times when lack results in abundance sans want and wishing. I think of Lily, a dog story of joy ever after because with Lily, lack is always more.

A white-muzzled, chocolate lab kind of canine, Lily found herself at a county animal shelter; she was too old to care for, she was too fat, her hips were bad. Lily lacked everything she needed to continue her life as it was so she began a new life, incrementally.

Second Chance Farms Inc. Photo

First, there was Underdog Foundation whose main operations are not in the area Lily lived nor is Underdog usually contacted about dogs like Lily. Underdog provides funds for various rescue operations but it is not involved in any physical rescue nor does it have its own facility so  Lily found her  funding but no place to be.

Yet, home was always near. Lily was in a county shelter that was part of the network of Second Chance Farms’ sanctuary. The sanctuary takes in older animals of almost all species, offering them forever home for the rest of their lives. Lily would live with dogs, cats, a tortoise, ducks, chickens, a horse named River, two goats, a donkey, and at that time, an opossum.

But with Lily, there was still more.

Second Chance Farms Inc. Photo

In under two weeks and entirely unexpectedly, Lily met and fell in love with her permanent foster parents who also care for cats, dogs and horses. At first, Lily slept a lot, as always, but her new life moved fast. With her human mom, Lily learned about her barn, her horses and having all around  romps in the barnyard grass. Her personality perked.

Lily was no longer quiet about life. Eagerly, she showed her humans that she could howl like a wolf, if needed, yet with a little eye contact, she was just as capable of carrying on a conversation, of sorts, with humans.  Lily being Lily, she ascended to alpha dog in her canine pack of three.

Second Chance Farms Inc. Photo

Lily’s family travels quite a bit. In particular, her humans are serious college football fans. In less than six months and in time for her first football season, Lily shed the weight that had been too much for her age and for her hips. She was on her way to a victorious season of football trips, especially the pre-game activities inside and outside the family RV.

When it came time for an extended family wedding, Lily attended, of course, and was included in the official wedding photos. In her first year of so many firsts, Lily’s world of canine and human contact is ever more. Lily no longer lacks for family, for care, for life in any way, a true alpha dog of her canine and human pack.

It’s the kind of story that takes us out of lack into what is best in all of us, canine or human. Lily, lacking all except her ability to be, created a chance for humans to prove they are able, always, to be more.

Christmas, 2011 (SCF photo)

And that is powerful.

Rhythm of ROW80 Sunday Scheduling:

This week, I begin a month-long workshop with Bob Mayer on Idea and Conflict. For the rest of this round of ROW80, I will work with the idea of my current manuscript so I may actually turn the story into a novel.

Daily, I write for at least 30 minutes, often longer, generating at least 1,000 words per day  for blog posts as well as some creative nonfiction.

27 thoughts on “Being Lily

  1. older dogs ah yes have had my share and older cats – different – special – because we live together my sister is able to keep her retired guide dogs (they become mine!) but otherwise they would be rehomed – after checks – there is a long waiting list for these eldely dogs – being labs mostly with only a few years left – people come back time and time again for the specialness the old dogs bring to their lives. Theses arent of course abandoned animals not needing 2nd chances as such but still providing that something special that oldies of all species can offer:)


    1. Hi, Alberta!

      The “something special that oldies of all species can offer” is precisely the point too often missed, especially here in America. While I am such a sucker for any happy ending,I’ve followed Lily’s story closely because all involved are so involved with life. Lily’s humans exude generosity and service; as a representative from Underdog foundation wrote, “wish we could clone them.”

      I really enjoy following your blog but in particular enjoy the posts about your remarkable sister. Always lovely having you stop by.



  2. It sounds like Lily needed a place where her gifts could blossom, and she found it. Lovely!

    While older dogs don’t play a large part in my present life, I know from experience what a joy their presence can be in one’s life. We have, for some time, been sharing our home with older cats for exactly the same reason. In fact, I would be willing to suggest that often one’s life is only beginning as “middle age” begins to set in. It seems that so many people I know who’ve passed through their youth feel they finally have a chance to be themselves once they retire…

    Always a pleasure to visit here, Karen. Your love of the world shows through with every word.


    1. Oh, Eden, what lovely words. Isn’t sharing your world with older animals just one of the finest things a human can do? Although I have not written much about my EmmaRose (5.5 pound, grey-blue dilute kitty companion to canine Cooper James), she is such a delight. She will have her own post as soon as I write one that meets her approval. It does my heart good to meet someone who adopts cats, especially older ones, as it is even more difficult to place them than dogs.

      As for being older and retired, I am precisely what you say: finally, I am myself, and when I am regress, Cooper and EmmaR remind me of how to act at my age. Thanks so much for dropping by, Eden; love reading what you have to say here and on your blog



      1. You are too kind, Karen. But truthfully, I think I’ve found more joy in my older pets (and more heartbreak sometimes as they pass out of my life so much sooner than I wish, but perhaps all the more powerfully) for their (more) fleeting presence. People who share their lives with animals… well, I think the operative phrase there is “People who share their lives. That says it all. I’ll be watching for a post about EmmaR. 😀


  3. Love, Love, Love this Karen! I would love to see this posted on Second Chance Farms and/or other shelter sites. It could possibly help increase peoples interest in older dogs. I have a soft spot for chocolate labs and I am glad this one found such a wonderful home! You might consider writing other success stories of other adopted dogs to show how the right placement can bring great happiness to the dogs and their new owners.

    Good luck on the workshop you are taking and Good job working your goals!



    1. Thank you so much, Morgan! To be quite truthful, my time as a volunteer with Second Chance Farms Inc., has provided me more than I could ever give in return. These animals so amaze me, especially the older ones. Time and again, whether they stay on the farm or find permanent homes, they change human lives constantly, always for the better. Thanks for the site suggestions; I will share with SCF’s Dr. Mac, their founder and board president.

      The workshop began this morning, and already I can tell it’s going to be just what I needed. Bob Mayer is quite good at what he does.

      Always wonderful to have you stop by, my friend.



  4. Dogs are wonderful teachers when it comes to the power of simply being.

    See dogs also for: loyalty, selflessness, nonjudgmental companionship and the perennial and generous application of the benefit of the doubt.

    It is said quite accurately, just because your dog likes you doesn’t mean you are a good person. Dogs are the original slack-cutters.


  5. Love that Lilly got a second chance.

    If we lived in the country, I might very well consider fostering dogs. (I’d love to take in horses too, but cats would be a problem since I’m allergic.)

    Anyhoo, all the best with your writing – and other – goals. Have a great week.



  6. My heart goes joyfully out to Lily and her new family!

    I saved the same Nepo quote. It spoke so powerfully to me.

    The way I see it, Lily never had a lack. She was, throughout, perfectly and abundantly Lily, and that turned out to be just the right thing to be.

    May your workshop make your writing life more joyful and abundant, too! =)


    1. I suspect canines know being quite well and wonder about humans being. Wouldn’t it be amazing if humans recognized that lack may just be the abundance they seek. Well, one being at a time.

      Nice to see you here again, Shan Jeniah.


  7. What a sweetheart of a dog. Thanks for telling Lily’s story.

    Bob Mayer is an amazing writer and businessman. You’ll be sure to learn a great deal in his course. Good luck with that!


    1. Yes, Lily is a sweetheart, and I truly love her story. As a volunteer for Second Chance Farms, I pass along updates on sponsored animals so I always know how Lily is doing. She is one of our best stories.

      Bob Mayer’s course began this morning, and I am psyched! Thanks for the encouragement.


  8. That is fantastic about Lily – so cool and inspirational! Enjoy the Bob Mayer course – I took one last year and it completely changed my attitude towards writing for the better. I’m sure you’ll learn a great deal that will sharpen your writing and mind.

    Have a super week 🙂


    1. Thanks so much for stopping by, Gene; always nice to see you here. As for the Bob Mayer workshop, he provided our first lesson this morning, and yes, I can see what you are saying about completely one’s attitude toward writing, and it is, as you say, for the better. Haven’t been this excited about writing in a long time. It is refreshing.



  9. Lily is a lucky dog! Our dogs love it when they see a leash in our hands. It means some kind of outing. They get more excited than my children did over Christmas when they were tots. Well, almost.


    1. Hi, Ali!

      Isn’t that the truth about a dog and a leash–so very like Christmas morning with children–hadn’t thought of it that way, although my Cooper gets that excited every day. Thanks for that and, as always, for stopping by.


    1. Clearly, I have high hopes for the workshop but as it is taught by Bob Mayer, I know my hopes have substance, and that’s a comfort.

      Hope you stop by often.


    1. Hi, Jane!
      I have no doubt we learn so much from animals, dogs especially, and Lily is one of the finest. I truly do think of her story quite often.
      Thanks for stopping by.


    1. Hi, Darlene!
      I’m just a volunteer with Second Chance Farms’ sanctuary–I help with administrative tasks–so I get to keep up with their permanent residents and Lily is one fine dog.

      Always good to see you here.


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