So I learned a valuable lesson this week ... with (to me at least) a painful consequence. And the sad thing is, if I had just followed the advice I had given to someone else, maybe I could have had a different outcome.

The lesson was that we all feel fear and sometimes that fear is associated with taking a leap to go after our dreams ... but we CANNOT let that fear keep us from taking action to pursue those dreams.

Here is how I learned this lesson ... painfully.

A wonderful friend and selective breeder of Italian Greyhounds (my favorite breed as I am sure you could guess from my blog) had 2 litters of puppies late last year. While in the area in early January, I stopped by briefly to see her and meet the puppies. At 4 and 5 weeks old, they were all of course adorable. But one in particular stood out (and spent quite a bit of time in and around my lap) - an all white boy. I paid very little attention to the attraction to him - I was not in the market for another dog. Losing Lucky last year was very tramatic for me and since Duff seemed to adjust fine to being an only dog, I was in no rush to add another dog just yet.

Fast forward one month ... I am back in the area for a few week, this time actually with my little Duff. Duff is a good traveler and since I was going to be here for almost 3 weeks, I brought him along (I would have missed him too much if I hadn't).

So I bring Duff over to play with some of his relatives, along with the puppies of course. While Duff was playing, I picked up the little white boy again ... and my friend told me they recently had discovered he was deaf. Needless to say, that changes how he gets placed (and NO, there was never even a thought of not finding him a good home - I guess in some breeds, breeders are encouraged to put down deaf puppies, but that never even would have occured to my friend!). She had already talked to a few people, including someone who trains therapy dogs (apparently deaf dogs make good therpay dogs).

I knew as soon as she told me he was deaf, I should take him in ... but all I said was, if she can't find the right home for him, I could be his back up. After all, how could I be the best thing for him, when I had never owed a deaf dog before? But I did mention about meeting some folks with Deaf Dogs Rock through Blog Paws ... I even went on their website that night and read about training a deaf dog. I also went to Amazon and ordered two books on deaf dogs and commucating with them. I sent my friend a follow up note with links to what I had found - and offered to share the books with her when they arrived if she was interested.

I couldn't stop thinking about the little white dog. He was the first thing I thought of when I woke up each morning. The next time I was over with Duff, the little white dog was the only one I even wanted to pick up or play with ... and he sat quietly in my lap for a while. He had my heart by then ... yet still I couldn't say the words "He is mine, I want to bring him home with me." After all, I was not in the market for a new dog ... and of course since Duff was with me on this trip, I couldn't bring another dog home right now anyay. Plus was I really the best thing for him? I had no experience with a deaf dog ... and I didn't even know ASL or training hand signals.

My books arrived ... and I read "Living with a Deaf Dog" (by Susan B. Cope) immediately. I was gaining more confidence, but still, fear held me back.I also reached out to my local Facebook friends to ask if anyone knew a good dog trainer than might take on a deaf dog. I looked into the great Deaf Dogs Rock logoed Doodie Packs, to see if I could get one small enough for the puppy - and reached out to the owner of Doodie Packs after the small looked like it would be too big to see if she would potentially make me one smaller. I did more research and started palnning when I could come back to get him. A friend who is studying to be an ASL interpreter is actually staying with us at the end of March, so I was thinking I should get him home before then and she could help me do some basic training that week. I even started to make plans to take him with me to Blog Paws this year, along with Duff of course. Since I am driving this year, taking both would be an option.

And I sent my friend lots of information and tidbits along the way ... hoping she would realize I was trying to make myself a good home for this little puppy. But still I didn't say the words ... still I didn't claim him as my own. I was afraid ... afraid she would say no, afraid I wouldn't be good enough. afraid I wasn't the best home.

I dreamt of him every night ... in one dream, my precious Lucky was in it with him. This should have been enough ... the universe was nudging me ...

But I let fear stop me.

So when my friend was contacted by another family ... one that had owned a deaf dog before ... she had them come meet him. And my little white puppy went home with them.

It is completely my fault ... I know this. I didn't follow my heart ... I didn't listen when the universe prompted me, with dreams and with access to all the resources and information I needed to be a successful deaf dog owner. I let the fear win.

I hope by sharing this story that any of you with a dream - one that tugs at your heart constantly - will learn from my lesson. Follow it - don't let the fear win. It is OK that you feel the fear ... but push through it and chase your dream. Ask for help if you need it. Or just ask for what you want if someone else has the power to help you get it.

I leave you with a final quote from French author Jules Renard:

“Everything you want is out there waiting for you to ask. Everything you want also wants you. But you have to take action to get it.”