Vulnerability and Pets

I just finished one of the best books I’ve read in a long time.

One of those life changing books.

Daring Greatly, by Brene’ Brown


I set out to read this book as part of an online course Brene’ is conducting on courageworks. It’s been more than I imagined.

I feel like I channeled Oprah with so many ah-ha moments.


In case you’ve never heard of the book, or Brene’; Daring Greatly is based on years of vulnerability research conducted by Dr. Brene’ Brown, research professor at the University of Houston Graduate College of Social Work. The book details vulnerability and the different ways we don’t show up in our lives. I highly recommend it for anyone addicted to reading self improvement books or just loves a little psychology.

What started as a read for improving my personal life, turned into an ah-ha moment when it comes to relationships with pets. Specifically, how we deal with the loss of a pet and whether we allow ourselves to love another.

Let me explain.

Two weeks ago, a close colleague had lost his cat to a sudden illness. This forty-something, highly intelligent engineer was clearly distraught. In my attempt to display empathy (which is also a topic in Daring Greatly), we cautiously discussed when and if his daughter would ever be ready for another pet. I advised him the best thing he could do is, when the time was right, lead by example and open his heart to another.

While he said he would, I have a few friends who lost their first furry love and have either:

1-never opened their heart or home to another


2-it took many, many years.

So what would Brene’ say? I’m not sure…..one book does not a psychologist make. But, perhaps she would say one who chooses to never own another pet may live in “perpetual disappointment”. Perpetual disappointment is living with the constant emotion of  disappointed. It may sound something like “I will never get another dog because it will die anyway“.  “Why bother, I will just be sad anyway“.

So what does Daring Greatly teach us?

That we should be brave. Show up and make ourselves vulnerable.

I think of all the love, cuddles and kisses those friends are missing when they choose fear and never open their heart again.

But I don’t judge. I can only understand the pain. I have lost some beloved animals growing up, but my current pack members are the first of my very own.

It will be a very dark day when they cross over the rainbow bridge.

But I will choose to dare greatly and make myself vulnerable again.

I’m sure if Brene’ Brown was giving me a test, I might not pass with flying colors. But hopefully I piqued enough of your curiosity that you will pick up this read.

This is an official  Zen Paws book pick…for humans.

May you find as many ah-ha moments as I had.

Namaste’ and paws up!


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