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At some point in life, you may experience a trigger. In broad general terms, a trigger is when you observe or experience something that unleashes a surprising level of emotion or awareness. We are navigating a time in society with lots of triggers that ignite feelings of turmoil and polarity. Some triggers are overwhelming and require support.

What if some triggers unleash a surge of joy or love which deserves more attention than a fleeting awareness and prompt dismissal? In this post, I’m inviting you to pay attention to you love triggers. If a trigger unleashes something that you have been holding deep inside, I’m all for sharing love triggers. The world could use a positive infusion of the good stuff! This is my story…

I was at the local Tractor Supply on a sunny Sunday afternoon picking up some chicken food. The store was full of people shopping for farm and garden items and pet supplies. While standing in the check-out line, a young lady stepped up behind us with a beautiful black and tan coon hound puppy. He was oozing puppy love and curiosity. She was working on teaching him manners and socialization and working hard to keep him contained within the radius of the leash.

The moment I saw those gangly legs and floppy ears, it was all I could do to stop myself from bursting into a puddle of tears. I introduced myself to the puppy and scratched his neck, acutely aware of the surging emotions and heart palpitations that made me want to flop onto the floor and play. Like a good and stable citizen, I promptly squashed my emotional surge and proceeded to check out. When I got to the car, my head was spinning and I gushed to my husband about the joy radiated by that sweet slobbery puppy…And I pushed down my urge to dissolve into a puddle of tears.

The floppy ear hound dog puppy triggered me because, since the last time I communicated in a newsletter, we have parted ways with the earthly form of our dog Lumbee– an adorable black and tan hound dog mutt.  He arrived at our home as a foster dog because he had been rejected by families with small children and cats because of his big urge to chase. We are a foster-family failure.

This lanky hound dog was a giant bundle of joy. He was highly motivated by anything involving a ball and he showed up with his giant happy smile no matter what. He was excited to announce anything going on in the neighborhood with his deep, powerful bark. One time, the visiting evangelists even apologized for upsetting the dog. Actually, he was so excited to see people on the front door step that he up-leveled the barking to include tiny squeals of joy – difficult to describe, but apparently unsettling to observers.

As we navigated our day to day life, Lumbee continued to live and love BIG. He matured to be about 90 pounds. He felt the best way to soak a person in love was to snuggle up. I called him snuggle bug, which was rather hilarious to anyone meeting him for the first time. Remember when you met your first love and snuggled up to take a nap on the couch together – with reckless disregard for comfort? It was like that. Lumbee was less concerned about comfort and more concerned about contact. We always found just the right mix of snuggle and comfort on the couch!

He was diagnosed with mast cell tumors (a kind of cancer) and he endured major surgeries and medical procedures. His prognosis was good. Every time we walked in the vet office, people would observe his joy. Receptionists, other clients, vet techs and veterinarians all commented on his extreme happiness in the midst of strange places and procedures, all while feeling less than perfect. Once when he was dealing with a stomach issue, our family vet commented that Lumbee was the happiest sick dog she had ever met.

Lumbee was the model of happiness and joy. On his last day with us, he seemed to be slightly slower and less jovial, and deeply committed to the big love snuggle. I knew he was letting us know that his time in his dog body was short. Sure enough, he alerted us in the overnight hours that it was his time to go. I had no idea that the definition of “short” was going to be less than 24 hours. We stayed with him and thanked him for bringing so much joy into our home. He was surrounded by family and happy to receive love and care in his time of transition.

I could go on and on about love lessons we learned from our big love Lumbee. I’m sharing this story because I believe with all of my soul that we can learn from our animal companions. We can learn to trust when others offer a caring gesture. We can learn to share a big smile and brighten someone’s day. We can learn to express joy and snuggle with reckless disregard. We can learn to be happy to receive.

Not all triggers are bad! This is my story about a love trigger. That hound dog puppy at Tractor Supply activated my love trigger in a powerful way. I thought that I was all cried out, but it turns out there are still tears to cry. I feel like my heart has been altered by Lumbee. I am better because Lumbee taught me about BIG love and gracious receiving. I hope that you will discover some of your own love triggers and set yourself free of keeping the good stuff bottled up inside. #LoveTrigger!

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