5.5 lessons from a shy, scruffy, perfect pup about the power of words

This little scruff of fluff is my new BFF, Chloe. And, the story of how I got her taught me a lot (again) about the creative, god-like power of words.

Cliff notes version

No more than a week ago at lunch with co-workers they all talked about their dogs, and at the end I said in a very definitive voice,  “That’s it – I’m getting a dog!”  I’d been wanting a dog for several years, but for various reasons the time had never been right. But now, something in the conversation had moved me to step out and say it with conviction like I meant it. That declaration started a whirlwind series of events, that led to Chloe’s adoption exactly 7 days later.

“Really, what kind?” my co-workers asked.

“Well, I want a puppy. Female. Easy to train. I want a small dog that will be good company and a playmate for Sparky (my somewhat annoying, yet entertaining and lovable cat). Pretty sure I want a Havanese (non-shedding, non-allergenic, non-yappy). I want her to be black or have a lot of black. Preferably a rescue dog. For sure I don’t want to spend a fortune.”

Last week’s time line

  • Back from lunch, I cruised Petfinder.com for shelter dogs. No Havanese – found a cute puppy, Fiona, but she was a different breed that shed.
  • Looked for Havenese rescue organization in my area – nothing there.
  • Cruised Seattletimes.com and Craigs List – there were Havanese, but not the right one for me (females, but white – black, but males, and so forth).
  • Corresponded with some breeders. Found some attractive, available puppies that fit the bill: $1,200 – $1,700 – uh….no.
  • Sent an email to and talked with close friends, asking: “What should I do? Cute shelter shedder I can get right now, pricey perfect pup, or wait it out? In short, all agreed: “Hold out for what you really want, not just a ‘good enough pup.'”
  • Visited a friend over the weekend, and a neighbor came over with a cute, sweet dog that I was really drawn to. “What kind is that?” “Havanese.” “Really? Wow!” “Ya, she’s the best!” “Huh, you don’t say?”

This week

  • Monday morning first thing, I go back to Petfinder.com, search on Havanese, and what??? A local rescue org now has, not 1, not 2, not 3, but SIX Havanese rescue pups available. No way! I call 4pm Monday.
  • Tuesday 10AM, shelter lady calls back and we set an appointment for Wednesday morning.
  • Wednesday 9AM, meet Chloe. She’s, a little stinky, sticky (a litter-mate’s accident on the way to our meet-up), shy & scruffy (a shelter dog, after all), but sweet, and there was a hint of cuteness underneath the scruff. She’s not a copy of my friend’s fluffy, pretty and outgoing, bouncy dog as I had envisioned. However, she is 6mo, female, Havanese rescue, lots of black (face & spots), female, and a bargain at $400.
  • After sitting with her for an hour, despite some lingering uncertainty (a puppy is after all a 15 year commitment), I took the plunge and declared “I’ll take her.”
  • Brought her home and immediately gave her a bath. Bye, bye sticky and stinky. Now she’s just shy, scruffy and sweet.
  • That night on her walk, she shows some bouncy puppy energy. In the house, she and Sparky are leery of each other, but generally tolerant.
  • Thursday morning, she’s bouncy, happy, and by the time I am ready to leave for work, she and Sparky are tearing around the house chasing each other and playing like long lost pals. 50/50 – cat chases dog – dog chases cat. She’s waaaay less shy, even more sweet, and soon (once her hair grows and she gets a proper grooming), I’m convinced she will go from scruffy to chic.
  • By Friday, she’s walking happily on a leash, doing her duty outside, playing with Sparky, has made fast friends at work, and is calling her own corner of the couch home.

Yep, I’ve  found the perfect pup, and in doing so, learned the following about the power of words.

The lessons

  1. Short, declarative statements pack the most punch.
    I’ve been ‘talking about’ getting a dog for years. Saying things like “I’d love to have a dog” “I want a dog” “I wish I had a dog” “Can I have your dog?” But, it wasn’t until I declared “That’s it, I’m getting a dog.” That things started to move, and move fast.
  2. Holding a vivid vision in one area increases power in all areas.
    Having nothing to do with dogs, about 10 days ago I took on the daily practice of holding my vision for what I am creating in life. I’m focusing on fitness, relationship, business, and finance. It’s a simple practice of relaxation and meditation where I spend 10 – 40 minutes envisioning those goals fulfilled. I’ve been really enjoying the process, and the feeling of accomplishment in developing a new habit. Progress in those areas is steady, but with no big breakthroughs yet apparent. Nowhere in anywhere of that practice was the vision of a dog, but I have no doubt that practice played a big part in bringing Chloe to me.
  3. Say exactly what you want, even if it seems unlikely.
    You remember my list? I wanted a popular, pricey and somewhat specialized dog. But at a bargain price, without compromising on my criteria. Typically, getting all that is highly unlikely. Kind of like wanting a very popular car, late model, low miles, in perfect condition, at a bargain-basement price, with attractive financing, but you have crappy credit. Even so, I knew what I wanted, so that’s what I said.
  4. Talk it out – out loud.
    Once I’d made the decision and declaration, I started telling all my friends, and coworkers, and about anyone else who would listen “I’m getting a dog” “Oh ya, what kind?” “A Havanese, I want a female, preferably, black, and I don’t want to pay a fortune. I would love to have a rescue dog. I want a good playmate for Sparky.” Whatever it is you want, getting it out of your head and into the world in conversation is a critical first step in having it go from goal to reality.
  5. Don’t settle for a “good enough pup.”
    I was mighty tempted. Little shelter shedder, Fiona, was cute. Very cute. I had thoughts like “What if I let her go, but don’t find what I want? Then I’ll have nothing.” and “You can’t be too picky if you want a shelter dog” and “Maybe I will just have to bite the bullet and cough up the cash for the puppy I really want.” (And, yes, I do think in cliche’s. Don’t you?) Luckily, my friends had all encouraged me to hold out for the right dog. Another reinforcement of the value of talking it out – good advice and support.
  6. (formatting won’t give me 5.5, but you get the idea) Sometimes ‘perfect’ comes disguised.
    I came perilously close to walking away from Chloe (or puppy X as she was called when I met her). When I say she was a little sticky, a little stinky, a little scruffy, I am being generous. She was a lot sticky, stinky and scruffy. She was shy and shivering and more than a little leary of me at first. Certainly not the happy, bouncy, ball of unconditional love and adoration that I had pictured. She did however, meet all the requirements on my list. And as I sat there trying to decide, she gave my fingers a few coy licks. Suddenly, I thought of the home shows I like to watch – where they buy a run-down house for cheap and then with patience, perseverance, vision and comittment, in a few short weeks, it becomes the perfect dream home – and I knew this scruffy pup was my perfect dog.

Now as I am writing, Chloe sits on the couch in her doggie-bed, sleepy and cute. Nope, now she’s up and chasing the cat. Wait. Now Sparky is chasing her. Can’t help but giggle – it’s just what I had envisioned. And, yep – it looks like I’ve had my way with words again.

I’d love to hear from you

  • What do you want?
  • Are you saying so? Out loud?
  • What happens when you’re tempted to settle for ‘good enough?’
  • Where can you see the perfect behind the disguise?

Explore further

  • Find rescue dogs and shelters at Petfinder.com (Fiona may still need a home)
  • Learn more about K9 Northwest where I got Chloe


Filed under Chloe, Words

23 responses to “5.5 lessons from a shy, scruffy, perfect pup about the power of words

  1. Leisa,
    I can’t tell you how many ways I love this post. From the idea that we can have our way with words, declaring something into reality to the delight of meeting Chloe, watching her come to life…it’s all so good.

    • itsleisa

      Sandi – Thanks so much for your support. And the compliments are even more meaningful coming from a such a popular blogger as you. : – )

  2. Awesome, Awesome blog! I’m passing it on. And by the way, I (we) want a new home much more in line with our hearts, our passions, our life. I know the power of declarations and since we don’t want to move before the new year, I’m biding my time… though its hard. We’ve made our “Manifesting list”, we’re speaking it/visioning it every day – what we WANT. Nov 1st we’ll declare (60 days notice to our landlords.)

    • itsleisa

      Thanks, MJ. Please yes, pass along, and along. Can’t wait to see your new house, and in the meantime, keep on visioning all that other good stuff too. I know you do.

  3. Awwwww….Leisa!!! And Chloe!!

    I don’t know who said it, from the sound of your post maybe it was you :-)…a visionary believes the impossible is inevitable.

    Speaking of words, how did you choose her name?

    And I LOVE the new look of your blog!!


    • itsleisa

      Thanks, Karen. Reminds me of another favorite quote: “Only those who attempt the absurd will achieve the impossible.” ~ Michio Kaku. Funny, her name just popped into my head. Then, I found out it is my co-worker’s daughter’s name. I must have heard it months before and then filed it away for future use. : D

  4. Awww thanks for sharing your story. It’s exactly what I needed to read right now as I embark on something new! (it’s no coincidence that I clicked on this particular post that Sandi shared on Facebook!)

    I KNOW this method to be true. I’ve used it many times in the past with great success – thank you for the reminder! Words are incredibly powerful, choose them wisely!

    Enjoy your new life with puppy! 🙂

  5. Funny how things work. Leisa and I talked earlier today, and I’m almost at the committed stage. I have several items on my dog want list: not a puppy, not needy, smart, medium sized, healthy, a dog I can take on hikes and probably male so I can name him Elmer.

    I grew up with German shepherds and love their personalities and smarts.

    So I went to petfinder, chose dogs in 98027, and guess what popped up?

    An Australian shepherd border collie mix named, you guessed it, Elmer. He’s nine years old, active and healthy, but whiny and needy. So close!!!

    • itsleisa

      Barak – that’s amazing. And way not to settle for a ‘good enough pup.’ Can’t wait to meet him when you find your dog.

  6. I love the way you’ve taken some big ideas and brought them down to earth with the examples of your very real, and “gettable,” choices and actions.

  7. Read this as a result of Mary Jo posting a link on Facebook. I’m so glad you and Chloe found each other. I love happy endings! I’m going to try what you suggest and see what happens – hopefully I get good results like you did.

    Thank you both!

  8. Leisa, I love this post! I used to do a lot of work in animal welfare, and this post just tugged my heart. I miss it sometimes, but other priorities are currently taking my time.

    Saying things out loud – the things you want – seems like such a simple thing. I completely agree that it helps “make them real,” especially as declarative sentences.

    I also like the visioning you’re doing. So often I don’t give myself the time to do that as I move from task to task. I think it’s time I changed my behavior regarding that.

    Thank you for the inspiration!


    • itsleisa

      Thanks Lisbeth. I can’t wait to learn some good blogging from you. I’m a writer, editor and coach, too. Great to “meet you.” I am sure you will be hearing more about Chloe. Leisa

  9. Luisa

    Leisa – I loved your blog!! thank you so much for sharing I can’t wait to meet Chloe :). I believe so much in the power of visualization, that is how I met my future husband to be, I wanted a tall, green eyed guy, not blond, who loved to travel, enjoyed trying new things.. and the list goes on…. and I even wrote it down when I was 18! I met him when I was 24 and I am so glad I never settled for a “good enough pup”!! Hope to see you Monday at the office!

    • itsleisa

      Thanks, Luisa – I’m so glad you enjoyed it. Something I recently learned about visioning – it is a little different that visualization in that, visualization is picturing what you want in your mind. Visioning is that, plus imagining/experiencing the feelings and sensations of actually having it right now. It’s a very powerful distinction, I link. Just takes visualization one step farther. See you Monday!

  10. …cute lil’-doggie ! Fun to read your stuff ! Thanks.

  11. Shelly Roberts

    “Shy, scruffy and sweet.” Shoulda named her Shloe, perhaps? What a cute pup. This was such a fun read. Thanks for it.

    I’m totally with you re: declare and visualize your dreams. What god gave us was something called the subconscious mind. We use it like, um, 1% of the time–unless we’re trained. You give useful advice, there. Nice work!

    New fan of wordsarelittlegods.com (aka Shelly)

    • itsleisa

      Thanks Shelly. I’m hoping that at some point Chloe will grow up to be chic and cosmopolitan. : – ) And yes, training ourselves to use all that hidden power foremost to me. Very glad to have you as a new fan.

  12. Hey Leisa,

    Thanks for your comment on my blog :). I enjoyed your reading your blog post. I got reinforcement for a current lesson I am learning. The not settling. Which I am learning in the way of, “No Plan B.”

    Words really have power.

    Thanks for your work!

  13. Pingback: P stands for Puppy = Present « Words are Little Gods

  14. Leisa- Thanks for posting on the Our Little Books blog so that I could find your blog. Nice to find another who loves words!

    Enjoyed your story and I love your writing (and now I want my own Chloe)… Combination of story with inspiration is a good choice! Looking forward to reading more.

    Candace Davenport
    Our Little Books- Little Books with a Big Message

    • itsleisa

      Thanks, Candace. Looking forward to reading more of yours too. I can almost picture the Words are Little Gods in Your Pocket book : )

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