The Journal Prompt Writing Challenge continues into January. Today we are talking about watershed moments. A watershed moment is when something happens that is important because it represents a big change in your life and the start of new developments. Think of it as a turning point.
Here’s a definition I like from vocabulary.com:
Watershed is a geographical term, originally. The area that drains into a single river is the watershed for that river. Watershed can also mean a ridge, like that formed by a chain of mountains, which sends water to two different rivers on either side. It’s from this meaning that watershed came to mean a turning point or dividing line in social life.
A Watershed Event: Today’s Journal Prompt
What is something you chose to do that changed who you are as person?
How did it change you?
What lessons did you learn?
We’ve all turning points in our lives that lead to unexpected things. Maybe you made a choice that you thought would be small and it ended up changing your whole life. Or maybe something happened to you that you had no control over. It might have been a good turning point, or it might have been bad. Think back on that event and how it changed you.
My Reflections on a Watershed Moment in My Life
I’m going to talk about a seemingly small event that happened a few years ago. This choice dramatically changed my life, but it didn’t seem that big at the time. In fact it, was a decision I held off on for a long time. I got a dog.
Friends now know me as someone who loves dogs, but for a long time dogs weren’t really my thing. I didn’t really like them all that much. Dogs were fine, but not really my cup of tea. I actually preferred cats, but I am highly allergic to their fur. So, having a pet wasn’t on my radar.
You see, we had had a family dog when I was a kid. And unfortunately, it was untrained and mean. It was a the classic trifecta of a poor choice of breed by folks who didn’t know any better, a serious lack of quality training (again from lack of knowledge), and a pretty stubborn, willful dog. Knowing what I know now, I would have given my parents all sorts of advice on what to do, but none of us knew then. And the internet wasn’t a thing. (Yes, I’m that old.) So, I didn’t have a lot of experience with desirable pups.
But, my sister had a dog. She kept telling me how much I would love having one. I wasn’t sure, I was so busy. But after I watched her pup a few times when she was out of town, I decided she was right. I needed a dog of my own.
How This Watershed Event Changed My Life
I rescued a little hound mix named Hermes. Unfortunately due to cancer, Hermes was only with me for about 4 years. But my love for Hermes led me to Jack. Jack was a senior lab who needed to be re-homed. Jack taught me to love seniors and dogs at the end of their lives, which led me to Duncan and Dempsey, Bandit, Thor, Tommy, Ace, and Finnegan…
Hermes taught me to love having a dog. He was a good little buddy that spent a lot of time training me on how to be a good dog owner. He also taught me how to deal with dogs with health problems.
Adopting Hermes was also a watershed in that he and I got daily exercise. We walked miles and miles around Grand Rapids. I lost weight and began trying to get healthier. That directly led to the life I live today.
As I said, after losing Hermes, I took in Jack. And adopting Jack was a turning point that showed me the benefits of owning and loving a senior dog. That was a watershed that would change my life again.
From having Jack, I got Duncan, a senior dude with health problems. We solved the health problems, for now. And Duncan is great with people and has appeared on stage in a play and has been to an elementary school and introduced to kids.
Duncan taught me how to trust a dog completely.
When Jack passed away, I decided to try a little younger dog. I chose a sweet pitsky. I named him Dempsey. He was supposed to be 8-9 years old. Sadly, Dempsey ended up being a lot older than the rescue thought and I didn’t have him for very long. But Dempsey showed me what it is like to have a soulmate dog. A dog that knows and loves you inside and out.
Dempsey also led me to one of my dear friends, his foster mom. She and I are incredibly close now, and through her I got my next hound, an adorable dork named Bandit.
Bandit is so named because he’s my naughty one. …he teaches me patience.
After adopting two from a foster group, I made another choice that would be a watershed event. I fostered one of my own, and in came Thor. Thor gave me additional lessons in how to care for sick senior dogs. When he was adopted, I learned there are still good people in the world.
Being part of dog rescue is a whole new world. The people are wonderful, but the world of dog rescue will break your heart. I learned amazing things about people, and things that make me sick to my stomach.
But Thor wasn’t my only rescue. After Thor was Ace. Ace became another turning point – my first “foster fail.” Ace had had a pretty rough life, and the thought of him having to start over again broke my heart. I decided my home would be his forever home.
But I wasn’t done fostering, and that’s how I got Tommy. Tommy was adopted by another remarkable human, a woman I am lucky enough to now call my friend.
And now there is Finnegan, my second foster fail. Finnegan is so smart and so personable. Everyone loves him. He’s taught me how very wrong the sterotypes about pit breeds are.
For the Love of Dogs
And with the dogs I’ve brought home, there have been all the other amazing dogs that I’ve met through this crazy journey – Keela, Tink, Evander, Harvey, Annelise, Baxter, Brie, Bingo, Henry, and others.
They have taught me love, compassion, and how strong I really am. They’ve introduced me to new friends. And they have given me purpose. I am forever grateful to them. They’ve changed my life for the better.