As of tomorrow it will be one week since my dog Pearl passed away.
She was 14-and-a-half years old, and up until a few days before she died, she lived an active and healthy life.
While that’s a blessing, it still doesn’t make it any easier.
Working from home all these years, Pearl was my constant companion. She’d sit in my office while I worked, or lounge on the stairs outside my office. I’d like to think she was standing guard to protect me, but it was also so she’d know if I was about to take her outside or if I was headed to the kitchen.
Pearl also “consulted” with me on many of my writing projects. I’ll never forget when she was just a puppy, I was writing my first promo for one of National Geographic’s books.
I snuggled with her on the sofa while I hand-wrote possible bullets based on the book on a pad of paper. (I mean look at her, who wouldn’t want to snuggle with that cute pooch!)
I found doing so not only a way to spend time with my new puppy, but it gave me a change of scenery that boosted my creativity… and then when I typed my hand-written bullets into my copy document, I did additional editing and tweaking.
That promo went on to become a strong control for at least a few years.
Back in December 2019, I did an affiliate deal with Ben Settle where he promoted my Copywriting Velocity program (which has since been replaced with the updated and expanded Get Dangerously Good Copywriting System) to his Email Players subscribers and email list.
Ben asked me to do a special “guest spot” for a feature he had in his newsletter at the time called “Ravings of an Adman”. I wrote it as a supposed “lunatic” who had just broken out of the asylum to take over for him that month.
I then went on to unleash more than 19 years of pent-up frustration at missed opportunities and other mistakes I’d seen clients make as a freelance copywriter looking inside. My dog Pearl played a co-starring role in that highly-entertaining and eye-opening six-page write-up.
I let Ben know the other day that Pearl passed away, and he said it’d be fine with him if I shared it with you. So here it is: click this link to download and read it.
Over the past week, I’ve put together a short list of “Pearls of wisdom” that my dear pooch taught me, and I’d like to share them with you. So here goes…
Pearl of Wisdom #1: Love others unconditionally. No one will love you like your dog, except maybe your mother. Well, actually, not even her. Pearl was loving and loyal to the end. Even her last few days, she followed me everywhere. Years ago, my husband broke his ankle on an icy front step, and Pearl didn’t leave his side until I came out and found him.
Pearl of Wisdom #2: Practice forgiveness. If I accidentally stepped on Pearl’s paw, she would instantly lick my hand and forgive me. She could see I was sorry, and that’s all that was needed. We humans could benefit from doing the same.
Pearl of Wisdom #3: Always be curious. I’d often joke that when I took Pearl on a walk in the woods, we were going on a “sniff” instead. She’d stop every few feet and want to smell all the smells. She’d examine some plants like a scientist taking field notes. Do the same when writing copy, and you’ll uncover lots of copy “gold”.
Pearl of Wisdom #4: Don’t follow “the herd”. If you don’t want to do all the “normal” stuff, that’s fine… just be you. Pearl wasn’t a “normal” dog in that she really didn’t like other dogs. She much preferred people, and was mostly indifferent to the other dogs we encountered. (Although she did have a younger “boyfriend” in her later years in Rocco, the dog across the street.)
Pearl of Wisdom #5: Be determined. Whenever we went on a particularly satisfying walk, Pearl would find a stick and carry it all the way home. Usually, she’d pick up the biggest stick she could find. It’d be quite a sight to watch this mini-goldendoodle carrying such a big stick, and she’d be determined to make it all the way home… even speeding up as we got closer. She didn’t back down from a challenge she set for herself.
Pearl of Wisdom #6: The fun is in the chase. One thing Pearl loved to do is chase after deer that were in our yard or in the woods… even running across the creek behind our house. There was no chance she was going to catch them. But the fun was in the chase. Your satisfaction doesn’t have to always be focused on achieving a specific goal… simply enjoy the pursuit and see what you get from it.
Pearl of Wisdom #7: Pay attention. Pearl knew how to be in the moment. She’d hear all the sounds. She knew what I was going to do next probably before I did. (If you’ve ever read “The Art of Racing in the Rain” by Garth Stein… which is written entirely from a dog’s perspective, you know what I mean… it’s one of my favorite books.) I was on my deck the other day and noticed I was noticing MORE sounds… turning my head to look, to take things in I would normally miss.
Pearl of Wisdom #8: Love everyone. Pearl wasn’t that interested in other dogs, but she loved every human she encountered. She didn’t make snap judgements based on what they looked like or what they did (though a cyclist or jogger coming up behind us might startle her and make her be protective of me). We could all do more of this with our fellow humans… there is more that brings us together than divides us. And we are all worthy of being loved.
I’m sure there are many other lessons Pearl taught me that I’m forgetting, but these are the ones that came to mind over the past few days. I’m super grateful that we had her as a member of our family for so long… there are many fun memories I’ll never forget.
It was a bittersweet Mother’s day not to have her with me, but the good news is I visited my mom and she’s doing great now. I appreciate everyone’s good wishes.
That’s it for now… oh wait, here’s one more picture of Pearl, doing one of her favorite things: walking in the woods…
Yours for smarter marketing,
P.S. A week or so ago I shared a story about a woman at my gym who I hadn’t seen in a few years… the one that greeted me with “You are a winner!” when I saw her in the locker room. I was worried that maybe something was wrong.
Well, last week I walked into the lobby of the gym and there she was… seated on a bench with her walker in front of her, a huge radiant smile on her face.
“You are a winner” she said as I walked up to the desk to check in. “You win today!”
I told her, “I won today because I saw YOU!”
She told me she loved me, and I told her I loved her back. It made my day.
Another “pearl of wisdom”… one I learned from this woman: giving positive encouragement to strangers can be a beautiful thing. Spread the love!