When Rory was a puppy, about three months old and weighing less than three pounds, she had a problem with stairs. She would watch her humans dart up and down the strange angular contraption and desperately want to follow. Unfortunately her tiny little legs simply would not carry her up the vertical assent, but my stubborn puppy refused to accept that she was just too little for such an enormous task.

Every day she would sit at the bottom of the staircase and paw at it. She would stand up and rest her fluffy front feet on the first step’s surface, tentatively sniffing the new platform and of course testing it for interesting tastes with her tongue. Every day she would then try to pull herself up until finally, almost miraculously, she managed to clumsily climb onto the step! (Her humans were very proud — there may have been a happy dance….) Equally excited by her triumph Rory climbed all the way to the top of the staircase, only to turn around, look down below and start whimpering. She could not get down again!

She growled in frustration at the steps and tried to dig through the topmost one in an effort to return to level ground. Of course, nothing worked. So she became faced with a new challenge and once again, after clambering up the staircase every day and studying with care the downward route, she eventually conquered that obstacle too!

Watching Rory tackle and in time overcome the staircase has always been a particularly inspiring moment for me. I wanted to share it to remind us that no matter how daunting something may seem at first it is always possible to reach our goals with determination. Sometimes, however, after working hard and persevering and achieving our goal we inevitably find ourselves faced with a new challenge, a new unknown that needs to be addressed, a new fear to be vanquished. That is just the nature of life — a continuous journey of stairs leading into a great unknown. It is up to us how far we choose to climb. Just remember that if a three pound puppy can set her mind to accomplish something difficult, we all have it in us to do the same. How has your pet taught you about determination?