Embracing Limitations: Leia the tripod dog

With our renaming to Conexus Counselling, Carolyn’s blog has become much more “our” blog.  Expect to see other therapists’ thoughts here. Today, Deanna Carpentier gives us a valuable perspective!

I never really thought much about getting a dog.

I knew my husband wanted one – I mean really, really wanted one – but I wasn’t sure about it. You know, dogs are a lot of work and I thought it might get in the way of life, as I wanted to live it! So… I tried to stop it from happening – I put all sorts of obstacles and barriers in the way of us getting one.

Big obstacles!

Like a garage and a  fence and a new job for him so husband would be home more… Huge obstacles…. He managed to complete all these tasks.

So alas, I gave in and I am now a first time dog owner

(…and perhaps, just maybe, absolutely loving it).  🙂

Let me tell you a bit about my dog:

Leia, the tripod dog. Close up
Leia…don’t those eyes just melt you??

She is a golden retriever named Leia. Princess Leia to be exact.

She’s the perfect dog – she came to us house-trained, she doesn’t lick or bark, is gentle natured and perfect with our baby at home.

She’s truly a dream dog… But Leia’s got something unique about her that makes you fall in love with her the moment you set eyes on her.

She’s a three-legged dog.

A tripod.

You see, as a puppy, Leia lost one of her front legs. In a split-second, she went from running freely in the country with all the other dogs around her, to learning a whole new skill. She runs with 3 legs, and lives with what that means for how she lives in the world.

Leia the tripod dog visible with three legs. Limitations

And here’s the thing for me – what I wasn’t expecting about having her in our home. She is teaching me stuff all the time. Ridiculous as it might sound, when my mind starts racing away on me, I often regain perspective when I watch her.

And recently, this is the thing that I’ve been mulling over the most….

Leia lives with limits.




Limits that were put upon her life after a tragedy, It changed how she lives in the world.

These limits mean Leia can:

  • Go for walks, but they have to be short.
  • Run and play, but wears out quickly and needs to rest.
  • Walk around great, but doesn’t dare climb stairs.

Yet, I am continually amazed that in the midst of these limits, she thrives!

More than that, I’d dare say she’s living life to the fullest.

Leia, the tripod dog collage of pictures. She has limits

So when we go for our daily walks and I watch her hopping along, I often find myself thinking about how much I could learn from her.

I hate limits, and I have a feeling I’m not alone in this.

They usually feel restrictive and confining. They feel like they can suck the joy and vitality out of life. They often feel unfair.

But, I wonder if I were more open to embracing the limits in my own life more, limits that exist either by choice or circumstance, if I’d actually thrive.

Maybe embracing limitations means sometimes choosing to see things through a different lens. Maybe it means accepting the boundaries we’ve been given to work with and finding something beautiful within that.

Maybe embracing limitations means accepting the boundaries we've been given and finding something beautiful within that. Click To Tweet

I’ll admit this is not my default response to limits – I often have to grieve that they exist before moving on to accept them. But, I guess I’m starting to wonder more and more if limits and boundaries are actually that bad.

Limitations may be the most unlikely of places to harness creativity, but perhaps one of the best ways to get ourselves out of ruts, rethink categories and challenge accepted norms. Quote by Phil Hansen

My family named Leia the “happy hop-along” because when they see us walking, she is undeniably happy.

Makes me wonder what my response might be to the limits in my own life.

Dare to join me on the adventure of embracing them?

For more on celebrating and embracing limitations, listen to this fantastic TED talk by Phil Hansen:

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