Finding Joy Amidst Chaos

May 9, 2023

If you’re a dog lover like me and my son Asher, then you know that life is better with a wagging tail and a wet nose. Our puppies are our constant companions, cuddle buddies, and sanity savers – because let’s face it, sometimes they’re the only ones who can make us smile. Asher and I spend a tremendous amount of time lying on the floor with our puppies. It is quite handy as Asher often needs a bath and the puppies are more than happy to bathe him in kisses. As much as we cherish these moments, life can get busy, and it’s easy to get caught up in the daily grind. For me, that means waking up, changing diapers, going to work, spending time with my dogs, changing more diapers, and going to bed – a routine that leaves little room for anything else.

One Saturday, Anne, my wife, Brenda, and Asher were playing with a batch of rowdy Lakeland puppies at my house. We were having one of those famous gloomy Ohio winter days, and it was majorly affecting my mood. If you’re not familiar with what that is, try sitting in your freezer with the lights off for roughly six months, and you’ll get a taste of an Ohio winter.

Asher was having a blast, yelling, screaming, and generally being a tiny ball of chaos. As the excitement rose, so did the noise. I started to feel more and more agitated. Asher and one of the puppies started wrestling on the floor, and Brenda couldn’t stop laughing. As the noise rapidly rose to fighter plane levels I decided to step in and give them both a break for some peace and quiet.

I picked them both up and held them together. Both the puppy and Asher froze and looked at each other, almost as if to say, “Hey, what happened?” Then Asher slowly put his head down on the puppy’s soft fur. The puppy, in turn, started licking Asher. Asher lifted his head and gave one of the biggest smiles I’ve ever seen. It was a moment of pure joy and gratitude, as if he were saying, “Thanks for playing with me today, buddy. I love and appreciate you.” My rising agitation instantly melted at the pure love and mutual appreciation those two showed for one another.

That moment has stayed with me and made me realize that joy doesn’t have to depend on external circumstances. During this period of Asher’s young life, he was struggling with multiple illnesses that landed him in the hospital three times, but he found happiness in the love of his companion. It was a powerful reminder that we can choose joy, even in the midst of challenges.

Whether or not you have a pet by your side, I encourage you to look for joy in the small things. Let yourself laugh, play, and connect with the people and creatures you love. And who knows – maybe that joy will build and spread until it becomes a force that brightens even the gloomiest winter day.

The video featuring Asher and his puppy friend was recorded that day. If you’re looking to witness a moment of unadulterated happiness, feel free to check it out at