Hope on Four Legs

Cheryl Terrace by Cheryl Terrace | April 18th, 2012 | 3 Comments
topic: Personal Growth, Relationships

My mom’s house burned to the ground a little over a year ago. She lost everything … but it was a hidden blessing. Since my dad died a few years ago, my brother, sister and I had been trying to get Mom to move to a smaller house in a less-isolated community. She would not budge, saying, “Everything I know is here: my home, my neighbors, my life.” The fire, though tragic, took care of that.

Mom relocated into a charming new two-bedroom house on a cul-de-sac in the same town as my brother, who has always shared a special close relationship with Mom. She, luckily, had great insurance, which paid for Brand New Everything. She couldn’t believe it, saying, “I feel like a fairy princess” (at 80 years old!). She got involved in a quilting group, Bible study group, and so many card-playing groups I call her the [Card] Shark of Louisiana. Her life was transformed in a flash.

Then a few months ago, my brother bought Mom a dog. As much as I pleaded with her to get one from a shelter, my brother put a deposit on a Goldendoodle pup in Arkansas. My sister took Mom to get her new dog. As they drove back home, the little golden creature proceeded to vomit profusely all over my mother and the car, and that’s when Mom decided to call her Hope, as in “I hope she is okay” and “I hope we get along … .”

The next weeks proved to be challenging for Mom. A puppy is, after all, a lot of work.

Hope has torn apart Mom’s new house top to bottom, chews everything, and (as they say in the south) “makes a mess” everywhere! Mom has been frantic and upset about the furry little menace ruining all of her new things and scattering mud and dog kibble everywhere. She was completely overwhelmed. I volunteered for a rescue mission (for Mom as well as for Hope), booked a flight and a rental car, and found hotels that accept dogs.

I told Mom all was set to go, only to receive a late-night email: “Cher, please don’t make any plans just yet. I am attached to Hope and still hoping it will all works out.”

I check in with Mom often to see how she and Hope are coping, and Mom has shifted her perspective and priorities. She now tells me how adorable Hope is (even when she is ripping something up) and that they are getting along just fine.

I have heard that only through chaos can a star be born. Every time we hold something particularly precious, it has a way of disappearing (lessons abound). Mom’s life adventures are wonderful examples of how we shift and change what we hold dear.

We could all use a little HOPE!

“Hope is the thing with feathers.” ~Emily Dickinson (Or, in my mom’s case, fur!)

We asked experts, authors and readers like you to share their stories of Hope. Every day for the next month, you’ll find new tips for optimism on Gaiam Life, the Stream of Consciousness blog and our social media sites: Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest. And don’t miss the GaiamTV.com Hope Film Festival, with FREE films all month long.

Cheryl Terrace, shown here with her mother, owns Vital Design Ltd., an eco-friendly interior design firm in New York City. Known for her organic, down-to-earth, intuitive style, Cheryl’s design work has been featured on Planet Green network’s “Simply Green with Danny Seo” and in magazines including Westchester Home, New York Living, Natural Home, Domino, and Sustainable Residential Interiors.


  1. GREAT STORY!!! thank you for sharing. Glad “MOM” found HOPE!

    Therese | April 19th, 2012 | Comment Permalink
  2. Dear Cheryl,

    I loved reading your story about your mother and little Hope! We welcomed a Goldendoodle puppy to our home a little over 4 years ago and I found myself chuckling when I read your story since it sure reminded me off when our “Bella” was little and a true terror! I almost gave her away because we also had a new baby at the same time. I am so glad that we stayed patient with her! She is the most wonderful dog anyone can imagine and so worth the thousands of dollars the she cost me in “chew toys”. I am trying to convince my mother who had to stop working after complicated back surgery to get a puppy as well to get out and stay busy. I will forward her your story! Thank you for sharing!

    Claudia B. | April 19th, 2012 | Comment Permalink
  3. Hey Cheryl:

    Thanks for the picture. Hope is just beautiful and I am so glad Cousin Flo has company. My pups are so very dear to me, especially now that Gary has passed. Do not know what I would do without them. Now if I could just get your Mom to visit Maine . . . .

    Debbie | April 23rd, 2012 | Comment Permalink

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