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I love the Six Word Memoir Project. It’s just what it sounds like: a life in six words. In my last workplace, one of the pieces of my job was to help our clients write their stories to share with peers in a newsletter. It helped them reflect on what they felt was was important and helped to build community. In six words, I’d describe my role:
Word worker honoured to highlight lives.
What I love about a six-word memoir is similar to a photo: it’s a capture of many layers. This morning I was thinking of six-word memoirs for dogs. Although the word memoir can imply a permanence, when I was thinking of these in terms of dogs, I see them as fluid, allowing for change and growth.
Our last and first dog Calvin was a wee guy we adopted when he was about three or four years old, to the vet’s best guess. If he could have lived his life from my partner’s shoulder, he would have. That was his place of bliss. He was scared of the world beyond our doors (and inside too, when people came over). Calvin’s six-word memoir might have read:
Trusts family. Scared of everything else.
It also could have read:
Happy in arms and beds. Beloved.
We don’t know about Miller’s first year of life, but his fear and reaction to people, dogs, and many other things tells us it may have been an extreme (puppy mill) or at minimum, a breeder who didn’t do much to positively expose him to people, other dogs, or everyday things he would encounter in life.
When we adopted Miller, his memoir could have read:
Alarmed by everyday world.
This has changed.
He is still curious but not as snappy. He still can be alarmed, but over time, has learned the world is quite great. While Miller Man will probably never be a social butterfly, he does have his people whom he adores. Once you are in, you are in. He has a few dog friends he adores too. Right now, his story reads:
Trusts over time. Joyous.
I look forward to seeing his next chapters unfold.
Images: (top) Calvin in repose. (bottom) Miller happily tears into a toy.