My lost dog moment and taking advice

Do you like taking advice? I know I’m not always that easy to convince. I’ve always been pretty confident about my own ideas and decisions.

Working as a business and project management consultant for over 15 years has taught me that a client will sometimes take advice but often they won’t. It’s easy to spot when you are asking for too big a leap. People are polite – but you just know they won’t take the action you are suggesting, unless their organisation has insisted. If the client happens to be the CEO, then finding a way to convince them can be difficult too. It’s a long process of building trust and that can use up a lot of time better spent making the changes needed.

But as I mentioned, I don’t take advice either, so I’ve always been quite patient.

Then I lost my dog.

Well she’s more of a puppy than a dog, not quite 4 months old, not used to going out, or looking out for traffic. And she’s pretty gorgeous.

It was a really bad time.

Friends were supportive. They told me to ring various animal welfare organisations and local councils. But the day she went missing all we did was walk and drive around the local streets. I was sure we’d find her. But we didn’t.

The next day I made all the recommended phone calls. I still thought we’d find her but I thought I better do something. I found myself bombarded by advice, with the corresponding large list of possible activities. It was all a bit overwhelming. Most of it sounded like a waste of time. She was registered and micro chipped – surely I didn’t really have to ring all the local vets? She’s pretty obviously a Labrador – surely I didn’t have to actually visit the animal shelter?

I really didn’t want to go door knocking and I’ve always thought the people who put up lost animal posters were a bit weird. As usual, other people’s ideas just didn’t gel with mine.

But she didn’t come back.

So by day 3 I was out knocking on neighbours doors. (Hating every minute of it)

Day 4 saw us putting up posters around the local streets, and putting a few flyers in letterboxes. (Hating every minute of it)

Day 5 and I was at the animal shelter, looking at lots of sad and cute dogs, but none of them mine.

By day 6 I was printing lost puppy flyers in large numbers and my two sons and I were out letterboxing the local streets. (Getting in the swing of it, chatting to neighbours, asking if they’d seen her)

By Day 7 I was at the stage where any idea was worth considering. And then we got her back! Someone had seen the flyers and given her back, someone who said openly – ‘She’s so lovely, I was going to keep her when I saw your flyers’.

I’m just grateful that I listened to all those ideas (that weren’t mine) and all that advice (that didn’t fit with the sort of things I do).

I thanked the person who told me to letterbox profusely. I was so very grateful. It was not an idea I would have had.

So often ideas and advice falls on deaf ears. If you haven’t had a lost dog moment you’re probably not listening to what other people have to offer.

And if you don’t listen to advice, it doesn’t work.

So here’s some more advice – don’t wait for your lost dog moment – it might be too late.