Be still, resolute and focused.

Throughout my journey so far, I have stumbled and become ungrounded more than a few times. Frustrations, setbacks and lost recipes didn’t help much.

One day I was in a rush and had called my dogs into the house so I could prepare to leave. My oldest dog, Oliver, refused to comply, and I grew impatient. I walked outside and called for him to come in. Oliver sat in defiance. Again I called and he remained, resolute. I decided to walk over to Oliver and try again, however as I approached, he laid down. Standing over him, I sighed and thought to myself “Fine, if you aren’t moving, neither will I.”

And so I sat down in the grass. I looked at Oliver and he looked up at me and closed his eyes. I took a deep breath and exhaled. I could feel the warmth of the sun and the breeze blowing over my skin. The sounds of cars, thoughts of tasks and work faded away and the songs of birds filled my ears.

What Oliver had done was teach me to be still. To remain resolute and to relax. Oliver had helped me realize that I needed to stop worrying and focus on nature and the good things around me.

Be bold, ambitious and take a leap of faith.

Many of life’s greatest discoveries, creations and changes happened because someone dared to question why. Dared to color outside the lines and take a chance at an idea. One of my dogs, Sam, is the very definition of rebel.

His chaotically good nature is a combination of good heart and free spirit; a pathfinder, benevolent and complete disregard for regulations.

Sam has been picked up by the police and brought home in a squad car for breaking out of the yard, stung by bees for wandering into the bushes, stepped on, drugged, knocked around and trapped in a closet. If it happens, it happens to Sam. That’s not to say he doesn’t go looking for trouble, but trouble always seems to find Sam, somehow.

One particular day, Sam had managed to wiggle himself between the fence and a large shrub and ran into the woods across the neighbor’s yard. I gave chase, and it was cat-and-mouse game of tag for about 15 minutes. Every time I thought I had Sam cornered, he would duck under a shrub or under some brush, where I couldn’t fit. By the time I had run around the obstacle, Sam had doubled back or moved on, and I found myself trying to keep up with a small dog who was outsmarting me.

When I finally managed to catch up to Sam, he had already made his way back to the yard. I shook my head and admired his tenacity to find adventure and fun in the world so full of boundaries and rules. I turned and locked the gate behind me, then started to head back into the house. Through all that chase I smiled and admitted to myself that it was actually quite entertaining trying to outmaneuver Sam. I heard a rustling in the bushes and when I glanced over, there was Sam, on the other side of the fence again, watching me for a moment before dashing back into the woods.

Sam taught me to let my guard down, to take chances and always include an element of enjoyment in everyday life. As we get older, we realize that some rules were made to be broken… to have courage enough to live on my own terms and never apologize for it. Go against the grain if need be, take the road less traveled and refuse to conform.

Create something that is greater than the assembled parts.

How can something so apparently opposite actually create a complementary relationship?

By themselves, Sam or Oliver are fun loving, free spirited companions that will bring cheer and warmth to my day. When they are together, their complementary methods of interaction form a dynamic relationship that cannot be broken. They are an indivisible whole; a team and an inspiration for my company, Sam & Oliver to model itself around. Stay resolute, passionate and confident. Take chances, focus on the good and to enjoy the adventure.