Dog Bucket Debacle

Two dogs, a shattered bucket, and a pile of dog food in the driveway.

I  had assumed that in learning to step off of the hamster wheel in my head, life would have more calm and ease. That moving through life more mindfully means that stupid stuff doesn’t happen anymore.

Nope. Not true.

Case in point: I calmly and easily backed our rig over a 5-gallon bucket of dog food. And disabled the vehicle.

At the risk of another debacle, let me back up:

We had been dog-sitting for my parents, and had had a great time with Maty. She fits right in at home with us, and our Riley and she are great buddies. Maty is truly our own.

I was now loading up the Tahoe to meet Dad at our halfway point, where Maty would then road trip back to her home. We’ve all done this before, no big deal. Packing the travel kennel, dog food bucket, and bag of supplies was a flow. The dogs were hanging out, I had a ton of time, and I had plenty of room in the rig. I simply carried my first load out to the Tahoe, where I planned to then move the rig from the shed to the house so that I could carry my somewhat awkward second load, the travel kennel, a much shorter distance.

When I arrived at the back of the vehicle, it occurred to me that I wanted to put the smallish bag up in the passenger seat. Since it’s a little tight on the sides in the shed, I left the dog food bucket outside the easily-available Tahoe back doors — both because this is where I would access to put it inside, and also that I needed a free hand to open the side door in tight quarters. I specifically set the bucket down by the back doors so that I would not forget it.

This is important: I consciously set the dog food bucket on the ground behind the Tahoe at the doors I would load it in, on purpose, so that I would see it and not drive away without it.


I feel the need to reiterate here just how peaceful, calm, and enjoyable my day was going. No to-do list running in my head. Not a care about the clock. Thoroughly enjoying the two dogs lazing in the grass.

The author's German Shepherd, Riley, and her parents' Pudelpointer, Maty, lounging in the grass.

After walking to the passenger side of the Tahoe and carefully opening the door to place the incredibly manageably-sized bag of supplies on the seat, I closed the door, walked around the back of the rig, carefully got in the driver’s side, and proceeded to back up to the house so that I could load the kennel much more easily.

I know you know what’s coming. But wait, there’s more.

The very weird and extended crunching sound made me immediately hit the brakes. I checked the radio and fan, but they were turned off. Tentatively, I began to back up again.

The heart-wrenching sound of something horribly wrong made me again instantly stop. This time I put the vehicle into park and got out. I squeezed myself along the side, across the back, and up the other side of the rig. Nothing was scraping against the sides. I worked my way across the front, now that there was room, to examine that area as I went back to the drivers’ side door.

Nothing visually amiss.

Getting back in, I carefully put the Tahoe into reverse and tried again. Again, that sickening, really-not-right-at-all sound. I again put ‘er in park and got out.

This time, I crouched down and looked under the rig. I know what you’re thinking, but no. There was nothing showing under there. Really.

Again, I got back in. Again, I tried slowly backing up. Again, that awful sound. And again, I stopped.

I feel the need here once more to reiterate here just how calm (although no longer peaceful) I felt. I was surprisingly not panicked (I even marveled at myself at the time for this). I was just so very confused…

…Right up until I stopped reaching back and watching behind me, and instead faced fully forward and looked out over the hood in front of me. And there, my clue d’etat, was a thick trail of dog food leading out from under the vehicle to a large pile just barely visible in front of me.


Oh. I get it now. I just backed over and dragged that big thing I purposely put directly behind the vehicle so that I wouldn’t drive off without it.  Oh, fudge.

Taking a deep breath, I once again put the rig in park and got out. This time when I looked underneath, a severely smashed-up dog food bucket was crunched up halfway underneath the length of the vehicle.

Halfway. And stuck. Only I didn’t say “fudge.”

“Well,” I thought.  “I can’t stay here like this.” So I made the choice for Keep Going instead of Go Back. I got back in the rig, put it in reverse, and just cringed as I ground the rest of the way through. I continued on in reverse, with the sweet music of silence, to get much closer to the house as originally intended.

Motionless, in park, I reached over and turned off the key. And got out to survey the damage.

Ohhh, Maty, I killed your food. I’m sorry, Dad, I killed your really great bucket and its amazing lid.


I’m sorry, Maty.

Sighing, I shoveled up as much food as I could salvage without adding driveway gravel to the mix. (That’s a nasty surprise when you’re crunching down unsuspectingly. Just imagine bonus gravel in your Cheerios.)

Then I opened the back doors of the Tahoe, calmly walked to the house to get the kennel, and loaded it in the rig. I did appreciate the much shorter carry, even in the moment. From there I made sure the dogs pottied, then loaded them up and closed the doors. Ready to go meet Dad about an hour down the road, I climbed into the driver’s seat.

But wait, there’s even more.

The vehicle wouldn’t start.

I’m sorry, hubby, I killed the Tahoe.

Dashboard all lit up but no engine turnover.

All lit up but going nowhere. Click-click-click-click….

I must admit, this is where I no longer felt calm. I burst into tears, called Dad to try and catch him before he got too far down the road, and blubbered my way through an explanation — with two sets of furry faces intently focused on and supporting me, one of which was licking my face in comfort.

(Dad was awesome, by the way. His only concern was, “Are you okay?” Which he continued to ask, because apparently my words didn’t match my tone of voice — okay, my sobbing. He’s wonderful.)

I was fine, I just felt so stupid. And defeated. And confused.

Because I was not running around crazy, and I had been authentically relaxed, and I was in a great flow. All of which is truly a reflection of how far I’ve grown in my personal evolution. Yay, Me.

And stupid stuff happened anyway.

The point of all of this, is that even when we make great personal growth and evolution, and even tap into The Flow on a regular basis, we’re not exempt or excused. Stupid stuff still happens.

The difference is, for me, that I don’t get so bent out of shape like I used to. I’m more curious, more observing, more allowing. Less devastated.

And I got to learn that through living this story.

In my Dog Bucket Debacle example, I was curiously detached. Well, right up to the crying, at least. Yet even in arriving at my limit in the situation, it was a release of defeat — whereas it used to come from the tension of winding up tighter and tighter. Yay, Me!

It’s not about preventing things from happening. It’s about navigating them in a different way.

Now I’d love to learn from you: what beliefs did (or do) you carry about what no longer is supposed to happen when you reach a new level of personal understanding? Did you think you would no longer get angry? Sad? Jealous? In debt? Sick? What happened that made you see this differently? What are you still working out? What insight can you share? I would love and appreciate your story in the comments.


It turns out that the Tahoe battery was quietly near death. It would no longer hold a charge when sitting for too long, and having the doors open drained what little life was left. A very good thing to discover before winter, and also a very good thing to find out safely in your own driveway.

Clearly, I wasn’t supposed to be on the road that day. Or perhaps Dad wasn’t.

And clearly, Maty was supposed to stay with us longer! ❤

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