What do you do when Instinct Takes Over?

As I looked through photos this morning for inspiration, I remembered this one and the context and thought I would share it with you.

This is my office and my dog, Teddy. The other dog is Savannah. I cropped out the client who was with me that day but he is part of the story too.

I was working writing a resume for my client who was targeting a local fire department. We were just getting started collecting stories when I looked out on the deck behind him and there was Savannah. My deck is no where near the street so I figured the dog was probably lost.

Instinct took over and I invited the dog in so I could figure out what to do next. Teddy loves other dogs so I knew that was a safe decision.

My client’s instincts, as a firefighter with 20 years of experience, also took over and he helped me get the phone number off the tag so I could call the owner. I left a voice mail telling the owner that I had Savannah (name was on the tag) and told them to call me and where I lived.

Just as I was wondering what to do next, a young girl called and with a trembling voice, thanked me and asked for directions. She soon arrived to pick up Savannah and explained how she had been so scared. Savannah is 8 years old but still runs if she gets a chance.

I wrote the client’s resume, probing for more stories of what he was proud of as a firefighter, and when it was complete, then he too left. I’m sure he’ll remember the visit as a bit unusual but what can you do when instinct takes over?

I had options that day.

I could have ignored Savannah and she would have wandered off. After all, I was busy with a client and I should really focus on what I do and not get distracted. But you never know what could have happened. Savannah could have stayed lost because maybe no one would have tried to help her. She was a pretty big dog and some people are afraid of big dogs. Or worse, what if she got hit by a car? As Teddy’s owner, I know how heart-wrenching it is to lose a dog. So I did respond to my instincts.

You have options every day too.

Some people are wired instinctively to help others. My client was one of those. As a firefighter, it is pretty in character to have a helping personality. Nurses and other health professionals tend to have helping or rescuing personalities too. I really do think the world can be a better place if we act on those helping tendencies and let our instincts drive us to act.

What do you think?


  1. Shahrzad Arasteh on July 22, 2010 at 9:36 pm


    I love the post!! Thank you for sharing it and for inviting us to notice and act on opportunities to make a positive difference in the lives of others.

    (P.S. You know I love the picture of Teddy and Savannah!)

    • Julie Walraven on July 23, 2010 at 4:36 am

      Thank you Shahrzad! I do know dog pictures make you happy! Hope life is treating you well and you are moving forward on your goals.

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