You Got to Know When to Hold’ em and When to Fold ’em

As a life coach, I work to encourage folks to let go of the past and to remove themselves from relationships and situations that are no longer good.

But sometimes clients need a push to hold tight to what is good in their lives.

When NOT to Let Go

“Your dog is aggressive and you should seriously consider having him put down!”

Hold onto what is good. Balloons are designed to teach small children this.

I’d signed up and paid $100 to consult an animal healer about the aggressive behavior of my dog, Jack.

Jack was six years old and had had a sudden change in personality, transforming from a loving dog to being very aggressive toward strangers. (My theory is that one of the yard men had been physically abusive to Jack on an ongoing basis without my realizing it.) Jack turned fearful and could no longer be trusted around people he did not know. This situation made it difficult to welcome friends and children into my home. I had to keep Jack far away from others on the street when I walked him. Very inconvenient and fear-provoking for me!

That morning I took Jack to meet the animal healer, he enjoyed sniffing around the backyard that was new to him, but the moment the “dog healer” approached him, he lunged at her! The woman understandably freaked out. I put Jack in the car immediately, she collected my fee and gave me the advice to think about euthanizing my dog.

I lived in a state of dark despair for three days afterwards pondering the situation.

That was four years ago and Jack is now ten. I couldn’t do it. Couldn’t put him down. I had to hold on to something that was good in my life.

As Kenny Rogers sang, You got to know when to hold ’em, know when to fold ’em….

Sometimes we have to walk away from people or situations in our lives that become painful, but sometimes, no matter how difficult or inconvenient, we have to hold onto what is good in our lives.

Consider holding on to the following 11 things:

1. Don’t turn your back on a marriage that may be troubled but that could be fixed with some help.

2. Don’t give up on your loved ones even when their behavior drives you mad.

3. Hang on to sweet memories from the past even when the circumstances surrounding them eventually soured.

4. Hold fast your dreams.

5. Stay loyal to your inner voice.

6. Never let go of doing the things that make you happy.

7. Remain faithful to physical and health endeavors you’ve integrated into your life.

My big black dog, Jack

8. Stay true to your creative outlets.

9. Hold on to your meditation or other spiritual practices you’ve established.

10. Hold on to your faith that everything is always as it should be.

11. Never let go of your pets until the time is absolutely right for them to leave.

What in your life that was good have you held onto even though the going was rough? Leave your comment.





  1. Sometimes its just like impossible to see the good lurking behind some of the awful behavior people in life. I try, I do try to search for the “God” aspect of individuals, but am often more unsuccessful than I would like to admit. Thanks for the reminder. Lucky dog you have…

    • Oh, well, Chuck, don’t worry about it. Just BE one who others can easily see the good/God radiating outward. Love!

      • Lois Jordan says:

        I am working on being a better person in every respect. In 2012 I lost my husband of almost 25 years to heart disease. I became immobilized and fell apart. I forgot to stay close to God. Every day, I say Thank you, Thank you, Thank you and remind myself of all the things I have to be grateful for. I really appreciate your messages Heather.

        • Lois! Thanks for the reminder of two important things to keep close: one’s relationship to the Divine and gratitude! Love to you, H.

  2. Thanks for always sending a little love when it’s most needed. You are a bright shining light in my life.

  3. Thank you for this today. I needed to hear this for the sake of my marriage and my dog. It is so much easier to let go then hold on-and this gave me a much needed reminder.

    • Christine! Thank you for the honest share in your comment. Love to you as you find the courage to know when to when to hold on and when to walk away! H.

  4. Great message Heather! I’m glad that you and Jack could find a place of kindness together. I hope that his fearful tendencies have subsided a bit over the years.

    • We’ve learned to introduce strangers into my home. I ask them ahead of time not look at Jack and to stand sideways to him for a couple of minutes. In no time at all, Jack is their friend and he always remembers them that way thereafter. But I am still on red alert during our walks! Thanks for your comment, Wendy. Love, H.

  5. Hi Heather
    I understand the cute story,my boy didnt like other dogs and remained alone till the last 2 years when I rescued a kitty, they became best buddies, his last year was trying with his health but he was happy
    And thats what mattered, he was 16yrs and 3 months when he naturally passed, in my arms., not easy but Gods speed.In 55 years all my life having animals I have never been able to put down any animal, I so admire this and yes I sacraficed vacations and other life situations, just to love and be loved in return…

    • Danielle! I know that about you–that you would and have sacrificed anything for your pet children. Thank you for your comment and for your understanding of my story about Jack! Love, H.

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