Poseidons Story

Time for a story you probably won't read.

It's too long. Too personal. Too sad. Too happy.

It involves a boy. A wolf. A man who cried.

I don't expect many people to read this. I wrote it more for myself than anything else.

But it feels important to share for some reason. It taught me some life changing lessons about connection, how to control my thoughts, my moral code, and even money.

Maybe it'll do the same for you...

Here it goes.

Modern society is broken in more ways than I can list. So was every society.

But there's a new phenomenon in ours that didn't plague societies of the past. At least not on the mass scale it hits us present day.

It's a pandemic. It's rarely acknowledged. You may be suffering from it without realizing it.

It's called loneliness.

We evolved in tribes. We lived, ate, and slept within meters of most of the people we knew.

Yet now we have high rises, condos, and studio apartments.

We're surrounded by people but we live alone. And that tends to leave us feeling alone.

Compound that with "working from home in your underwear" and you've got a primo cocktail for loneliness. We're more "connected" than ever before but more alone than we've ever felt.

For some people the loneliness is crippling. For others, like myself, it manifests as feeling a little "off" and you "just don't know why."

Well I decided to combat this with something called a Puppy.

I thought it through for quite some time and decided to get a breed that matched my personality....

A husky. Not because I wear husky pants. But because they're about as energetic a dog as you can find.

They're stubborn. Smart. Insane without exercise. Loyal. And cuter than a toddler riding a baby unicorn.

Basically they're like me. Maybe minus the smart and cute parts.

Enter Poseidon. A two and a half pound mini wolf with a raccoon mask.

Enter overplayed cliche...

I didn't choose him. He chose me. It's corny but it's true. There were six puppies available. I didn't even look at the other ones. He walked up to me the second I approached the puppies…my heart melted instantly.

I took him home and fell more in love by the second.

A day went by and he hadn't really eaten anything. I searched the interwebz and saw that was natural for a puppy. But then another couple days went by and he barely ate.

I took him to the vet and they thought he had a parasite in his stomach. They gave me some meds, a syringe to feed him, and sent me on my way.

I gave him the meds. Syringe fed him that night and then went to sleep.

I heard him crying in the middle of the night so I brought him to bed. The crying stopped when I pet him. We fell asleep.

A few hours later I woke up to his cries. My petting did nothing to help him. The crying was not "puppy whimpering." It was the type of crying that turned your skin inside out. I knew something was wrong.

I took him downstairs and tried to set him on the ground to pee. He couldn't even stand on his feet. I tried again. He fell immediately.

I'm not a traditionally emotional man, and I'll say there's not much more heartbreaking than watching a puppy who can't stand up.

I called the vet and she could hear his screams over the phone.

She said "is that him?" I told her yes.

She asked if I could bring him in. I live about 400 yards from the vet so I picked him and sprinted there. It's amazing how long 400 yards can feel when you're wondering if your new best friend is going to die in your arms.

They took him in and informed that he needed a blood transfusion. That was all they really said.

I left and ran some errands. I figured he would be ok so I wasn't too worked up about it.

A couple hours later I got a call...

"Good news and bad news. The blood transfusion worked. I'd say his chance of survival has gone from 20% to maybe 50%.

But he's gonna have to go the ICU overnight to have a chance."

I had no idea he was that critical in the first place. And I'm glad I didn't.

They said to come get him and take him to the ICU. Thankfully I had a friend with me and he came along.

Now lemme be clear, I'm not the type of guy who ever thought he'd care that much about an animal. I was wrong.

When I showed up they told me the situation. I couldn't help it, I broke down crying. All I could think was "What did I do wrong? He was my responsibility and I let him down."

They assured me it was nothing I did. But it's hard not to feel responsible in a situation like that.

When they brought him out Poseidon was fully wrapped in a blanket. He couldn't open his eyes. He was whimpering and barely alive.

My friend drove us 25 minutes to ICU while I held him in my arms, hoping he would make it through the drive.

When we got to the ICU the first thing I heard was one of the front desk women talking on the phone saying "would you like to come pick up his ashes?"

That's not what you want to hear when you're holding a barely-alive puppy.

They took him in and walked me through what they were going to do.

Tests. Tests. More tests. Hopefully treatment. He was anemic and hypoglycemic but they didn't know why.

They informed that it wasn't going to be cheap. And there was no guarantee of survival...but they would do their best.

I told them I didn't care about cost. Just do whatever you can do.

That night I drank myself into a numb state.

The next morning I went to see him. He had IVs in him. He was shaved and weak. But he could stand up. Barely.

Over the next few days they continued to run tests and found nothing.

They couldn't figure out the cause of the problems and they couldn't get his results to improve. But he was stable enough to survive on IV fluids and syringe feeding.

One on of the visits a couple days later it looked like he had grown. Something I thought was a good thing. It turned out he had edema and his brain was swollen.

I felt powerless. Like I had no control over the situation. A feeling I had spent 10 years trying to never feel again.

During those couple days something happened that hadn't happened in about 5 years.

I got violently ill. I spent the night on the bathroom floor in between bouts of expelling everything inside my body. I thought it was food poisoning or a bug.

I couldn't admit to myself that my emotions about a dog were causing a physical response like this.

I wasn't myself. I couldn't focus.

The same thought kept coming through:

What if I lose him? People already know I have him. He's the mascot of my company. He's been in videos. What will I say? How many times will I have to tell people my puppy died a week after I got him?

How will I deal with it?

Then I had a realization. I was walking and it quite literally stopped me my tracks.

It's something I learned after reflecting on a career of underperforming at my sport:

Winners don't entertain the thought of losing. Especially when they're down.

They don't think "What will I do if I lose? What will I say to my friends, my parents, my coaches?

How will it feel if I lose?"

Yet those were the main thoughts I had on the tennis court.

Winners think "How am I going to come back? And how will I feel when I win?"

I realized it was the same with Poseidon.

Why entertain the thought of losing him? It's not going the make the loss any easier to handle if it happens. So focus on him getting home and what you're going to do when he's back safe and healthy.

So that's what I did. I shut off the bulls*** "what ifs" and focused on how great it would be when I got him back and how much deeper the connection would be because of the hardship.

To say it made a huge difference would be like saying the Pope is sort of Catholic.

Yet throughout this time the pain in my abdomen kept going.

And then on day 5 I got an email. It contained a 30 second video of Poseidon eating shredded chicken.

I got it while I was in public and it still brought a tear to my eye. Maybe a few tears.

It didn't mean he was out of the woods. But to me it was the turning point.

Suddenly the pain in my abdomen went away. It was like I had been pinned under a sumo wrestler, someone told him there was a buffet, and he leapt off of me in search of endless food.

Turns out your emotions can manifest themselves in a deeply physical way. Something I knew and thought I understood, but had never truly experienced until that point.

Two days later I got the green light to take him home.

They were clear with about where he was physically.

There was still no guarantee he would make it. They still didn't know the cause of the problem.  But at that point there was nothing they could do that I couldn't do.

He still had edema and his belly was swollen with fluid to the point where he couldn't stand on his own.

When he finally got home it was mixed emotions. I was ecstatic to have him back. But looking at a puppy that weighed three pounds, one pound of it fluid build up, that couldn't move was a little depressing.

But I had learned my lesson. I wouldn't entertain those bulls*** thoughts.

And then I did something I never do.

I Cooked.

I made boiled chicken and I microwaved wet food.

Every four hours, six times a day, I fed him by hand. Either boiled chicken or wet food through a syringe. I forced medication down his throat twice a day.

And magically, about 36 hours later, I woke up next to a puppy that actually looked like a puppy.

Since then he's bit my Achilles, caused my dad to bleed, untied my shoes, made it impossible to sleep, barked while I was filming, bitten my nipple in my sleep, and pooped in damn near every part of my apartment.

And he still makes me smile almost every time I look at him.

Now this story is just about over, I promise. But here’s the part I haven’t talked about yet…


The blood transfusion was a bit over $1,000.

I’d call my dad and he’d ask how much it was costing me. A few days in it was up to a few thousand bucks.

My dad asked "at what point will you stop? When is it too much money?"

My answer was instant and honest: "I’m not going to stop. It’s not about the money. It’s the principle. I’m not going to let him die because of greed."

So this may sound like I’m just trying to talk about how much money I make or brag or something like that. It’s not.

The reality was I could afford it, therefore I couldn’t let Poseidon die simply because I was greedy. The amount wasn’t going to put me on the street and honestly it wouldn’t make that much of a dent.

I refused to be the kind of person who allowed money to dictate my actions.

Well, the total bill ended up at around $10,000.

$10,000 in a week that I did NOT expect to spend.

And here’s the reason I’m telling this part of the story…

I worked hard to learn a skill. That skill was writing. And I never would have thought that skill would allow me to save Poseidon’s life. But that was the reality. I could make it back quickly because I worked hard to create financial freedom for myself.

And I made sure to keep an abundant mindset during the whole journey.

Well guess what? I made more money over the following 3 months since then than I ever had in my life. (And had the opportunity to provide orphans with clean water.)

I believe it happened because I stayed abundant and I stuck to my core beliefs.

That's the thing about money. A lot of people view as materialistic. Something to buy fancy things or crazy experiences. Something to show off or make you feel safe.

But it's deeper than that. Money is a tool. You never know what that tool is going to do for you...or someone else.

What I do know is this...

If I didn't have money...Poseidon would be dead.

Which is why I want to share one final thing with you...

There’s an old Native American tale. It’s short…

"One evening, an elderly Cherokee brave told his grandson about a battle that goes on inside people. He said, ‘My son, the battle is between two wolves inside us all.

One is evil. It is anger, envy, jealousy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego.

The other wolf is good. It is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion and faith.’

The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked, ‘Grandpa, which wolf wins?’

The old Cherokee simply replied, ‘The one that you feed.’"

While Poseidon was in the ICU I made a choice…

WHEN he made it home I would get a tattoo that reminded two things:

  1. The Wolf you Feed is a CHOICE that you make every second of your life. And it’s a whole lot better if you Feed the Good Wolf a LOT more than the Evil Wolf.
  1. Feed your f***ing puppy.

So I made it permanent and etched it on my forearm so I’m constantly reminded of the choice I have.

Every scrap you Feed the Evil Wolf adds up. It weakens you over time.

Every time you hear the bulls*** in your mind, you have a choice to listen, or tell it to shut up.

I’ve chosen the latter.

What will you choose?

Thanks for reading,


Ian "grateful he’s alive" Stanley