Monday, July 2, 2012
Thursday, February 16, 2012
"We're never so vulnerable than when we trust someone - but paradoxically, if we cannot trust, neither can we find love or joy”
I still have some and I'm not sure I'll ever not cower at a loud noise. But...like my beloved brother Bear, I digress. Have you given much thought to trust? Does your dog trust you? Do YOU trust your dog?
Mom knows a guy who worked with a guy who wrote a book called, "The Speed of Trust" (by Stephen M.R. Covey). The book contends that when people choose to trust, the speed at which they do is directly proportional to how successful the relationship will be. Surely you didn’t think it worked any differently with us dogs. (and Mom will also say that those dumb horses are the same too). How can I explain it best?
And, initially, mom kept me on a leash. I know she was scared, too; scared that I might run away. But we started to trust each other and I showed her that if she dropped the leash I would come back to her. She showed me that we when I came back to her she would shower me with love—which is what I really wanted most. I saw that Ditto and Bear trusted mom. And so I tried too. And as the days turned to weeks, I graduated from a short leash to a long leash. In turn, I played more and learned to always "check in" with mom. And, eventually I got to be off leash like Bear and Ditto. The faster we trusted the better it was.
It's a slow process you know. Repitition. Consistency. Patience. PATIENCE. I try to tell mom that all the time. Trust is not like one of Bear's gifts which can be given and received instantly. No, trust is a slow process but like the book says, the faster you learn to trust, and allow others to trust you, the richer your relationship will be. I know you love your dogs and they love you and you both know love and joy, but do you trust each other? Have you experienced the joy that becomes so much greater? The love so much deeper?
It's hard to trust. It's scary. How do I know you won’t hurt me? How do you know I will behave? Sheesh, ask Mom about Chaudy. You have to trust yourself first, but then you have to have faith. (Remember Bear’s blog about Good Things?). Us dogs usually come pre-programmed for trust. It's not until we're hurt that we start to fear. But even we can learn to trust again. It is possible. It's harder for you to trust us. But give trust a spin. Build up some speed. You'll LOVE the ride. I promise.
Thanks for reading. It’s been awhile, and I’m sorry.
I wish happiness (and trust) to REIGN upon you today.
Tuesday, November 1, 2011
Mom’s been reading again. Ruh roh, never a good thing. That means she’s been talkin’ to us more and THAT is always scary. The book du jour is “HOWL, A Collection of the Best Contemporary Dog Wit”. It is a follow up to “Dog is my Co-Pilot” and created by the editors of The Bark magazine. The book is a collection of essays. And the last one on the last page was entitled, “Dog is My Co-Dependent” (And your point?). Mom has read it a few times: many years ago when it was first brought to her attention, and now just recently. The thesis of that essay can be summed up in one of my mom’s most favorite sayings, “the road to hell is paved with good intentions”.
The author submits that, while you humans think you know what’s best for a dog, our absolute freedom is the sacrifice we make to be with you humans. The author is trying to say that a warm bed and two good dishes of food and a daily romp in the woods or a dog park is what YOU humans think is a good home, but really WE would rather be running free and not tied to anything or anyone. She contends that the day she brought her pup in from the barn, where he could run free all day long, was the day she changed his life for the worse. She thinks that by your good intentions, you have created a less than ideal situation for us dogs.
I’m not interested in getting into a growling match over this. However, I did run free on the streets for over a year, and I can tell you that I will take my mom and dad’s bed, warm wholesome food, and an hour run in the woods far more than having “freedom.” Sure, I’d rather drink out of a mud puddle, but my previous life of “freedom”? Nope, not for me. I recognize the author implies that I’d have a good home to come back to, but being out on the streets, woods, whatever all day is what I would prefer. Um, sorry, no.
However, the reason I’m dictating this subject today is more out of a sub-discussion or subplot within the essay. It got me n’ mom talking ‘bout what IS a good home. Especially since Wally-Flower just went to his FOREVER home. Who decides what makes a good home and what doesn’t? Of course, MY home is perfect. I’m the Princess. I’m in charge of boys. I boss my mom around, yet I let her think she’s in charge. I get good food, albeit boring sometimes. And as Bear said in his “Last Will”, I learned early on that discipline was for my health and safety. I got it pretty good. And so do our fosters. So when it’s time for the fosters to go to their forever home, who is to say they’re going to a greater or lesser home? Wally is in a different home now with different rules and different routines. It is not like our home. But is it bad?
Who says that a day at a children’s hospital being loved on and receiving the “laying of the hands” is no better or worse than a day chasing deers in the woods? Who says that working a sheep farm and keeping them sheeps in line, but coming in at night to get comfy and eat a good dinner is any worse or any better? How ‘bout the home that has a large fenced in yard? The dog that lives there might not ever get into the woods to run, but there is the ability to play and have fun is there not? Or how ‘bout the family with bunches of kids where the dog isn’t the center of the universe but is petted while TV is being watched and fed when dinner is being made and allowed to be part of the pack? Is that all that bad compared to being on the streets fending for food? Or, what about having parents that work and leave us alone all day. Is that a bad home just because they can’t go for a walk in the middle of the afternoon? Some people might say yes, but I feel differently.
Wanna know a secret? We’re pretty malleable, us dogs. Our number one priority? LOVE. I know that flies in the face of Caesar Milan who says, “Discipline, Exercise, Love”. Yup, some of us need much more exercise than others. And some of us need a more rigid routine for discipline. But if my momma was homeless and we had to live on the streets together, I’d still be with her. I’d still love her. We might get dirty (oh my skirt!) and cold and hungry, but momma would be with me and it would be ok. Sacrifice freedom for a good home and loving parents? Who said anything about sacrifice? We’re pretty accepting and pretty flexible when it comes to things YOU think are important. On the surface you might think one home is better than the other. But the best home is where you’re part of the pack. And you belong. And you’re loved. That’s what we were originally bred for, right? Companionship and protection?
So, who decides what is good and what is bad? I have such little control in my life and I accept that. As long as I have someone to love me and be kind to me, in the end, that’s all I really need, isn’t it?
I wish happiness to reign upon you today. Thanks for reading everybody….
Thursday, August 25, 2011
My momma’s momma had the following poem on her bulletin board. It’s now on my momma’s board:
Too Slow for those who Wait
Too Swift for those who Fear
Too Long for those who Grieve
Too Short for those who Rejoice
But for those who Love
Time is eternity.
It’s a lovely poem and oh, so true. I had mom look on the innerwebs for topics on “time”. There are so many songs, so many poems, and so many quotes. Humans. You are obsessed with time. The right time. The wrong time. Too much time. Not enough time. Good time. Bad time. Jeepers, you average 70+ years to your lives. Us dogs? 15 if we’re really lucky. Don’t you think WE should be a bit more worried about time than you?
So what is making me think about time today? Well, it’s Wally Wallflower. Wanna know Wally’s story? Wally was pulled from a pound not too far from where we got Gracie/Company. There wasn’t a lot of “time” left for him. So after a brief stint in a boarding facility, Wally has come to stay with us. He’s really not a bad guy. His name Wally-flower came honestly. I mean, sheesh, he’s been here almost two weeks and I haven’t had to beat him up. Ah, but I digress….. Do you want to know why Wally was at the pound to begin with? His “family” (and I use that loosely), his humans, said, “We don’t have TIME for him anymore”. I still can’t get my paws around it.
We share the same 24 hours. In 24 hours his humans couldn’t find time to take care of him? To feed him? To brush him? To walk him? To LOVE him? Let’s do some basic math. Ok, work. You gotta work (some of us dogs gotta work, too). It buys “skibs”. Let’s say his humans had to work. 12 hours is being very liberal. You have to sleep. 8 hours—my momma wishes. That still leaves 4 hours. You don’t have 30 minutes in that 4 hours for a walk? 5 minutes to scoop kibble in a dish and set it on the ground? Hey, you’re sitting there watching the big loud talking screen. Skritch a guy’s ears while you watch “The Bachelor (*whine*)”. 15 minutes. That’s less than an hour. Still too busy? Ya cook dinner right? Can’t we be part of the family while dinner is being fixed and served? We like being with the pack. Gotta mow the lawn in the summer? Let us help. We’re happy to walk or run alongside you. Gotta run errands? Unless it’s beastly hot out, we’d love to come with. Then we could stop at a dog park for 20 minutes!
I know there are circumstances that cause life to change. Remember Gus? His human’s situation changed and they realized they didn’t have time either to give Gus the life he deserves. They may not have had TIME for him, but they still cared for him. He was groomed. He was vetted. He was fed. He was kept inside. They made appropriate arrangements for him to be in a good home. Nope, Wally was left outside most likely. Wally hadn’t been to the doctor. Wally’s furs were unkempt. They dumped Wally at a pound. “We don’t have time for him”. Wally had time for them…..
I’m sure you’re thinking “but I can’t let my pooch be with me while I mow. She’ll misbehave”. Want to know a secret? The more TIME you spend with your pup, the better they’ll be. How about a show of paws as to who has human children? When they were 2 years old did they understand all the rules? Could you leave them alone? Did they do exactly as you expected? Well of course not. I’m sure some of you out there think that your 21 year olds are still not trained well enough! But my point is that the more TIME you give your dog the better your dog will be.
“For those who love, time is eternity…” We dogs give you all of our time. All of it. Can you not give us just a fraction of yours? We’ll both be better for it.
Thanks for reading everyone. I wish time and happiness to reign on you today!
Tuesday, August 2, 2011
Summer. You gotta be kidding me, right? Please tell me what in the world about this weather would inspire someone to think of a dog? This isn’t our weather. At least in our house, where activity is the rule and not the exception, this kind of weather stinks. How about the dog days of fall? Now there is some weather I can sink my teeth into…uh, strike that. Not allowed to sink our teeth into much. We get in trouble for that…. Ah, here I go channeling Bear again….
Bear dog used to talk about the weather. “There is no such thing as bad weather, only different kinds of good weather”. Well, with all due respect to Bear and John Ruskin, in our house we beg to differ. We beg for other things, too, like braunschweiger, a piece of steak, a cookie, but today we’re begging to differ on his feelings toward weather. It’s funny, but Bear Dog, my beloved brother, always wanted to blog about weather. It was on his to-do list but, sadly, he never got around to it. Bear was one of those guys that liked all the weather. He’d be happy to go out in the rain, in the snow, in the wind, the storms, and the heat. He always told me you can make your own fun no matter the weather. And he wanted to make fun of people who whined about the weather.
Well, y’know, I’m quite the trooper, but I guess Bear would have been making fun of me. Because, let me tell you where the line is drawn. 90 degrees with 70+% humidity. Yup. The line got drawn there. I drew it! YOU go out for a walk in a fur coat. Dare ya. Well, no, don’t….we’re not too fond of the thought that you’d be wearing someone else’s skin. But you get my drift. We’ve gone for walks in 10 below weather. Sure, our toes get cold, and we limp a little at first, but when we get running, and momma sure gets us running, we warm up. But on a day like today, we just can’t cool down. Sure we could immerse ourselves in a warm mud puddle. But sometimes, even that doesn’t work.
A friend on mom’s Facebook page (yeah, she’s allowed friends…it’s not ALL about me) asked an interesting question: “Can you get cabin fever in the summer”. We submit that you CAN. Today we couldn’t go out much. We were out in the morning (and yes, we went for a walk the previous morning) but by noon our trips were brief and even Chaudy wanted to come in. It’s no fun outside getting bit by bugs and not being able to play.
Then there is our silly mom. She’s fun to watch, actually. She takes us outside. We hunker down in the cool shade or under the bushes and WATCH her work hard in the sun. I just don’t get it. So what that the flower gardens and vegetable gardens are full of grasses and weeds? Didn’t I once see a sign that said, “A weed is but a flower unloved”. So love it and forget about it. But nooooo, mom has to look super silly in the garden in 100 degree heat. Jeez, if she’s gonna stand out there in the heat why isn’t she taking us for a walk? *whine* But I digress….again.
They say weather makes for good conversation. Look at how many postings on my Facebook page and others there are about heat, rain, storms. And I’ll bet in the middle of January we’ll find postings about cold, snow, wind. *howl* How funny is that?! But you humans just love talkin’ about the weather. You have whole TV channels dedicated to the weather. Conversations start, continue, and end with and about the weather. Decisions on living are made because of the weather. Hmmm….a little OCD are we? Me n’ my knights of the Round Bowl? Well even though I started this blog about not liking all the weather, the fact is we can’t control it so we do our best to live with it. We can control so little in our lives. And we surely know we can’t control the weather. We accept that a “dog day afternoon” is perfect for a nap. We don’t care about the weeds—heck it’s more grass for us to nibble on. And Bear’s not here anymore so we could care less if the green beans survive. We might be a bit smarter than you humans. We just get a good run in, chew a good bone, and take a long summer’s nap. Tomorrow WILL be a good day, too. Rain or shine. Hot or cold. And there WILL be weather of some sort or fashion. Now if you want to talk ‘bout ‘dopting a dog or other more pertinent issues let me know. I LOVE talking about that kind of thing. The weather? Well, just don’t go naming it after me….*ARWOOOO*
Hope you survive the heat. And thanks for reading everybody. I grant cooler weather and happiness to Reign on your parade!
Tuesday, June 14, 2011
...Than never to have loved at all? I know you’ve seen these words before. But Mom met a guy on Sunday who just recently lost his very first dog. She was 15. And an Aussie. His heart, as you can imagine, was crushed. Yet, he’s ready, now, to fill his heart again (yes, it’s healing, they always do) and is looking for another Aussie. I begged Mom to leave Chaudy, but no such luck (ooh, boy, I’m really channeling Bear now with this digression stuff. Sorry.).
This man knew that his heart would soon heal and it would be empty and he needed to love again. Which, of course, caused me ‘n Mom (and Ditto) to recall one of Bear’s earliest blogs; one that he did even prior to starting his official blog. He did it on his Facebook page, under "notes". We talked about it and agreed that even a year later, we felt it bore repeating. So please indulge me while I re-post one of Bear’s more thought provoking blogs…..
From June 5, 2010:
Would you all mind if I deviate from my fun posts and talk about something serious? Normally I like entertaining topics—things that are happening and how much fun I’m having again. But events of late, conversations of late, have made my mom and I want to address a subject that we, ourselves, have talked and thought about a great deal. First off, however, please know this is not addressed to, or at, anyone in specific, but it’s something we have felt very strongly about for a long time.
You know the expression, “it is better to have loved and lost than never loved at all”? Well we’d like to amend that a bit. We feel it should be, “it is better to have loved and lost and LOVED AGAIN than have only loved once or never at all”. What we are referring to is those out there that have made a conscious decision to not get another pet (dog, cat, horse, whatever) because they cannot bear the pain associated with loss again. Because they couldn’t have their hearts broken again. Because they will never have another soul mate. Because there could never be another “Fifi” or “Rex”. Well, we find that unconscionable.
My late brother, Dakota, told us a story about our mom. He was the next dog after her beloved Beasley. Dakota came to her just 2 months after Beasley crossed “the bridge”. He knew he could never measure up to Beasley. He knew he would never be her soul mate. But he didn’t care. He told me she cried every day into his fur for over 2 years, but he was ok with that. He loved her so unconditionally for saving HIS life that he wanted to save hers. And he did. And he knew she loved him. He knew he had almost all of her heart and he was ok with that, too. He told us that when “her soul mate” died, part of her heart was sectioned off just for that dog, but Dakota knew that as momma’s heart healed it grew bigger so that he could fit in just fine. And he knew that when the time came for him to leave us, her heart would have a space just for him and as it healed it would grow bigger again. And he was right.
Dakota, my mom’s first Aussie, left us 2 years ago. But sure enough, along came Sophie and her heart got bigger.
As most of you know, by God’s Grace, a fantastic young surgeon and her amazing staff, the benefits of modern medicine, and my sheer will to live, I survived my attack. No one is happier than my mom, my dad, and me. But had I not made it, I know my family would have been incredibly sad and incredibly despondent; but I also know that with time I would be emblazoned on their hearts, their hearts would have healed, and grown bigger, and another dog would be there, in time, to continue in their lives. He would be different than me. I’m different than Dakota. Dakota was different than Beasley or Missy or Lucy or Ditto or Sophie. But that’s ok. That’s the way it’s supposed to be.
Life is not fair. Life is not easy. For humans or us companion animals. But death, grieving, and pain is a part of life. From pain you humans grow. Sadly, we pets are on this earth for only 15 years or so. But look at what we can teach you. And we can ease your pain. How selfish, then, it is to deny us a chance at life, let alone happiness, because you humans cannot bear a day, a week, a month, or a year of pain. How selfish that you are willing to sacrifice years of unconditional love, not to mention condemn many of us to certain death, because you cannot stand to hurt again? So many of us are in second, or more, homes. We have suffered. We know pain and anguish, but we overcome it and are willing to give unconditional love and acceptance to those that save us. Why not return the favor?
Thanks for reading my post everybody. Your comments are welcome.
Postscript: I know that many of you commented on this original post. And feel free to do so again. How ironic, or is it prophetic, for him to write this. As you know, we did lose Bear. And our hearts were shattered. But we’re already loving again (well maybe Mom is…I can’t bear the imp) and there will be more. This is one time I want to be the Ruler of the World. To make everyone love again…..
Thanks for indulging me. And I grant happiness, and love, to reign on you today.
Monday, May 23, 2011
You know the rest….Set them free, etc. Well, with all due respect to Richard Bach, I’ll bet he was never involved in rescue or fostering, was he?
Do you remember Bear talking about the difficulty of fostering ? More often than not we take in dogs that have some serious issues and we show them the way and then we “set them free”. We give them away so that, in fact, they can continue to grow. That happened with me, you know. My beloved foster mom and dad made the painful decision to give me to my forever mom and dad. They knew that I would flourish by having more attention than they could give me. Little did they know how well I would flourish. Bet they had no idea I would rise to the level of Princess…*woohooo* (ooh, I’ve picked up on my brother’s propensity to digress….oops).
Back to the pain of “letting go”. No, our fosters aren’t coming back. They may or may not have “meant to be” ours, but they don’t come back. Mostly we rejoice: whether it’s a “woohoo” that the foster is gone (if he pulls on my furs one more time…..), or in some cases like Gracie/Company, that our foster has found the perfect home (I wish I had an 8 year old girl of my very own). But sometimes, there are tears. Tears of happiness that our friend has found not only a new home but a new meaning to life, and tears of sadness for losing someone we’ve come to love.
Do you also remember reading Bear’s Last Will? Where he discusses courage and strength? Courage to love and Strength to let go. Well, his gifts were tested recently in two very different ways. About a month ago we brought in a foster who was an owner relinquish. He was not hurt. He was not abused. It was clear he was loved very much. But the owner chose to let him go because their family did not have the ability anymore to provide him the life an Aussie needs. He wasn’t neglected or underfed or mistreated. No, rather they realized their current life didn’t allow for him to have a life. Between work and school and other circumstances, their beloved Aussie was not being allowed to live to his potential. He was loved so much that they made the excruciating decision to let him go. Talk about courage. And strength. And tears. Thankfully, they chose rescue so that we could find the right home for him. And flourishing? Yup, he is. If you love someone, set them free…..
On Friday Momma set Andy free. Andy was the male version of Gracie. Gorgeous. Fearful. Hungry. Sick. Andy was a day away from euthanasia when he was pulled from the county pound. He’d been yelled at for going to the bathroom. He’d been abused. He was covered in tick bites. We think he was dumped because car rides scared him, and made him sick. And he was frightened of men. Well… all but one.
Andy fell in love. With his new forever Dad. We took Andy over to meet his potential forever home. Actually, it was that imp Chaudy that was “under review”. Chaudy did what he was supposed to do. Play with the girl dog there. But Andy…well he cozied right up to the man of the house and never left his side. Hmmmm. What did Andy know that we didn’t? He went back the next day. Again, nuzzled up to the man and was tolerant of, but not thrilled with, the potential sister. And we all thought Andy didn’t like men…..
Andy came back home with us which was fine, because he’s a cool dude and we all liked him. Then something remarkable happened. In the three weeks since Andy visited this man, he changed. He became less shy. He was no longer scared of the car. He started to initiate play. He became more confident. He welcomed visitors—women AND men. He accepted discipline, but really, he no longer needed it (sure wish Chaudy got that drill). Dad fell hard (let's give 'em Chauderhead and keep Andy), I fell harder (he did make a nice footman). Mom fell hardest (can you spell Velcro?). Even Ditto sorta liked him. Chaudy? Well Chaudy likes everyone.
So Friday Andy went for a slumber party. He played with his new sister. He charmed his way to his new mom and extended family. And he never left the side of his new dad if he could avoid it. Andy has a person of his own now. Someone he can watch over. Someone he can call his own. Andy won’t be back. Tears? Yes. Of both happiness and sadness. Destiny? I don’t know. Kinda seems like it, but you decide.
Courage to love. Strength to let go. Always knowing they won’t “come back”.
Thanks for reading everyone. And I grant happiness to reign upon you today.