I came face to face with my selfish, self-centered nature this morning. It sobered me quickly. I have a Siberian Husky, have had her for about a year and a half, and mostly she's a good dog, not your typical "pet", in that she won't ever be obedience trained like my Newfy's were, or my Australian Shepherd, but she's cheerful, playful, protective, communicative, social, etc. She just has a mind of her own, and if she feels like it she'll obey your commands, and if not, well, she won't. I stopped taking her on my walks after a year cause I got tired of her pulling my arm all the time. Previous dogs I could let off the leash and they would walk ahead of me a few feet, but they would stay in that relative position, and if not, would come when called, this one won't. I give you this background to make a point about expectations. All my previous animals were obedience trained, well behaved, docile animals.
This husky has been a real source of irritation and testing for me. I have a fenced yard, but she has found every small opening or made her own, and slithered out seemingly at will. Normally she doesn't go anywhere, just waits for us by the carport door to let her in. This drives me nuts cause we never let her in that door, we let her out and in through the slider inside the back yard. Why she has to use that door is beyond me. ;)
Anyway the point here.... yesterday, the neighbors brought her to my door, knocking to let me know she had gotten out yet again, and was out in the street, oblivious to traffic. It was the anger of a parent saying "if you get hurt doing that, I'll kill you!" Makes no sense, it's just anger at not being in control I think.
Well, I flew off the handle, telling my wife that she had till next Thursday to find a home for this animal, (she says she's been looking for over a month now) or I was going to take her to the shelter in a town about 25 miles away when I went for my doctor's appointment. I decided to take to out of town to make it more difficult to go back and "save" her. There are other issues with this animal besides her behavior, part of the challenge has been my daughter's lack of participation in taking care of her.. this was HER dog, she begged and begged, promised everything, and has of course not measured up to those promises. I, being a stickler for promises kept, have told her on more than one occasion, if she didn't get her act together the dog was going. She gets better for a while, then reverts back to benign neglect once again. A pattern I see in all of us by the way, not just my family but the human family. The ability to sustain effort is sorely lacking in us it seems.
Anyway, my exasperation got the better of me and I swore this time the dog was history. I related this info to someone and they wrote back asking if I'd considered any other options besides the Shelter. I had not. I did a google search for Husky Rescue and began reading an article about what to do if you wanted to get rid of your animal. It showed me instantly that I was acting out my selfishness and self-centered nature.
I read about this breed, something I should have done prior to getting her but didn't, and it was enlightening. I discovered of course this dog is just being what she is, a husky. She pulls on my arm while walking because that's what she's breed for, pulling things! She is a curious, friendly animal, an escape artist extrordinare, cause that what she is. She is NOT a watch dog, she is NOT easily dominated, she is NOT your normal "pet". She IS a gregarious, loving, independent animal, a strong pack instinct, and a loyal member of the family, but she is not what I had come to expect in a pet.
So, after doing a little reading this morning, I have mellowed in my position. I thought back a bit to my arrogance prior to having my child, when I was so judgmental about how my friends let their children completely change their lives, I told them that MY child would fit into MY schedule, that MY life wouldn't be changed all that much. LOL How quickly I learned that not only does the child demand that kind of change, but that we do it willingly because we love them and want what's best for them. That doesn't mean my life is on hold for them, but it does mean I must adapt, and so it is with this animal. She is being what she is, how can I fault her for that. My decision is, IF she remains a part of this household, a part of this family, then adapt I must, we must. I don't think this awareness would have been there without the years in program. I see so clearly in this example my selfish self-centered nature, THE cornerstone of my disease.
After reading about this magnificent animal this morning, I released her from her cage and took her outside .... and played with her. I seldom play with her, she is my daughter's dog, and I wanted HER to be the one she bonded to, but being the alpha in this house, it is up to me to acknowledge ALL members of this pack and BE a participant in the social order, not the one who just subjugates everyone. A tyrant is not a member of the group, he is an overseer. In regard this animal, I was a tyrant. I didn't like seeing that in me this morning.
In all this irritation, and emotional upheaval, one great promise of this program stands out, the removal of the temptation to use food as a remedy for life's situations. I did not for one moment desire to eat to alleviate any of these feelings.. THAT continues to amaze me, though it's been happening for me for years now.. I love this program, it teaches me to live life, and not to avoid it. It teaches me that feelings are not to be feared, but to be investigated, explored, embraced, they are what makes me, me!
Have a great day.
love and hugs,
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