Things my dogs have taught me.
Patience – I thought I was patient before I got Millie but it was nothing to the patience I needed when house training a little cute pooping puppy. I really felt I was getting nowhere and then I could see a slow improvement. It didn’t help reading how quickly it took other people to house train their puppy.
The patience of tiny steps actually getting you somewhere is the invaluable lesson I have learnt. I got a rescue that needed much patience. I am an inexperienced dog owner and I didn’t realize how long it takes for a shy and fearful dog who wasn’t socialized to come out of his shell.
Fearlessness – Between the three of us (me and my two dogs) we are filled with fear. I am fearful that I’m doing everything wrong and getting nowhere fast. They have shined a light on how fearful my thinking is. I am out of my depth and treading water but being aware of the fear helps me look at where it is coming from.
Living in the moment – One day when I was starting a walk with my dogs we were set upon by a large white dog with the owners in the distance. I called to the owner to call their dog away as I had a fearful dog and I knew he would be very stressed by a big dog hurtling towards him. They just called out to me that he didn’t bite but I couldn’t be sure mine wouldn’t bite his dog! I picked up Richie but then Millie was screaming with how rough the dog was and I panicked thinking she was being attacked. It was a swirl of dogs and barking and yelping! all of a sudden it was all over and the owner never approached me to apologize for my distress. Off then went without a care in the world. I was shaking from head to foot. I was about to head home when I saw my two shaking it off, looking up at me as if to say ‘which way now’. They had the attitude – That was then, this is now. I continued on my walk but couldn’t shake it off as they had. I was fuming at the people who had the white dog. I drove myself mad and only added to the distress I had initially felt. In Buddhist traditions this is the second arrow. You have had a suffering then you just add to the first arrow by continuing to worry the first suffering you had. I kept telling myself to let it go as the dogs had done and shake it off. This takes a lot of practice and mindfulness to do but by their example of living in the now I am getting better at letting things go.