Snow that lingers is waiting for more snow.
Kinda like a mistake that lingers without responsibility is waiting for compounding trouble.
Why is it, that as humans, we cannot admit mistake? Why can we not use that mistake to learn from it and show the world that we, the definition of what it means to be human, are humble? What if that deeply felt humbleness is the only thing that leads us all to “better”. A mindful eye opening “better” that allows us to see how the old saying: “If you love something set it free. If it comes back it’s yours. If not, it was never meant to be.”, makes us “better”.
I know that a family pet teaches many life lessons that we as humans may not be able to teach, or unwilling to teach. Empathy, calm, self control, responsibility, dedication, simple enjoyment and inevitable loss. We know that empathy makes us better people. As well meaning and humble parents we make the life long commitment to welcome an animal into our home.
How we make the decision is based completely on who we are. Sometimes we choose a Cocker Spaniel because they are cute and fluffy. Husky’s are so talkative and expressive, a smart Poodle will be easy to train, a Jack Russell Terrier will require less grooming, our Dad had German Shepards when I was young…I’d love to relive my childhood through a new puppy. Then the search begins…online hashtags, google and youtube distract us as we surf to find a local shelter or breeder that can provide us with the pup of our choice at the right price. We contemplate color, age, sex, breed, size, paper vs non-paper, breeder vs rescue. Then we must muddle through the definitions of “puppy mill”, “back yard breeder”, “responsible breeder”, “shelter”, “rescue”, “hoarding”…and once we realise that there is no clear definition, we throw our hands in the air and give up. All we can do is find a well meaning person and hope we are making the right choice.
When we get puppy home, we change our lives to enjoy, love and provide for this helpless creature that destroys our homes, schedules and quiet peace. Our love knows no boundaries as we cuddle, swaddle and kiss our new family members. We take our pictures and display them proudly on facebook waiting (not so patiently) for the world to press that little thumbs up button under our photo. We empty our pockets doing “the right thing” according to vets, breeders, groomers, kennels, pet stores and food companies. By the time we are done wadding through the ripples of advice from “professionals”…we truly have no idea between right and wrong. We end up guessing and hoping for the best, like tossing a tiny, weightless dime into the wind of a tornado and straining into the wind to see what side it lands on. Our exhaustion becomes a daily drum beat that we click our feet into and wait for the cover of midnight to finally rest.
Our relentless beat of raising a teenage dog which just a moment ago was our perfect life changing puppy…we forgo basic training, we simply have no time. Allergies start to appear in the form of itchy feet, forcing us into endless trials of commercial foods until we surrender and start making a raw homemade diet. Our weariness then creeps it’s way into forgoing daily exercise and instead building concrete fences and secluding our “babies” to their new “play ground”.
Our endless pursuit of the perfect life shows itself in our fruitless list of impossible chores. Our pup’s life has gone from one of photos on facebook to a backyard full of toys. The stress of commercial food, loneliness, boredom and directionless pent-up energy displays very physically in our animal companions. They start licking at spots on their legs and feet until the skin raises, hair falls out and a heat radiates from that source making the “spot” an issue that can’t be resolved externally. We use a simple laser light to create a game that keeps our butt’s planted on the couch, and creates a “toy” that can never be caught…changing the composition of their brain until our beloved “babies” chase shadows like mosquitoes chase blood. The disrespect is clear from their little paws as they jump on our clean jeans, bolt through the mud and into our homes at the slightest crack in the front door, bite our children and sign their death warrants. After all, it’s only fair, we have disrespected them by not providing their basic needs.
It is simply because they are bad dogs. Right? What can we do? We can’t throw them away! The money, time and energy put into the first year of their life was without question, extensive. We will not admit defeat. We will not fail! At the expense of the lessons we are teaching our children of never making a mistake. At the expense of our dog’s who are physically suffering. At the expense of the personal emotional torture of saying “I was wrong.”.
The humble mistakes we confess to, might actually lead our dogs to a better life of purpose, a life without obsessions and physical pain. The control we let go of might teach our children that mistakes are made so we can learn. We never stop learning. Imagine if we could lead by example so our children know in their hearts that to hang on to our narrow minded control, simply and profoundly means those mistakes will only compound until we cannot look behind us.
Giving the dog you love a better life than you can give them, makes us better humans.