See the dog, not the story. This is a quote from one of your colleagues, a blog reader who sent this in as a comment about dogs in rescue. (And who I should credit, but because I’m in a time crisis, I can’t right now, but THANKS! and I will find your name when I can get more time.). I was reminded of the value of that saying by Kathy Sdao at Clicker Expo last weekend. She did a presentation on being a truly good observer of your dog, something we all know the value of, but she made it special for me by suggesting that we toss away our ‘stories’ about our dogs, and work with who we have. I truly took that to heart. I have a story about Willie, about how he was such a mess when he was young, about how he had projectile diarrhea and was pathologically afraid of other dogs and so sound sensitive I couldn’t socialize him, etc etc etc. There’s value in knowing that history, and in acknowledging how far we have come together.
But there is also value in being able to let it go, to look at who is standing or sitting right in front of you, right now. Not the dog as a container of all he or she has been, but simply who he or she is now. I’ve been doing that with Willie these last few days, and I can’t report any clear and obvious change in our relationship, but it does feel like there is a subtle shift in my perception of him. It’s almost as though I feel a little bit lighter, in some vague, hard to describe kind of way. I think I have to mull on this a few more days to be able to articulate what I’m feeling.
And so, as I so often do, I’m reaching out to you to ask what you think of this, what “looking at the dog, not the story” might do for you. I’ll be off line quite a bit in the next 4 days, spending time with family during a difficult time, but will check when I can, and am extremely interested in what you have to say. I suspect many readers will be interested as well . . .
MEANWHILE, back on the farm: Scrambled all last night to find a house sitter so that Jim and I could leave town. I have 5 possibles on a list and all five are out of town. What are the odds? But at the last minute I found a wonderful couple to sit, and I’m simplifying things for them by bringing Willie with us. He’ll spend a lot of time in the crate in the car, no way around it. Last I checked most hospitals aren’t going to welcome him into their ICU. Another dear friend will check on Rosebud. She is the ewe due to lamb on Friday, that is if Rosebud has read the chapters on when she should deliver.
Here’s a photo, that I snapped in New York with one of those throw away cameras (having forgotten my own) on the edge of Central Park. [And here was a fun surprise: I knew lots of people in NY had dogs, but dogs were EVERYWHERE!]. But here’s a shot of one of the horse drawn carts, during a quiet moment on a sunny day.