How often do you treat yourself and other beings with dignity and respect?
As I approached my third year with Steve and Hoppi, I reflected one day while stretched out in the back yard watching another one of those pesky twerking squirrels dance across the fence top. They are obnoxious.
Steve and I had navigated puppy obedience class.
We got through the fleshy cauliflower that had grown all over my lips and mouth.
I played regularly at the little yellow building.
Hoppi was healthy.
Steve and I spent quality time together each day.
I had an office fluff pillow.
Sunrise walks on the beach, afternoon romps in the park, and biscuits!
Check! Check! Check!
At times I was a bit bored but that’s a dog’s life. I learned to deal with it. But Steve would surprise me every so often. Such as one late afternoon when we hopped into the car and drove toward town.
“Roxie,” Steve said as we drove over the bridge. “Tonight, we start Canine Good Citizen Class. The nice lady will train us to be a pet therapy team.”
I tilted my head from the back seat and looked toward him. Other than my name, nothing else made sense. So, I looked at the water flowing beneath us. Whatever and wherever we go, I trust Steve.
“Eventually, we will be able to visit people in hospitals, schools, and other places. People won’t much care about me, but they will be excited to see you. You and I have a lot of work to do. I know you can do it. And, of course, there will be biscuits in it for you, too.”
Biscuits! He got my attention. Feed me and I will come.
Well, for several weeks, Steve and I traveled across the bridge to a big lot without cars. There were other dogs. Mostly what people called Doodle dogs. I did not look like them. We couldn’t play like I did with my pup friends. This was all business.
Each night we would watch one dog do something, and then Steve and I would do it. Sometimes the nice lady upfront, Stacy, made us do it three or four times. We both had to really concentrate.
On what ended up being the last night, we went to the big lot without cars. Each of us dogs were the focus of all attention. It was kind of odd, but I played along with the humans. One person came by banging a pot and pan. Another person, Mel, pushed a chair with wheels under it.
There was one dog that sat there, and Steve and I had to pass by. What did I do? What any self-respecting dog would do! I crossed in front of Steve to initiate the doggie handshake. Heck, I’m a polite and respectful canine.
Unfortunately, Stacy did not like that. Steve and I had to start over. I started hearing Steve utter, “Leave it, Roxie. Leave it!” A lot.
At the end of all the different things Stacy made us do, she thought she would play with my mind. Steve gave the leash to another person, and then walked away from me. He never looked back. He walked a good piece down the big lot without cars and disappeared from my sight. People looked at me. I sat there. Heck, they did not know what happened in that big box store with all the aromas when Steve left me for what seemed like longer than I had been alive at that time.
So, I sat.
Finally, Stacy said something, and I saw Steve come back toward me. Like I knew he would, thank you!
By the end of that night, Steve got some paper and I posed for a photo with a ribbon. Not sure what all that was about but I do know that Steve and I got a little bit closer and knew each other better as a result of these trips over the bridge to work with the nice lady in the big lot without cars.
Everybody hugged on that last night. I saw the smile on Steve’s face, and I was happy.
As I dosed off to sleep later that night, I remembered Steve talking to Hoppi about what he and I had done in the big lot without cars. The program helped dogs and their people work well together and respect each other and the other beings in the big lot with no cars. For instance:
- Steve had to sign a pledge to take care of my “health needs, safety, exercise, training and quality of life.” He does.
- I had to remain calm and polite when approached by a friendly stranger. I was not to jump or growl at the person. And, I did not!
- I also had to be of healthy weight, properly groomed, and alert. Steve was reminded to praise and encourage me. I am, he did, and he does.
- We walked through a bunch of people to test my ability to remain focused and not to show resentment for those around me. That was easy. I do not resent anyone or anything. Well, maybe, those dreaded twerking squirrels. They mock me!
- They tested my ability to handle distractions. They testers wanted to see if I could handle noise distractions. No problem!
Wow. Caring for health needs and quality of life. Remaining calm, not jumping on, or showing resentment toward another being. Practice and apply strategies to remain focused on the present and not be distracted by environmental noise.
I thought, if all human beings treated each other with the same dignity as expected of us dogs and their people, what a wonderful world it must be.
Beyond the Biscuit. How well do you:
- Care for your health and quality of life?
- Add to the quality of life for others?
- Resist distractions from environmental noise?
- Treat yourself and others with dignity and respect?
Next time I will tell you about another nice person who helped Steve and me get permission to visit people in another building. We were getting busy!
Thank you for reading my blog. Would you mind sharing it with a friend? I’d really appreciate that! WOOF! ~Love, Roxie.