Queen of Unsolicited Advice
Over the next couple of weeks, I could feel my mental health begin to suffer and you were in need of so much more. You required someone more skilled and full-time to help you overcome your fears. I felt incapable, so I emailed the shelter director and manager to explain how, with your needs not being met and my processing of my father’s death, that I wasn’t the right person for you. In what would turn our to be a serendipitous turn of events, the director accidentally hit “reply all.” Clearly not meant for my eyes, her email stated how irresponsible it was for me to say I would adopt, then try and give you back, and if I was a budding dog trainer, I should be able to handle your concerns. I felt broken and unrepairable. The email went on to say a few more unsettling things before closing with the fact that they weren’t going to take you back.
I’m not a bad dog. I’m a DOG! D o g s d i g . D U H ! And this was a new place for me. I needed time to settle and adjust and that smart person said it can take up to three months and I had only had a chance to sniff a few places. No one ever taught me what they wanted me to do instead of digging, and anyways, digging helps me to feel better, relieve stress, and not to mention, it's a blast! It seemed like it was going to take 100 million years before I trusted dad.
You smelled sooooo good, like beef jerky and string cheese! Your eyes were as blue as the sky and your hair was like a yellow Summer sunset. I once heard someone really smart at the shelter say that dogs see blue and yellow better than they do red, green, and orange. It didn't matter what color you, your hair, or your eyes were, what mattered was that you wanted me. You looked and smelled like a lap that I wanted to curl into forever.
Modeling appropriate behavior for our children and teaching them how our dogs communicate is an important lesson in respect. If we begin teaching our children as young as possible how to read and understand dog body language, it will become a second language to them. That is what our dogs deserve. They deserve a world where people listen and respect them for the individuals and species they are.
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