With the family out of town, I have bore sole responsibility for ALL of the animals left behind--3 cats and our dog. Augh.
I can't even begin to detail the sheer burden passed on to me on top of the rest of my life--it's like the kids never left...just grew fur, dropped to all fours and doubled.
Lucy, our poor dog, has really had a difficult time of it as she is accustomed to having someone home with her all day, especially her children. No amount of doggie bagels, milkbones or rawhide chews can take the place of her children.
On our first day alone together, I came home from work to find doggie-doo--wet, slimy and in a perfectly wide circle--left for me by the side door of our house. Well, the smell met me first as I walked in the front door and then the sight as I searched it out.
Surprisingly, I kept my cool during this--I figured, she didn't know what she was doing and I assumed it was reactionary on her part.
Assuming this was a one-time thing, I cleaned up the mess and moved on. Lucy and me, me and Lucy.
The next day--twice.
The first poop circle was found when I came home from my early morning yoga class, the second when I came home later from work. Again, I cleaned but this time, I reacted.
I decided to keep her in the bathroom while I was gone the next day and it was SO difficult--this was my baby, my free-roaming baby. BUT I knew I couldn't clean another poop circle--I would absolutely come undone.
Following a very sweet weekend of hanging out and even leaving her out for a six hour shopping trip with my mom, I thought the worst was behind us.
Boy was I wrong.
My first day back at work this week and she gets me again--yet another poop circle, same area of the den and just as runny as the first three.
I wasn't as mindful this time around and I gave in to anger--I came undone. My poor pooch. I put her outside, for her own good, and began to clean, yet again.
I tried a new approach, because as it easy as it was to keep her in the bathroom while I was at work, it broke my heart. I wondered myself sick over what she must be thinking and feeling while staring at the bathroom walls all day, stirring herself anxious over every noise, feeling betrayed and confused--okay, so maybe I'm going overboard here.
Nevertheless, I cannot lock my dog in a bathroom.
So, after each morning yoga practice, I would leash up my baby and we would drive to our little neighborhood Einstein's Coffee. I would fill my mug with coffee and we would cross the street to a walking park on the river, one of my favorites--it's always filled with people and, on good days, with their dogs.
Lucy and I would walk several rounds and I didn't rush her one bit--typically I don't tolerate the sniffs and tracking and staring down of squirrels because I like to keep moving. But these walks belonged to Lucy and I wanted her to experience total freedom.
I was in awe as I observed from behind her--her happy trots, her natural curiosity. Every squirrel elicited the same reaction from her. Ears and tail perked up, stance stiffened for a moment and then--BAM, she was off! Every dog was a possible friend, every human a candidate for a good sniff-down. Birds? A wonderful oddity.
We walked that park everyday for a week, yet she never saw her surroundings the same--she was always mesmerized and engaged.
We should be that lucky, we should be so mindful--I should be so mindful.
As I was ranting to a friend, via email, about my havoc with Lucy, she replied with something that will stick with me and forever define my relationship with my furry little friends.
She said that she is convinced having a dog teaches children about responsibility, hard work and compassion--I would add joy and love.
Hmmm...not just children.
Thank you Lucy...for giving me another way to see my world...for teaching me compassion in action...for everything.
Gurus come to us in various forms for sure.