Furry children.... ah furry children. My furry daughter is Mochi (pictured to the left, on the right side of the photo), a darling Shiba Inu. She's almost 9 years old - I got her when she wasn't even a pound in weight at 7 weeks old.
I say this time and time again - never did I think that my pet would have such a profound affect on my life, my perspective, and my growth as a person.
Over the holidays until late January, we took care of a second dog (named Coco) for my in-laws while they were away for a couple of months (pictured on the left, to the left of Mochi). Well, Coco's a little older - and so very different than Mochi. They generally get along - play together, sometimes they quarrel like human children would.
Well, during the holidays, we learned a bit more about Coco's quirks and needs... and that she had a little bit of a pooping problem when under stress. She uncontrollably dropped hard pellets of poo when there was an unknown beeping noise from a smoke detector that needed a battery replaced. She uncontrollably dropped hard pellets when there were sounds of thunder outside, She uncontrollably dropped hard pellets when there were fireworks outside. And so on... There's really not much we could do (we tried so many different things) to prevent the uncontrollable pooping, or prevent it from getting in the home other than running for the door and having her be outside until she calmed down.
Coco also had trouble sleeping. She paced the room back and forth, back and forth. She panted and panted. She scratched and itched. She paced back and forth. I'm a light sleeper - and this really put pooping Coco into the "evil list" for disturbing my sleep. (I love sleep. I love my rest.) To mitigate the disturber of Arry's sleep, we put Coco into an enclosed small area to sleep in the bedroom where she could not pace and roam, forcing her to stay in her bed. (This worked out great - except when something caused her to go into the dreaded uncontrollable pooping state..).
Coco also does not do well with moving objects, cars, other animals or people on walks. She becomes a crazy wild animal barking like a mad mammal should a moving object, car, animal or person walk by when on a walk with her. She also poops at least 3 times on a walk. There are 3 walks a day. ...
Yes, ... I had a very difficult time living with this dog named Coco while her parents were away. Well... when they returned, I really did not want anything at all to do with the dog named Coco - I wanted this "thing" to stay as far far away as possible. I didn't greet her when I saw her. I didn't want to pet her. I didn't want to walk her. She was seriously cut off. (Seriously, Mochi is a DREAM DOG!) Except.... Mochi read between the lines and decided that she would also have nothing to do with Coco going forward as well. Mochi also decided that she was responsible for keeping Coco far far away from me as well. Mochi turned to barking and aggressively trying to "manage" Coco.... Well, after seeing Mochi being "mean" to Coco - I had to change my actions towards Coco so I could lead Mochi by example. I picked Coco up, petted her, gave her and Mochi a treat. I apologized for wrongly taking out my frustration on Coco. I apologized to Mochi for causing her to believe she was responsible for my crazy issue. It worked within a matter of minutes...
The furry lesson? There are unintentional consequences in life and it is important to be aware of them. My dog read my feelings for Coco and took them as her own. People, human beings, do this too - take on other peoples' biases without realizing why, without realizing that someone else's perspective is warping their own. We mirror and reflect each other. ... As soon as I realized what Mochi was doing unintentionally, I began modeling different behavior and Mochi followed suit right away. It can go the other direction, too - there's the halo effect where all of a person's positivity and radiance can literally rub off on the people that come into contact with the one wearing the halo. This is particularly not-helpful if you are interviewing a job candidate, because you don't get to see the interviewee for who they really are.. Some might call it a distortion field... whatever it is, the lesson (that I take away) is to stop every once in awhile and re-center, re-balance your perspective and realm of influence.
Thank you, everyone, for your support and thoughtfulness. The messages, emails, texts, notes, words of empathy helped a lot. ... It's taken me a little longer than I thought it would to pull myself off the floor and get up - I've been working on getting up and moving forward in my life again. I had planned to continue blogging up again in February... turns out, I needed to take a time out. [I was kicking myself day after day, week after week of not writing... then I let it go. I allowed myself to let go of the guilt and gave myself the space to be alone for awhile.]
Funny how life is. It makes so much sense in hindsight... when you're going through the ups and downs, it does really seem completely random though. Well, that's perspective for you. Perspective is a word that seems to be recurring over and over these past 12 months.
A short post to get re-booted and going in my love of blogging.