First of all, let me assure you, there will be no pictures with this post.
We took Miss Sophie to her first night of Puppy Beginner’s class last night. The littles have been calling it Puppy School, and Cooter insisted that we needed to go out and get her a backpack and pencils. And a glue stick. When I told one of our young neighborfriends that yesterday, he looked excited and said, “Really?”
But we did give her a good brushing and loaded her in her carrier and headed to the pet store where the world’s best pet trainer teaches you how to teach your puppy good behavior. We were joined in the class by a sweet German Shepherd/Akita mix and two beautiful Corgis. All girls. Our trainer asked us to introduce our pups, tell their ages, what our favorite things are about our little ones, and what we wish we could change.
We were the last to introduce. I had a decision to make. I could go with the simple and truthful and expected response that we didn’t like her biting. Which is true. Very true. Or I could get even more truthful and tell what really frustrates me.
So I introduced Miss Sophie, almost five months, shared how funny she is and how she turns her head trying to understand exactly what you are saying. I said that she does the puppy biting/chewing thing that the other dogs do, and then I dropped the real truth.
I blame it on my writing. I can’t seem to keep anything in anymore, and since Mama died, I seem to have lost my filter.
So I said, “I really don’t like it when she ingests the presents that she leaves, by intent or accident, on the floor.”
The face the trainer made said it all. Her expression screamed what can usually be heard when this happens, “Ewwwwww. Grossssssss.”
But then, as often happens when the truth is told, grace abounded. Because you see, they make pills you can give your dog to discourage them from doing that. So…..she is not the only dog that does this. They have a whole line of products for just such a situation, so I’m thinking there must have been at least ten or twenty-two dogs or more who have done this before Sophie. Right? Relief right there, folks. Relief.
I clarified that she doesn’t do it when she goes outside, only when it happens inside. And then Miss Ren, the trainer, turned on the lightbulb over my head. “She’s cleaning up her mess. She doesn’t want you to see it.”
Well, duh. Why hadn’t that occurred to me? The poor thing is always hiding when she does it. It all makes sense now.
Again, relief. My dog is not extraordinarily weird or off-balance.
She’s just like the rest of us.
Trying to clean up our messes before someone else sees them. From the literal scrambling to get the clean clothes off the couch when someone’s coming over to hiding behind our masks to keep folks from seeing the mess and brokenness inside of us. We all tend to stuff the yuckiest *ahem* junk way down deep inside in an effort to keep up the appearance that we have it all together. It all goes pretty good until the mask cracks or someone catches us trying to hide our messes.
One day I took Miss Sophie out for her afternoon constitutional. I saw in the yard where she had gone earlier in the day, and our Princess hadn’t gotten it up. A color other than normal glinted in the sunlight. I walked over. Oh my word. A Polly Pocket shoe. A sandal to be exact. It was little and tiny and soft, thank goodness, and bright blue. And also completely intact. I knew exactly where she had found it. But seriously? I went back in the house and asked our Princess about it. She had the grace to blush and said, “Yes Mama, I saw it when she left it there. I was going to try to get it back, but I just couldn’t. I’m sorry.”
Oh baby girl, NO. That’s one Polly Pocket shoe we will just have to do without.
And as I was cleaning it up out of the yard, I thought about this. Whatever we put inside of us is going to come out. If we spend our time “ingesting” junk–on tv, in what we watch, listen to, talk about, or read–it will come out in one way or another. And when mess like that comes back out of us it is very noticeable, because it’s not really who we are or what we are made of–much like a bright blue shoe in the midst of a little present. Just as I should have been more careful about what Sophie had access to, we need to be careful about what we take in, what we let touch our souls.
No, I’m not going to buy any of those pills marketed to keep pups from “cleaning up their own messes.” I’m going to do a better job of paying attention to Miss Sophie’s signals–about what her body needs to do–much as I need to be more aware of my own signals. About what my spirit and soul needs. And much as I need to pay attention to those around me to figure out what they need. Not to be a mind reader, but to be compassionate and caring.
So puppy school was quite educational last night. Sophie did not learn to do a backflip or roll over as our neighborfriend’s sister suggested she might. However, she did learn to relax and feel okay in a new situation, and me–I learned that she and I have more in common than I originally thought. We both like to hide our messes, and we both wish we could understand all that is going on around us.
Oh and we both love naps. That’s another thing we have in common. That and our love of yarn and knitted and crocheted things. *sigh* But that’s a class for another week.