I want to talk to all the fur-baby parents out there about how to live a great life with your pet. You see too many of you see us separate from yourself and that is not true at all. We are very much alike, and we have so much to offer you besides our cuteness and lessons in unconditional love.
Every day I am out with my Mom I see the disconnect between pet and owner. Either the dog leads the owner or, more common it’s the owner leading the dog. This means that as someone who adopted a dog you are considering yourself the owner, or the master, ruling yourself over the dog. Or you see the dog as a cute, funny bundle of fluff that will eventually grow into adulthood without being taught anything. Then you will get annoyed and either allow your home to be destroyed, your nerves shattered, or you will give the dog away (or worse, drop it in some field to starve to death or be killed by wild animals).
Instead what you have is a partnership. Something to be nurtured.
We, the pet in your life, come as a kind of living spiritual guide. We agreed long, long ago to be there for you at a specific time in your life. We agreed to give you whatever it was that you needed, whether that be your running companion, emotional support system, working/service dog, or someone to cuddle with. What ever you need we will be there to provide it, but that doesn’t mean we always will.
You have to live up to your end of the bargain too.
What bargain you ask? The agreement we made long before we were ever born into this lifetime. You agree to help me be the best that I can be and I in turn will be the pet you truly need. My Mom equates adoption of a dog to the same thing as adopting a human baby. You would not let a toddler just run around and do whatever and fend for itself, yet you do that with your dog? Just because you feed us (when you remember to) and take us for a walk (and those 5 or 10 minute things where you constantly tell us to hurry up don’t count) are us barely existing in your world. Instead you must create a partnership with us. One that will last a lifetime
When my Mom rescued me we made each other promises. She promised to teach me how to be compassionate, respectful, and protective; all while giving me the best food and care she could afford, with plenty of play time thrown in. She created Super Sammy Sunday where she allows me time to do whatever it is I want to do. If I want to go for 5 walks, that is what I get. If I want to play in the snow all afternoon, then she lets me. This is her way of giving me something extra in my life for her working so much or having to be away several hours a day. In turn I agreed to be her best friend, her soul mate, her hearts connection to the universe, so that she could be a better human being in this lifetime. I agreed to remind her when she was not being her true self, or when she needed to change.
First, she made sure I knew doggie commands, then set up a going outside routine (for potty) and when that was set she added a time each day for a Sammy Walk, or Sammy Playtime. It was my time to just play with my friends or go for a very long walk. Then when we moved to the mountains (Colorado) we started hiking and I became her lookout. I kept her from wild animals that could harm her and would pull her up the hills that were a bit too steep. So you see my ability to help her changed over the years, as did hers for me. She allowed me to write, share my thoughts on how she can help other animals, and even start a life long mission. All because we had become partners, instead of master and pet (one trying to rule over the other).
We found things that worked for us, she researched the best products for me ~ including the use of a harness instead of a collar which could fracture the bones in my neck (over and over again), just like it has for so many of my friends. She found a great food for me to eat and helped heal my insides from the damage I had from my first owner dying and being left alone for many weeks. When she got hurt and needed help I learned to do things for her like pick things up off the floor, pull her up out of the chair, warn her when someone was coming up behind us (due to vision loss, which since has returned), and detect when when she was going to have a seizure. That is what a partnership is, caring for one another. Doing what needs to be done, when it needs to be done.
So you see your pet is more than something to cuddle with on the couch at night (yea, we like to do that too). You have an agreement to help each other, so find out what it is and work on it. Teach your dog common commands, the need for respect, pay attention to your dogs demeanor, learn what the best partnership has to offer for the both of you, all so you can have a great life together!
And no, its never too late. No matter what age your dog is they will adjust and change, it is you the owner who says that we can’t only because you don’t want to change. Or don’t want to make the effort. If that is the case then please do not adopt. You are not ready. But if you do have a pet then learn and grow and become the best team possible, because without our help you will wander, and with out your help we will wander.
And that is no way to live…..