A couple of weeks ago we celebrated the Fourth of July. I am sure that more than one person out there felt a hint of trepidation along with the excitement of the annual picnic and gleeful gatherings. I am equally sure it had something to do with the reactions some of our animal companions had to the traditional fireworks display that accompany this particular holiday. My house is no different.
Echo has never cared for loud noises like fireworks or thunder. When they do occur, she transforms into a 125 pound lap dog that makes continuous mewing noises. Annoying? A bit. I have company however as many families have the same issues. What I find interesting though is that her mom and sister could care less about the booming overhead.
For generations I have raised my litters the same way, among other techniques, I like to play with them while athunderstorm is in progress so they associate loud noises with something good rather than something ominous and it has served me and the new guardians well. But why does it bother Echo and not the other two? Now, we could sight self -confidence, sensitivity, etc.; but the truth is she is an individual, with individual needs and desires. Something our logical head understands, but doesn’t always honor.
Throughout their lives our animal companion will do things that we find irritating, like digging holes in the yard, dislike of children, dislike of other dogs, doing all of her lessons at home and bombing in class, jumping on us and taking tasty tidbits off the counter. When we have tried numerous tactics and techniques to guide our companion to what we consider appropriate behavior, over a period of time, and we have not discouraged the antics, it’s time to accept that individual for who she can or cannot be. Honor her by keeping her from situations where she is likely to fail. If she does not like a particular class, find another thing she may like more, maybe Flyball. Yes, you wanted an agility dog, but that was your design, not hers. Honor her by finding something you both can enjoy together, not just one of you. Accept her flaws and limitations. Understand that she will do most anything to please you and honor her by letting her know she pleases you just the way she is, honor her with the same unconditional love she bestows on you.
Echo is an independent girl for the most part, but she can’t do thunder or fireworks. She needs a pat on the head, some touch to reassure her. A big hairy dog leaning all over me trying to get in my lap, is sometimes not convenient, not convenient at all , but then I remember all the things she has to put up with from me. She accepts it all, moods, forgetfulness, betrayal. She’s a wonder really, with this one little flaw.
But then, unconditional love sees no flaws, so maybe I have a lesson or two to learn before I can honor her the same way she honors me.