Little white lies are a kindness we are told and I would agree with that for the most part, but not when talking with animals. They have a unique gift for ‘feeling’ the truth of what we say. Our words must match our energy. Because if it doesn’t, no matter how we present the ‘white lie’ it is only an untruth to them. They do not always know what the truth is, but they know our words are not it. The only thing the lie accomplishes is breaking their trust in us, the degree to which is irrelevant.
I would like that fact to be different sometimes, especially when I began ‘practicing’ what I would say to the girls those months ago. What I wanted was to have an exciting and loving start for them, but all I could think of was how crushed they would be, because it was how I felt; how lonesome they would get, because I feared I would be. How was this talk going to go if I was just a big sack of sobs? Somehow I had to get in a different place, to see things from only their eyes so the experience of being re-homed was something other than what I currently had in my head.
The big picture had to change. I thought back to when we had an unpleasant chore to be done, like nail trimming, which the girl did not care for in the beginning but learned to tolerate after a fashion. At first I tried sneaking up on them when they were quietly resting…that was stupid…they began to eye me whenever I came by with something in my hand. Then I tried a bit of a strong arm approach, an exercise in futility when a dog weighs one hundred and twenty or so pounds. Even begging with treats didn’t help. Finally, one day in desperation I just told them the truth.
“Look, I don’t like doing this either. But when your nails get too long, your feet hurt. That’s what makes your toes hurt. So we will just do it quickly and have treats after. OK?”
Some people will believe, others not, but it worked. Very well as a matter of fact. After that I would just tell them it was time to trim nails and though they would not be happy about it, they would stand until I finished. Never underestimate the power of the truth.
I thought about how the change had come about, but there was still one problem. They were not happy about the nails and I needed them to be happy in respect to the re-homing. Then I realized, I was not happy about trimming nails. Energy does not lie.
I knew this was the key to success for the girls, but I was a ways from ‘being happy’ that they were going to a new home. I had to think about this. How was I going to look upon this life changing event in a favorable light?
Be a dog, I thought. I could better see what they needed to happen if I just became a dog for awhile…
It’s not like it would be the first time. I spent half my childhood being some animal or other. Or if not being them at least seeing from their eyes. I know, it sounds, well, peculiar. Maybe it is. But it did make me eat my vegetables. I was sure, at six, that giraffes liked broccoli and would just imagine how their long tongues would swirl around the stalks and pull off the ‘flowers’. So that is how I ate my broccoli.
“What are you doing?” My mother would exclaim.
“I’m a giraffe Mom. This is how they eat leaves from trees..”
“Oh. They don’t use forks at the table?”
“That’s silly mom. Giraffes don’t use forks!”
“She’s right Mom.” Dad said, never halting in his forking of dinner. “No opposable thumbs.”
Hmm, when I put that down in writing…it does look a little peculiar.
No matter, the task at hand for me was
to become a dog. I had one shot to do this thing right and it was the one time I could not fail them.