Thursday, 5 May 2011

The Power of the Pack

As a human who once failed a dog, a very lovely but damaged and destructive Staff, when the subject of owning another dog came around, I was nervous.  We spent 2 years, the boyf and I, researching and learning and debating.  We decided eventually on a power-breed, Dobermans, Rottweilers, Staffs etc. and a puppy.  With that much responsibility we knew that we had to be prepared and so I started to read all I could about raising and training a puppy/dog.  There is a lot of conflicting opinion out there... but one day, the (very clever) boyf insisted I watch "the guy on Nat Geo Wild who trains dogs" - Cesar Millan.

There are people in the world that we should thank the heavens above for, and Cesar is one of those people for me.  Not because he has done wonders for a great many dogs, but for the people out there who like me are "rehabilitated humans"!  Thanks to Cesar, and our beautiful girl dobe Megan, I have learnt the value of the moment, the wonder that can be found in simply standing and absorbing the now, patience (I used to have it, but somewhere I had lost it!) and that shit happens... but that's what poo bags are for!  In no way are we 100% there, or even 50% some days, but Megs is my friend and my teacher; and the process is as important as the result itself.  And although most of the good folk we know think that we are slightly crazy dog-parents, we have and will have a beautiful creature who is a credit to her breed and will continue to grow, as we will too.

And I mention all of this, because I've been thinking about when the 9yr old was so ill a couple of days ago.  The 9yr old gets temperatures, so much so that I don't really think about them, but the other day was her worst in a very long while and at silly am, having been up for almost 2 days straight, with my beautiful daughter crying in pain and disorientated and delirious and so hot her skin felt like parchment; I was scared.  Until the Doberman got out of her bed and sat next to the 9yr olds side of the bed and sat and waited and sat; with a calmness and certainty that gave me strength.  My big-footed, gangly, falls-over-her-own-feet clumsy, nose in everything teenage dobe, just sat and waited for me to get a grip!  She eventually came up on the bed and fell asleep, as did the child.  And the gentle dobe/child snoring lullaby finally got me to sleep too... that is until the not so gentle, stretching dobe accidentally pushed me out of bed!  But, as butt hit floor, I couldn't help but notice that she had slept next to the 9yr old but not on or near her; my comfort, it seems, was expendable, but the 9yr olds was not and I loved her a little more for it.  Megs did what she could to look out for her little Pack Sister and in doing that she did wonders for me too... when it works, there is real joy and blessing in being able to experience life as part of a dog's pack.
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