This morning when I was out walking the dog, I crossed paths with an acquaintance. “What a good dog you have!” she said as she approached me. In reality, my dog was merely being well-behaved at that moment. She is a good dog, a great dog even, when it comes to the amount of love she has for me, my son, and every other human being on the planet. But, like many dogs that love people oh so much, she has a penchant for wanting to melt her body into each and every one of us. The body melt can be attained by a) jumping on someone, b) leaning so intensely into a person that they nearly fall over, and c) by crawling up on top of them. Add to this her love of playing and her 70 pounds of tall lankiness, and you’ve got a recipe for chaos.
Much of our home life is, in fact, pure mayhem. It’s a loving jumble of fun, laughter, and smiles with the somewhat frequent interjection of fear, anger, and frustration. “Artemis, put the socks down!” is probably the number one repeated phrase in the apartment, and it’s usually shouted in frustration. She’s a hound. She could figure out how to get to a sock if it was on top of the refrigerator. Every time a child enters the apartment – which is a lot, as they multiply like rabbits in this complex – the tornado of excitement and frenzy begins all over again.
“Come here, Artemis!”
“Mom, will you get Artemis out of my room?! She’s destroying my pillow!”
“No, Artemis, no!”
During the day, when there are no kids here, she’s pretty great. She has finally, after two years, gotten to a point where she can go for an extended period of time without wreaking havoc on my home. She lies on Jake’s bed and comes out to visit me while I’m working. She might mess with the cat for a minute, but it’s calm play. It’s not the same as the afternoon worked-up-into-a-whirling-dervish of excitement play in which she throws her entire body on top of the cat because she’s overcome with ecstasy at someone’s arrival.
I have known since I got her that she needed training, and I had great intentions to do so early in her life, but I always talked myself out of it. I had a litany of excuses and justifications that I tossed around in my head: the cost seemed too high; I had other bills that needed attention; I’d get around to doing it; and someone else could help me with it is just a sampling of them.
Every single time she acted up over the past two years then, I went from my nice peaceful Janet state to stressed-out mommy monster state within seconds. Every afternoon, from 2:45 until bedtime six hours later, has been a time of high alert. Is she about to pounce? What is that noise? Is she eating something? The cost of the things she has destroyed alone is probably ten times the cost of training, not to mention the crate, the many citronella anti-bark collars, and the variety of leads I’ve had to try just so that she won’t pull when I walk her. (I’d like to mention here, with immense gratitude, a dear friend, who was of enormous financial, emotional, and mental support during all of this. You know who you are and thank you!)
All of this because I didn’t want to pay for training, because I thought I didn’t have the money for it. All of the past twenty some years of giving my power away and not trusting in myself led me to this place of fear in which there was never enough; I was never going to be taken care of properly. Even as my faith began to grow, I still spent way too much time in the vibration of what I didn’t have versus what I do have (which is a lot, in reality). Every time the dog switched to a negative behavior, my vibration and attention shifted into lack and frustration. I was defeating myself. By creating the experience of not having enough for the training, I moved into a pattern of reinforcing that experience over and over again, day in and day out. As a result, not only did I and the people close to me lose a lot of money because she destroyed a lot of things, but all of the time spent in that vibration was like a negative investment in myself.
As I wrapped up my conversation over the dog this morning, I noted to my acquaintance that I was getting the training so that I could have some peace of mind. I have known people to do this, and I’ve heard people weigh their peace of mind options before. Every time I thought, “It must be nice to be able to do that; I wish I had the money to do that.” I got home, and I went to pee, and then it happened – as many miracles do happen on the toilet – that I got that insight into the Peace of Mind Factor. Having a well-behaved dog will open up so much energy for me. It is going to eliminate the mountain of negative energy ripples that dominate my afternoon. I have done a lot of work to change my thoughts and to focus on abundance, and finally, finally (!), I am starting to get it. Dog training now seems like a small price to pay for such a wonderful investment. Good girl, Janet!