The few stages of having a dog. Reflections and observations.

The other day I was just thinking about the different stages on possessing a dog. These are the thoughts that I had. This came to my mind as I was watching our new German Shepherd puppy frolicking round and playing with the cat in the garden. Jumping, chasing, running .

Fripouille and Zaina
Fripouille and Zaina

There are different moods and stages on owning a dog. Especially a pedigreed one.

The first stage, one is proud to be associated with a mighty beast. It gives you a sense of power. Reasserting who you are. The power, the strength of the dog is transmitted to you and you feel the ownership of it all. As you strut on the roads, people admire the dog and your chest pumps up every time you receive a compliment from the people sharing your footpath. The kids also want to pat the dog and you feel friendly and want to show off how lovely your dog is. Power is the first stage that goes to your head.

Time flies. Time changes. The dog is no more. You have given it away because you are moving overseas, going into a flat, or a completely different circumstances forces you to find alternatives for your dog..or simply the dog passes away.

After mulling around for a while thinking will I or won’t I get another dog….you still are not quite sure. We start thinking about getting another one. Will I get a big one again or just a little dog from the RSPCA? Not sure. I leave it for a while…but time is not in my favour and after lots of deliberation… from one day to the next I am the owner of another big beast.

A puppy, yes, but this time the dog has to be trained properly. It has to be obedient and his behaviour impeccable. We are going to work on that one and we do. We take the dog for long walks, sit, stay, hold, heel, down, shake hand and the list goes on. My dog is perfect and the compliments keep on pouring in as we parade in the streets showing how well behave our dog is. An example of well-heeled pedigreed canine. There, there is a mixture of the might of the dog and the pride of having done some nice recognised work. A sense of power with the might of the big dog and the fact that the animal is beyond reproach. Total satisfaction, total identity with the size of the dog, achievement, self-importance and snobbish.

Then, times are changing again and they do change of course as one moves through different stages of life. The perfect companion is no more. Another phase, another moment in one’s existence.

Again after a long time of reflection the eternal question arises. Will I get another one? No, I shall leave it for a while. And one does. But after a few months or just a couple of years, the urge to own another little German Shepherd resurfaces and the hunt starts for a nice one again.

The new puppy is brought home. But something has shifted. Sure we still want the perfect mighty and well-trained dog. After all we always did train and groomed them to be the apple of our eyes. The responses that we had from people were always flattering and encouraging. But, it looks like this time not much importance or urgency is given to any of that. It seems that all the associations that we previously had simply vanished into thin air. Yes, we have the “ferocious GS, but he is just a companion a bundle of energy to be reckoned with. We are more laissez-faire, the training is not rigorous, tho, still the basics are taught. We are not ready to walk down the road with her showing her off. We are just contented to take care another lovely bundle of fun and cherish her.

Zaina and Elsie
Zaina and Elsie

Has something changed in the attitude of possession and pride or is it that we are getting older and all the self-importance has just flown out of the window? Well, I think that both are play.

Till next time.

REJECTION. One insight.

Today I decided to put pen to paper to recall a very interesting (maybe) event and moments that occurred in 2007. Where to start ? It might be hard to bring all these to surface again, but I am pretty positive that something might come out of it. Well, the positive element is already here, otherwise I would not be writing it. Let’s try it and see what happens as I unfold the story.

In March 2007, my father, a very important persona in the way he shaped my thinking and my life reached the decision to cut all bridges to our relationship to both of us. My husband and I. Countless discussions and discourses took place reflecting on different aspects of the inner workings of what we are. My father was not an “educated” man, just an ordinary man that could comprehend the machinations of the mind and their ramifications in our life and society.

A call in the early March 2007 took me by utter surprise. Yes, the element of disbelief was enormous.

“No more conversations, no more phone calls, no more getting in touch.” “you are up yourself, selfish and know it all, wallowing in self indulgence, wasting time and being unconscious of your acts and attitude” He said.

Words failed me utterly. I had no response to this onslaught on his part. I was stunned , deeply hurt, flutters in my stomach played havoc, I felt that I was going to be sick and my throat was drying up fast. The only response that I gave was : “what about mum, how I am going to find out how she is” She had been unwell for the last few years. “ don’t you worry about all this, well, goodbye”.

I was left totally not only speechless but a sense of gloom and doom enveloped me. Anger surfaced pretty fast and I started to justify my attitude and my position. My image was totally destroyed. Questions emerged. What did I do to them? Why is he so callous? Who does he think he is to rebuff me in such way? He is an arrogant man, wanting to be always right. And it went on and on like that trying to find gaps in his thinking and attitude which I attributed to him getting too old and may be going senile….That was so far from the truth as I realised later

For days I was trying to justify, to substantiate where I had been wrong. What events lead him to take such a dramatic position towards me? What warranted such an outburst from him? Stories of endless justifications lasted for weeks. Unable to sort it out. So, I decided to write to him since he would not let me renew any forms of relationship. I wrote pages and pages, discussed it at length with the boys and my husband. In the end I could not come to sending him the letter and pages that I had painstakingly written.

I remained silent, deeply hurt , confused, puzzled, and flummoxed with no resolution in sight. Then we left for Bangkok for 4 weeks where we met with our son who was at this stage on a posting in Hanoi, but flew to be with us. We churned the same stuff over and over again as I was trying to find solace and confirmation of my attitude and position. To no avail of course. I was on the wrong track… maybe.

Then, still disconcerted and not being able to come to any solution as to what I could do, my mother rang me one early morning in July just 3 months after this saga and told me that dad had passed away suddenly that very morning at 6 AM. Fear enveloped me totally. I was again in disarray.

We packed our bags and left for Melbourne as fast as we could. I shall pass on this period as it was again a moment of deep pain, emotional suffering, stress, anguish, bitterness and distress for everyone present. I might recount it another time.

After deep reflection and introspection in this whole matter, I finally realised (maybe) the point my father was trying to make. In his wisdom, that is what he decided to do: to pierce the abscess of what he saw being my most fundamental problem. When I say ‘mine” I also mean the issue that is plaguing most of us. Let me try to explain finally further the point of the title of this writing.

Rejection. Fear of not being accepted by our family, peers and friends. Not belonging or being seen as not belonging. Always wanting to please anyone in order to look good and nice and safeguard our image. How is the writing above going to illustrate this?

As we grow up and start being part of society the most important thing is to feel wanted and included. Normal. Then, an event occurs…the arrival of a sibling for instance, then we start feeling left out. We are going to make sure that we are always in the forefront just in case we have lost this number one spot. That is only one aspect of it. There are countless examples that we can dwell on to illustrate this. A friend dropping you for another, we dress to hide a little fat on the belly…so that we still feel ok, we put make up on so that we feel beautiful just in case also we are told we are not…and on it goes. Many of our acts in life are to enhance our image, our position, our sense of worth and our importance. If something goes against any of that we feel cheated and can easily be depressed and we start playing “catch up “with other things. Compensating. Yes, that trip to Bangkok, wanting to be away and “forget”. Of course this was not going to resolve the issue.

What my father had done was to confront me with my self importance and go to the bottom of my attitude of seeing myself as being rejected. In his rejection there was in fact a deep sense of care and love. He wanted me to face this issue with all the force of rejection. Powerful. Confront myself. What I did and  what my attitude showed was the opposite. Exactly the opposite. I looked for justifications, belittled him, poured scorn on him, and in my blindness I rejected his premise. A fool’s attitude in fact. I was so taken  by sense of righteousness that I missed the point, hence missed the lesson at the time. I was not prepared nor was I ready to see my own game.

If I had confronted my deep sense of rejection I would have thanked him for his action. But no, I did not see it. How can you even start seeing anything if you are obsessed with yourself all the time and want to show daddy how great you are, how good you are, how caring you are, then, you are not seeing what is truly motivating you, what is propelling you, and what is really driving you.

Yet, he saw it and moved on it. How profound that is when you reflect on your actions. When you start seeing your actions….always with the aim to please or not loose face or look good at all times. He did not want to be pleased. He wanted me to understand. How liberating that is when you see that his motives were pure, loving and warmhearted. He rejected me in order for me see through the pain and the pantomime that I was inflicting on myself. In this rejection, he also hurt himself. Severing ties with his daughter in order to achieve a greater outcome for “me”. Not only for “me” but for the advancement and understanding of what we are, and to decipher the inner workings of the human beings. He had this question at one stage for us : “how do you see you children, as human beings or as children?” The reply was difficult to give. I wonder what reply I really gave. If my memory does not falter I think, I said it was a hard one to come to terms with..maybe both I said…Children and humans. But now can I really say that?

Now I understand how he saw “me”. And Only now, can I say to him thank you with all my heart!

Till next time.