Wednesday, September 18, 2013

The Teacher in a Tiny Package

Life is so interesting! Everything that happens has a potential to teach you something about yourself and gives you an opportunity to grow in some way.

If any of you have been following me on Instagram you know I have a new puppy. Her name is Elly and she is quite a little pistol. We've had her for about a month and it hasn't been quite as smooth sailing as I had hoped.

From day one Elly was quite indifferent to me, well, to everyone in our family actually. She had a strong personality and did what she wanted when she wanted. I had lived with my little Schipperke, Bear for almost fifteen years and she was definitely the Alpha Female in our house and I was seeing many of the same traits in Elly. Funny how that happens. I knew there must be some kind of lesson for me.

Things quickly got worse. She started growling at me when I tried to groom her, growling when we took her bone away and acting like Cujo when she met another dog. Here was this cute little puppy acting like a tyrant!

I made a one on one appointment with a trainer and the first thing she said was that Elly had no respect for me because I had no respect for her as a dog. I had to stop treating her like a baby and start treating her like a dog.

This hit home for me and brought up a bunch of emotions I had no idea I was still holding onto. You see, when I was a kid, dogs were everything to me. They were my biggest source of love and companionship and I would do anything for the love of my dog. I NEEDED them to love me and they knew it.

The trainer taught me the exercises I had to do and then told me something that changed everything. She explained that she hated to go to the dentist but when the dentist came in and projected confidence and self assurance, she felt at ease. She said it was the same concept with dogs except that while the dentist could fake it, I could not. The dog could sense what I was feeling so I had to get control of my emotions when dealing its her.

This meant that I had to go in and look at what was driving me to NEED her to love me. I had to heal the part of me that had been hiding since my childhood. I had to talk through situations in my head before I reacted. I had to learn and I had to grow.

I am happy to say that Elly has transformed. She is still "spirited" but she has a sense of calm now. She seems happier now that she knows her place in our family. She still has things to work on but it was almost like magic when all the pieces were put together. And now when she challenges me I can respond in a healthy way. She was definitely a tiny teacher.

As you go through your days, look for your teachers. They come in many shapes and sizes. Often they arise as challenges and many times there is a theme that runs along with them. Take some time to get underneath the surface and see what you can clear out and heal. It's a magical process.

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