Boy, did my mom rock my world! We went to Petco and I thought way cool, mom is going to buy me treats. I was wrong. We adopted a cat!! Sometimes I think my mom is crazy. We have a happy home why ruin it with a ca-ca-cat? Truly this is a CATastophe in the making.
Murphy the cat
Well, to my utter amazement Murphy is a pretty cool cat. You could say my attitude needed some big time adjustments and my mom helped me make them. Do cats laugh? When I chase Murphy, my mom says, “SHADOW KENNEL!” I swear Murphy turns and grins at me just as he takes off to his safe place. The very first night, Murphy had the guts to get on the bed with us! Where is the boundaries boy? My mom was up most the night helping me make more adjustments in my attitude. By morning, not only was Murphy sleeping on the bed with us, he had snuggled up to me!
It has been about a month since Murphy came to live with us. I must confess life is much more interesting. Actually, what I thought was the worst possible thing, turned out to be nice. Don’t tell Murphy but I am rather fond of the little fella. We play and run around the apartment. My mom still likes me best! She tells me I am her favorite dog!
What we think is the worst thing that could happen to us may actually turn out to be wonderful! At first it may not seem like it. Some times our attitude needs to change. It is amazing how much our attitude can dictate whether we look at life as a disaster or an adventure we can learn from and perhaps enjoy. The choice is ultimately ours to make.
Life is full of temptations. When I am out working I meet little kids who want to pet me, adults who try to pet me, and some people want to feed me people food! My mom usually handles these kinds of temptations for me with a simple, courtesy but firm, “No, she is working.”
Lately, this strong inner dog comes out and boy, do I get in trouble. I love people and when my mom friend’s come over and I am not in harness~ well, I can be so bad. I whine, I bark and….Yes, I jump. YIKES! It just happens! As soon as it happens my mom tells be to go straight to the “kennel,” or she steps on my leash and puts me in a “down-stay” position. And she gives me a look that hurts me to the heart. I see how I disappointed her. My mom is dead serious about crucifying my inner dog instincts. She says it is not who I am anymore. The old dog has to die in order to fulfill my true calling as a Service Dog.
I am “the Shadow”
Some people defend me and say, “That’s just natural.” Or “let her be a dog.” While it is true that I have natural dog instincts, I am not just a dog. I have a higher calling on my life. My mom gives me “dog time” which is like people’s “Miller Time,” where I relax or sometimes we go to the field to play. It is clear though that the things that “just happen” are unacceptable in defining who I really am. When my harness goes on, my mindset is to serve. My mom is disciplining me to have that mindset all the time, even when those old dog instincts kick in full throttle. I am more than just a dog. I am a Service Dog. I live for my mom- to serve. I love to serve. Is there anything Greater than serving the Master?
The last few days the squirrels have been driving me nuts. I don’t understand why they get off without a hitch running around, chasing each other all around (in front of my door) and stealing bird seed! I know I am not supposed to react to these little punks teasing me. As soon as I move one muscle towards being disobedient or when I slap a paw on the glass; my mom’s voice rings out, “Kennel!” I have been spending more time behind bars than anywhere else lately. I know squirrels will be squirrels and I am a dog. This is where I must not respond like…who I am…for the Greater Good of my mom’s safety. If I react with my canine instincts when I am working-helping my mom with balance-my response could leave her on the ground. That’s why I must be disciplined and not respond the way my instincts urge me too. My life as a Service dog isn’t about me.
The squirrels will always drive me nuts but I don’t want to do anything to hurt my mom. She needs me to be the Service Dog I am trained to be. And who wants to do Kennel time. No squirrel is worth losing my job- my calling to serve. Besides I don’t like time behind bars. I love my freedom.
There will always be things to chase…I have friends with tails long enough to chase. Not only are they surprise if they catch it, they are disappointed. Such is life on the endless treadmill of chasing what we think we want. There is freedom and joy in service and self-sacrifice for the sake of others. It is in dying to self-will that we live; it is in giving that we really get -a life full of purpose and passion.