I want to write about the computer virus I just went through, visiting Valentine Mountain with Amicus, buying a new computer, and all the leaps and bounds of progress he and I are experiencing, and I will write all that down, but right now, I feel like talking about something else because it’s on my mind and whether it comes out clearly or not maybe doesn’t matter.
I am an imperfect dog owner and I have an imperfect dog. That may seem like an obvious statement and perhaps everyone out there but me just automatically accepts that about others and about themselves, but I find it quite a leap. Of course, it’s not all about dogs and owning them, but really more deeply about just accepting my imperfection in everything.
I am realizing that no matter how good I may be at something which in some cases is stellar and in others not so much, but it doesn’t matter, I may, in fact, be an expert in some things, but no matter what it is, I will NEVER be perfect at it. It’s impossible. I’ve never really gone that far; maybe only so far as to accept, yes, we shouldn’t really strive too much to be perfect, thinking because it’s too difficult a journey and usually we’re not up to it, but I now realize that it’s not too difficult a journey, it’s an impossible journey and a colossal waste of time, energy and spirit.
It’s a laudable thing to improve and to grow, but unless I allow that large open room of imperfection to sit comfortably within me, to furnish that room with pictures of all my loved ones and to know that it is a very human room in which I will spend a large portion of my life, I will forever be creating distance between myself and others by actually living with some irretrievable fictional hope of what something/someone should be, should look like, a picture that will never ever realize itself anywhere but in my worried insane high-standard of it’s just not good enough.
Well, this is again something that Amicus is teaching me every day. He teaches it by being himself 100 percent 24/7 unflinchingly imperfect and thereby downright loveable. He needs to work on things and so do I. He’s scared of people and I have a lot of fear, as well. Sometimes he is not very clear and because of confusion something goes wrong; well, I’m not very clear sometimes, either, and people can’t read my mind. When I am calm, clear, and confident, Ami does exactly what he should do all the time. When Ami is clear, I know I better get him outside real quick or buy more carpet product, that sort of thing.
I don’t know if I’m explaining this coherently or not, but somehow accepting this concept of imperfection feels so good and so overdue. Like, for example, since I got Ami, the actual room I live in is messy and crazy whereas before everything had a specific place and there was no room for anything out of place. Now, I’m like all those people in movies I’ve always admired. Whenever I see a house or an apartment in a movie, I like to check out the furnishing, decoration, lived-in-ness, and I have often thought, boy, those movie sets look more lived in than my real place. I wish I could be like that.
Well, now I have one of those messy comfortable imperfect places where a body can come and go and really live, that wonderful crazy comfortable room of imperfection that Amicus and I now live in, the house that Amicus built.
It’s real estate I highly recommend.
Amicus is a fearful dog; there’s no two ways about it. He is fearful of strangers. However, the change in the last three weeks has been quite dramatic with small daily incremental improvements. When I first brought him home he would stop still 20 to 25 feet from people and either start barking and backing up, or he would just high-tail it back the way we came. Now, he’s gotten to the point where he will go up to most people and smell them. When they extend their hand towards him, unless it contains a treat, is usually when he starts barking. It’s a delicate balance in telling him no in the sense of what is inappropriate, but not in an angry or nasty way thus invigorating his fear. I think I am getting it, though.
What I am starting to think is that at some point in his life, this behaviour kept Amicus or someone he loved safe. However, now the situation has changed and he no longer needs to worry about his or someone else’s safety and yet the behaviour remains. It’s like a habit that he doesn’t realize yet he can just stop doing.
Now, here’s where the apawlogee comes in. This habit that he doesn’t realize yet he can just stop doing, well, I got one of those, too, and it’s wanting/needing to be right.
One of my best friends – let’s call her O’Riley – is very dog-friendly, very knowledgeable about canines, worked in a kennel for three years and saved quite a few dogs’ lives, plus she’s had dogs for as long as I have known her which is about 40 years now.
We have been having a big two-day argument after she kindly invited me and Amicus to come and visit her for a weekend and I said I would have to think about it and how I didn’t think Amicus was ready yet, and her countering with he’s coming to a place of safety and love and the visit might really help him.
Well, like Amicus’ barking/no-longer-necessary-fear habit, being right or really, wanting others to also think I’m right, is my old no-longer necessary habit. If Amicus is going to shed his old habits, then I better put on my game face, suck it up, and do the same.
Our argument went back and forth and both of us probably said things and used tactics that were unnecessarily reactive, sort of like Amicus occasionally does. But as I was walking beside the ocean tonight with Ami in the dark, I realized that my good buddy – let’s call her O’Riley – is an awesome loving dog person and almost certainly in this case IS RIGHT, which of course would not only make me NOT RIGHT, but actually WRONG.
Hmmm, can I live with that?
Yes! I’m wrong, I’m wrong, I’m wrong! So, old buddy old pal – let’s call you O’Riley – if the offer still stands, I would be honoured to visit your abode and your hound together with my Amicus who, YOU ARE SO RIGHT, could only benefit from making your acquaintance – as have I for many long excellent years – I would truly appreciate your vast experience to help us, as you wisely said, “guide” Amicus through his fear and into the brave new cur he soon will be.
I love you, “O’Riley,” and I sincerely apawlogize. XXOO