Something you love about yourself
There are a number of things about me than I’ve come to genuinely appreciate over the years, but ‘love’ is a pretty strong word. I appreciate how I don’t give up, the ways in which I manage to succeed at crap at which I have no business succeeding, and my freakish ability to remain calm in the midst of chaos. I dig the fact that I can climb the shit out of a rock, but would just as soon read a book. These all have their particular flavors of ‘fine’ and ‘lovely’, but they don’t fling me into paroxysms of vigorous self-love (dirty!). I also don’t subscribe to the cliché of loving myself, but not being in love with myself. If I ever used that line on me, I’d throw myself out of the house or put sugar in my gas tank or find some other way to lash out at such clumsy emotional manipulation.
I’ve heard that schizophrenia can be tiring.
Anyhoodle, there is this one thing that I do, though, that is eminently worthy of my love. Dogs. Rescued dogs. I foster them. I ended up adopting a few, one of whom had temerity to go and die on me, but I don’t hold it against her. In all cases, these dogs arrived with issues. The entire process of un-issuing a dog takes patience with a capital ‘P’ that usually stands for ‘Poop’, which sometimes leads to throw rugs being rolled up and ceremonially burned. And yet, I always go back. The woman who runs the rescue here in my part of the world does everything out of her house. She’s a saint in all the ways that catholics use to qualify theirs (her miracle is not going batshit insane living in a house with up to 20 dogs at a time). She has an incredible reputation for taking in and rehabilitating collies, then finding good permanent homes for them all over the country. She’s really something.
The dogs she takes in run the gamut from strays to those literally rescued from horrible breeders (the norm rather than the exception, it seems) to ‘surrenders’ from individuals or families for economic, health, or other reasons. She scrutinizes potential adopters with a hard eye based on experience and because of both this reason and the propensity for applications to occasionally dry up, she sometimes asks for help in the fostering department. My two dogs have become ideals of good canine behavior, which makes them damn near therapeutic for the odd foster dog needing stability and guidance. I would say that I lucked out with getting them if it weren’t for the fact that I recall what they were like when I first met them. They’ve come a long way. We’ve come a long way together.
Most of these dogs have been abused or neglected, physically and/or emotionally. Trust has become nearly impossible for them, so you have to build it slowly. The trick is to not be in a hurry, expecting too much too soon, and to not force anything. I seem to have a knack for this sort of thing maybe because I can relate to their predicament to a certain degree or possibly because I just prefer the company of dogs over most people. In any case, the payoff, when and if it comes, is always worth the infrequent rug bonfire. There’s always a moment when you know that you’re well on your way to their coming around to the world of people, or at least in the short term to the world of you. If you find yourself sitting on the floor, as some of us do from time time, and the dog walks over unbeckoned and lays down with their head in your lap, that’s when the worm has turned. It’s a remarkable act of faith on their part and I can be nothing but grateful for being the object of it. ‘I know,’ I say as I stroke their head. And I really do.
Sir @ November 2, 2010