Working like a dog.
I’ve written before about my puppy Odin and the lessons I’m sure he will be teaching me. Well, it seems that Odin is on his way to doing his work very well with me.
I’m one of those people who, when things are going well, acknowledge that they are going well while not really acknowledging why. Usually the “why” is because I’m working to make things go well. This is true of Odin’s integration to our family and to him in general. I’ve remarked since day one that Odin is pure love and joy, and such an easy puppy. And he is all of those things. I have no doubt that much of this is due to his genetic makeup, but I also worked pretty hard to help him and the other animals in my house acclimate to each other. As for his behavior, he is also easy and a joy, and though I give a lot of credit to my two older dogs for showing him how to be a good dog, I know that I too have had a hand in shaping him into being the good dog that he has become.
I’m always one of those people who, once things have been going well for a while, tends to get — I’m not sure what word to use — complacent is probably one that would work. And what happens when I become complacent? The lessons start to ramp up.
In the case of Odin, he has been working on this lesson with me all along, I think. In the beginning, I kept up because I had to. So he went easy on me for a while to see what I would do. And having not learned the lesson, I did what I usually do. I took a break, got lazy, whatever you want to call getting complacent. And then, he ramped up his behavior to demonstrate the lesson for me. And when an almost month old puppy who weighs close to 100 pounds wants to teach you a lesson through the behavior, it’s pretty hard to ignore. But this lesson is a tough one for me. So he’s showed me a couple of times in the past week or so that just because things are going well doesn’t mean I should take a break.
Actually, the deeper lesson here for me (and so many others who are like me) is this: unless I acknowledge and give credit to myself for the parts that are going well, it’ll be really hard to stop becoming complacent when things are easy. Instead I need to understand that the work I am putting in is what makes things easy, but that doesn’t mean I can just sit back and stop doing the work altogether.
This lesson Odin is teaching me doesn’t just revolve around him. It’s a lesson I am learning in all parts of my life, though Odin is showing me the best way he knows how to. And so I continue my work. In the meantime, Odin is taking a little rest.