Lesson from my dog

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Two things are for certain regarding my dog, Ohenn. First, she will howl and bark at any knock at the door (that she hears), and second, at any sound resembling a food item, she will come and beg immediately. With every fridge opening, a rustle of some kind, even any crumpled trash I hold, I can count on her standing right in front of me with all the focus she can muster.

Admittedly, I’m not the most sharing person, but even when I’m not overly protective of my snack, I’ve always been annoyed at this behavior. A lot of dog owners probably understand, and some have (with more patience than we have) trained their dogs to avoid these longing stares. It’s in your face, desperate, and sure to put you on some sort of guilt trip.

A week ago I was again put in one of these situations after returning home from work. Just minding my own business while eating a (not really sure) in the kitchen, and around the island came Ohenn. A classic Western stare-down. Immediately I became annoyed with the dog, wanting her to be content with her own food we put out, and to let me enjoy my own in peace. Every second seemed to add a few coals to the anger furnace in me.

And then, I tried to think outside myself in this situation (not my normal reaction), and I quickly realized that this dog was doing nothing wrong.

So why was I angered by her desperation? Two things: first, I can feel like I worked hard and earned the right to buy and enjoy this food, and not have to share with Ohenn, who maybe hasn’t contributed as much (outside of unconditional love, of course). However, in reality, a lot of what I own and who I am does not come from myself, but from the people that raised (and are still raising) me. I’ve had privileges and opportunities others have not had, and for me to think I’ve done it all on my own power and knowledge would be foolish.

Second, and related, deep down inside I hate begging, mostly when it’s necessary for me to do it. I hate asking for help, or being viewed as someone in need (i.e. desperate). Back in high school I despised the kids who did everything possible to get an A+. Why? Because they were trying hard, unashamed of what others thought of them, and excelling. I wanted to excel, but was too afraid of looking desperate.

High school may be a decade away, but the feeling has hardly changed. It is hard for me to be desperate. It is hard to not only admit my desires but to also chase after them with despair! To be so hungry for a dream or opportunity that I will get right up in people’s faces and beg – that is truly not settling for the easy life. (Interestingly enough, yesterday, a Panda Express fortune cookie said that if your dreams don’t scare you, they’re not big enough..)

So, I guess in summary, I want to be more like my dog, Ohenn. No longer will I look down on her as she begs, or get annoyed with her trying to get what she wants. There is no wrong in that. And I hope that I, as well as all of you, can have the courage to also try hard (and maybe fail!) to achieve our desires and dreams.

-Craig

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