By saying “I am not a dog person” doesn’t mean that I don’t like dogs any more than saying “I am an introvert” means that I don’t like people. It’s all about what drains my batteries and what recharges them.
Historically, dogs and certain breeds of humans have depleted my energy so much more quickly than say, cats, being alone or reading a books in solitude.
Recently, I had a chance to reconsider my position on the detailed story of “me, my and mine” up close and personal-like when Oz, my less-than-year-old grandpuppy, came to stay for ten days while my son travelled.
What I learned in 10 days:
I still have preferences.
I like to sleep in, a bit, especially on my summer holidays. And I like to wake up naturally, not to whining about having to go pee. I also like my furniture and yoga mat to be free of fur and drool accents. I like to eat at least one meal a day that doesn’t include taking the pup out for a ‘stoop and scoop’ session in the middle of it. I like to do yoga without a doe-eyed dog with a ball in his mouth begging for me to play with him. I like to walk down the street and not have to have a conversation with every single person I pass, especially those with their own dogs in tow.
I am still possessive.
I heard myself repeating the phrase “No, that’s mine” every time Oz picked up something that wasn’t one of his chew toys. He had them and I wanted them back. My sofa pillows. My kleenex. My sleeves. My fingers. My blankets. My yoga props. My chair. My energy levels. My moment of silence. My solitude.
I still over-effort.
I felt a serious pull to do this puppy-sitting “right”. I found it challenging to leave the little puppers on his own to go off and do my own thing. Suddenly, I was a new mother again who was resistant to leaving my toddlers with a baby-sitter. The responsibility for the job was mine and I intended to take it seriously. The encouragement from others to see Oz as just a dog fell on deaf ears. All I could see what neglect, if I left him alone and whining for attention.
I am still a cat person.
Only minutes after Oz had gone home, I missed him terribly. The house had one less heartbeat in it. The cuteness factor was now non-existent! But I know that the energy required to have a dog full-time is beyond my ability to sustain in the long-term. I had a cat for 16 years once and my energy levels were much more compatible with her self-sufficient, introverted nature. Another preference.
I am still learning.
As a highly sensitive person who still clings strongly to what is “mine”, I was stretched during Oz’s visit. Stretched to let go of the concrete story about who I am and what is mine. Me, my and mine are only constructs of my own creation. I noticed very quickly when I reacted instead of responded. I noticed when I resented having to give energy rather than preserve it.
I noticed that the only issues that were raised about Oz were in my own mind. Problems of my own creation like having unreasonable expectations. Oz became the wall I ran into to continue learning about my patterns and preferences.
Interestingly enough, I noticed how Oz seemed to be the polar opposite of me when he:
- was always energized by any interaction, he always had energy for me!
- gave affection and attention so easily
- made 98% of the people we encountered on our daily walks, smile
- would be affectionate with me only seconds after I reprimanded him for digging a hole in my backyard
- would play tug of war with his toys but not with intent of claiming it as his own, but rather as a way to interact with me
- didn’t complain once because I did things differently than the way it was usually done for him
I may not be a dog person but I am definitely now an Oz person!