about dogs

d4b18c4eb8fc439969cdebd6e488781aMy Dad sent me something last week after he found it online. Below is my translation of it from Russian.

All rights belong to whoever wrote it. And thank you to them. It definitely taught me something about me and my dog.

The mother-in-law got sick. A week later she died. We took the father-in-law to live with us, thank goodness we got enough room. The mother-in-law had a dog, just a black hairy ugly thing. Took the dog as well, for our own misfortune. The dog chews on everything, bites my kids, being mouthy with me, craps everywhere. We take it for a walk out, but you have to have two people walking it. I contacted dog specialists, paid them to teach me what to do with the dog, how to care for it, – no use. They say it’s easier to just put it down. The father-in-law heard about that, he told us that if the dog dies, it’s him time to go too. So, we left it as it was. The kids go out in the summer wearing long sleeves and pants, hiding the scars from me, pitying the grandpa. By the Fall the dog went completely crazy: biting itself, howling. Turns out, besides everything it also needs to have its nails trimmed. We went to all the places where such service is provided, but nobody takes such angry dogs to service them. Finally, we were recommended one place.

I get the dog to the agency, drag it in. The dog fights back, like it’s possessed. Enters a young woman, tiniest I’ve seen. I tell her of the situation, promise her any money, maybe she could do an anaesthesia while she services the dog (in my mind praying that the dog dies under). The little lady takes the leash out of my hands and asks me to come back at a certain time. I come back as I was told and watch the lady cutting the hair between the toes of a beautiful dog that stands on the table, proud, still, rubber orange ball in its teeth. I just stare at that fine picture. Then the dog looked at me sideways and I recognized it: that was my dog! The lady tells me that she will show me how to brush the dog’s teeth and how to trim the nails. I almost lost it on her. I told he the whole story. She thought about it and said: “You need to understand the dog’s situation. You know that its owner died, but its doesn’t. In the dog’s reasoning, you’ve abducted it from its home in the absence of its owner, and now you keep it by force at your place against its will. It can sense that its other owner, the father-in-law, is upset too. So, since it can’t run away, it’s trying to do everything possible for you to kick it out. Try to talk to it, like a male to a male. Explain the situation. Comfort it.”

I put the dog in the car, took it straight to the old mother-in-law’s house. Opened it up, it’s empty there, smells like no life at all. Told the dog everything. The dog listened, didn’t believe me, but didn’t fight or offend me in any way. I took the dog to the cemetery, showed it the grave. That’s when the mother-in-law’s neighbor came over after visiting family’s graves. We opened a bottle of vodka, drank to their memory, offered some to the dog, had a chat. Suddenly the dog REALIZED IT. Raised its head to the air, and howled. Then it lay down by the grave, and stayed that way, head stuck under its paws. I didn’t rush anything. When the dog was ready, so was I. Together we went to my car.

My family didn’t recognize the dog. When I told them the story, they didn’t believe me. I told them what the little lady taught me, and what came out of it. My son didn’t listen to the end of it, grabbed his jacket and car keys, demands the lady’s address. “What for?” – “Dad, I will marry her!” – “You’re nuts! You didn’t even see her!” – “Dad, if she got into the dog’s situation, do you think she won’t understand me?”. Anyway, three months later they got married. Now I’ve got three grandkids growing up. And the dog? The dog is trustworthy, calm, behaves, listens, incredibly smart old dog, helps to look after the kids. And they brush its teeth at night.


image was copied from https://www.pinterest.com.au/pin/397090892115085574/ thanks.

Can’t Hear a Thing

cartoon7151Among things we as humans do, such as move, produce, preserve, and copulate, there is one more thing that we can do really well, and yet often fail at. It’s communicating.

Funny enough, in the world of today where communicating is recognized as vital, and with many different ways of communicating are invented, starting with education of languages and lectures on body language, and ending with phones, faxes, and whatever else they’ve invented lately that I’ve missed, we fail to communicate so much.

And that’s amazing, considering that we communicate all the time. When I write this, you read it, so I’ve communicated to you what I think and feel, and whether you agreed or disagreed with it, you can’t help but receive the information that I’ve shared. When you stand in front of me and talk, I hear you, but I also read your face expressing how you feel about what you’re saying, and I can also pay attention to your hands and the rest of your body reacting to what is being said or what you really thought. We share that information and most of us are inherently good at it.

And yet, so often we communicate and not pay attention to what was communicated to us. So often we listen, but we don’t hear. And so often we don’t even try to listen, just pass by, thinking something else is important. I am guilty of that. I can be so lost in thoughts that I am lost for words when they need to be said. Whether it is to say that I agree, or to say I’m sorry, or to provide an insight, often I just seem to think there are more important things to pay attention to right at that moment, and I ignore others. Or sometimes I am so lost in my thoughts that I miss or misinterpret what’s being said and make wrong judgements of it and come to negative and upsetting conclusions.

I read a story by Chuck Palaniuk, the author of Fight Club, where he wrote that you only get people’s attention when you disclose that you are diagnosed with or dying from some incurable disease. That’s when people start really paying attention to what you’re saying and how you are feeling.

It is at an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting that we really listen to others. We hear their stories, we think about how it relates to us, we express empathy with our nods and smiles, and after the meeting we talk, we discuss, and often go somewhere to talk about it some more. It is a system that works well for decades. It is not unique though, because people do that on a regular basis. People talk, people solve problems by discussing it. Only in AA meeting we discuss something that, if left unspoken, may literally destroy person’s life. That’s why we make sure we give a word to a newcomer, even if they don’t feel like talking in front of strangers.

The fact that this fellowship exists is a great thing. Over a decade ago it saved my life, just like for the last 80 years it was saving lives of thousands. But I can’t help but wonder if there could be less reasons for AA’s existence if we, the humans in general, could originally communicate better.

What if we could talk without being hurtful so that we wouldn’t cause people to look for a potentially dangerous outlet, such as drugs and alcohol? What if we didn’t produce so much alcohol that we needed to advertise it so rampantly? Remember, advertising is communication too, just as a movie you watched, or a book you read, only TV or Internet ads provide short ideas faster and with a shock value that successfully affects your mental faculties, promising you desires to be fulfilled. A powerful language to present ideas, and dangerous at that.

Could we advertise more ideas of hope and kindness than what to buy, where, for how much, and where it is less expensive and move convenient? Would we improve our lives with more products… or with more hope and understanding that we should care for others? So often I realize that it is not what we say to others, but how we say it that has more lasting effect, negative and positive.

Unfortunately, I don’t know if these questions can be answered. Thus, I focus on what’s at hand and stay sober and go to my AA home group meetings. Communication is power, and AA is based on communication. Without, it AA won’t work. We speak, we listen, we share, we read recovery books, and when we pray, it is communication to, isn’t it?

So now that we are afflicted, since the failures of communication already happened to plague us, let’s try to connect better. Maybe let’s do a better effort to listen to those that need to speak, with our loved ones (especially with them, because we may think we had a perfect connection, but we’re so often take it for granted), with our friends, with strangers, on a bus, on a street, in a group, even if we have no time, or desire to do so. Somebody’s life and sanity may depend on it.

I guess, I have to start with myself. Writing this is only the first step of dealing with it.


image copied from https://www.andertoons.com/speaking/cartoon/7151/know-youre-new-but-its-hear-ye-hear-ye-not-listen-up-people thanks.