If you don’t think ignorance is bliss, learn about something and then try dating. I don’t know much about much, but I know a little about exactly three things; gingerbread houses, fitness, and dogs. The first two don’t really get in the way of dating but the third; it’s the Achilles Heal of my dating life.
I’ve always been a dog person. As a kid, it’s all I ever wanted for my birthday or Christmas ever! I never got one, but I watched the neighborhood dogs with unbridled curiosity and admittedly nothing they did ever made any sense. It wasn’t until I got my first dog that I started to unravel the mysteries of the canine “mind”.
I had to kill him to do it too.
Because I had followed the wrong advice perfectly, I destroyed my first dog so thoroughly that I had to put him to sleep before he was two.
The stakes were extremely high that I figure out what went wrong.
I found myself at the door of a tall, lanky, eccentric dog trainer who turned out to be the Nation’s #1 dog rehab specialist and simply told him I wanted to know everything he knew. I’m not sure why he agreed, but from that moment I began literally following him around. For 20 years. We ran workshops, we had a television show, we trained my second dog and I spent countless hours sobbing in the woods at the way in which I had perceived the universe so completely wrong. The ways my arrogance had caused so much pain, the way my fear and need to control had lead to the destruction of the the spirit of my dog. It was a big come to Jesus experience.
So I went deep, deep, deep into getting it all. How the Universe is perfect after all, how it is all designed to work beautifully and we don’t need to teach, or change, or control but simply to allow the process to unfold. Birds always make a circle before they land, dogs always make a circle before they lay down, birds navigate by some mysterious force and dogs know when their owners are coming home; it all fit together perfectly.
So this means that I have very strong opinions about dogs; how someone’s relationship with their dog almost never has anything to do with what is best for the dog but is more about the person themselves. So men who use those annoying retractable leashes turn out to be men without wills; they get pulled every which way by their dogs and by life. The Pack Leaders bully their dogs into submission because they need to be in control and dominate. The spoilers are trying to heal some inner wound that’s more about the lack they feel in themselves than the dog’s needs.
It’s a problem!
You see, the retractable leash guys have no spine and I can’t live with that. The pack leaders are just bullies who think a good smack now and again will keep me in line, and the spoilers just need to grow the fuck up. I want a man not a child.
I have found that of all ideas people hold, the ideas that have about dogs are the hardest ones to change. For me, I had to murder my own dog to get it. How many people get that kind of gift?
The problem is, how you see dogs is how you see the world, and you either think it’s a perfect universe or you don’t. If you think it’s “man’s” job to fix it all, and that dogs don’t naturally know how to be dogs, well, you’ll probably try to fix me. If you think you can only get someone to do the right thing by dominating them; um, don’t sign me up. If you think you have no say and no will, we got a problem. If you need a dog to fulfill an emotional need, you’re going to want me to do that. Not my job. And no, I don’t want to take our dogs, or my dog, or your dog for a walk; it doesn’t interest me because dating and dog walking have nothing to do with each other.
I don’t want to date your dog.
So for now, it’s just me and my dog. For me, that is who she is, just my dog in all of her doggie wonderfulness; she’s not my lover, she’s not my friend substitute, she’s not my emotional band-aid or my way to vent rage. I feed her, throw her a stick once in a while and we call it good. Any thing else would be a total disservice to her. That’s what matters, because she is the dog and it’s my job to honor that.