“This little bastard is a blue?” I asked a couple of seasoned volunteers on my way out the kennel door as the little 10-pound Terrier locked his jaws around my pant leg. ‘Blue’ dogs are supposedly gentler and easier t0 handle for us newbies at the animal rescue I recently began helping out at.
But this one – I’ll keep him anonymous for purposes of not blowing his adoption chances – somehow eluded the coding process and weaseled into the Blue camp.
Only later, though, did I realize what a blessing it was to work with him today. After wrestling him into his harness (I had to solicit the help of another volunteer to get him buckled up), I immediately wanted to put him back. At that moment, however, I realized I was reacting without first considering the consequences of my actions.
We do this in life so often. Years of yoga is helping me, at the very minimum, notice when I’m reacting to a circumstance without first considering the potential consequences. Extended Side Angle on the right side gets me every time – I have what seems to be a permanently strained inner groin muscle that screams after two or three breaths in. As a result, I typically want to bail out of the pose before making it to the second or third breath. But bailing, in this case, equals failing – failing my intention to grow stronger, to develop discipline, to truly experience Asana.
Likewise, as I yearned to spin on my heel and lock the little Terror of a Terrier back in his crate, I realized how out of alignment that action was with my intention. My intention as a volunteer is to help socialize these animals, provide much-needed love and attention so they can become adoptable. So too is my intention to develop courage and strength from these pups – overcoming any fear associated with certain breeds, energy levels, ‘challenging’ dogs.
Careful consideration before caving into my reaction allowed me to eventually bond with him, calm him down, and give him an opportunity to develop just a little more trust toward humans.
So thank, you little Terror of a Terrier, for challenging me today and forcing me out of my comfort zone. I’ll be back soon, with a treat and a shin guard!