She stayed for a long time, baffling us with her tenacious appetite, her habit of perching cat-like on windowsills, and the way she completely pushed LB around. We were even more baffled that LB let her.
Anytime LB went to play, Buko literally stole the toy from his mouth. She constantly ate both his food and her own, until we had to resort to holding her in our arms while LB could get some for himself. Buko chased LB through the house, physically shoving him aside with her shoulders and her rear end. Anytime LB laid down for a nap, Buko shoved him away from his chosen spot.
By the end of the first day, LB was worn out and exhausted. He had had enough of this new house-guest.
Disclaimer: I love Buko with all my heart. She is sweet, loving, energetic, playful, and has the most beautiful eyes of any dog I’ve ever seen. I hold nothing against her for being such a stink to LB… he WAS the runt of the litter, after all.
Anyway, after a few days of watching the puppies play (read: struggle for dominance), I formulated some pretty interesting thoughts.
Who knew the actions of two sweet animals could have anything to do with me, and my life?
If there’s anything I believe in, it’s that dogs can really teach us a lot.
As I watched LB dwindle into acceptance of his harassment, I realized that I was watching a pretty realistic depiction of the way depression sometimes works in the lives of those who experience it.
Think about this:
After days of being pushed away from his favorite toys, LB wouldn’t even go after the ball if we threw it. He would sit and watch Buko take it. Every time. Even waving the toy in front of his nose, he wasn’t interested. He’d rather sit and watch.
After days of lost sleep, LB seemed to trot around in a little bit of a daze. Every time he tried to sleep, Buko shoved him rudely awake.
Before long, LB would even turn to look at Buko before obeying our commands, as though asking her permission.
How often do we lose interest in activities that interest us when our moods seem to push us away?
How many sleepless nights does it take for you to feel groggy and exhausted?
How often do we let our perceived problems hold permission over how we spend our days?
It’s so easy to fall into the ruts of negative thinking. It’s so hard to get out once you’re there.
But the day does come, eventually, when you wake up and want to play again. That glorious moment arrives when the ball is thrown your way, and you race after it, victorious.
Finally, you wake up and you are once again master of your own household, no house-guest in sight.
Something that is so hard to understand (for me, personally) is that depression does not involve a choice. Sometimes, no amount of willpower can change the situation. Not even a little bit.
Trust me… if sheer willpower could change my situation, I have enough to be queen of the world tonight.
The day finally came for me when I realized I could no longer force myself to do things, and I began the journey to treating myself with a lot more leniency and respect.
Whatever might be “dogging” you and forcing you away from the life you dream of living, know that you can handle it. Even if it takes something beyond willpower. Even if it takes a miracle.
Don’t let your problems be the Buko to your precious LB. Do what you can to fight back.
An old Cherokee chief was teaching his grandson about life…
“A fight is going on inside me,” he said to the boy.
“It is a terrible fight and it is between two wolves.
“One is evil – he is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, self-doubt, and ego.
“The other is good – he is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith.
“This same fight is going on inside you – and inside every other person, too.”
The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather,
“Which wolf will win?”
The old chief simply replied,
“The one you feed.”