Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Possessive


This morning I dropped Scout off at Day Care. I stopped to watch her run and play with the other dogs before leaving. I love to hear the Day Care people praise her. They talk about how social she is, her cute ears, her little howls, how she loved to be petted. I want to get her a t-shirt that says, "Plays well with others," because she does.

I remember back when a dog behaviorist told us that Scout Would Never Be Able to Go To Day Care. Not that we would have been able to afford it, then. We just knew she was a highly energetic dog, and wondered about different outlets for her energy. Day Care would be out of the question, this person said. That was Final.

Some people who know Scout well, know also that she is, in some ways, a Deeply Flawed Dog. She was diagnosed, at 10 or 11 weeks, as "Possessive." That means that she got snarly when she wanted something. Scout was never possessive about her toys. No, it was plastic bags, or paper towels, or socks, or soap (she still likes soap). All things she wanted, but that we didn't want her to have. She would fight us for that.

Lest you think this is kind of funny, she even bit me once, drawing blood. She wanted to eat a plastic bag; I didn't want her to. I won, but at great cost. After that, we really got serious about handling her possessiveness.


Now she hasn't had an incident for over a year. I know that she's still possesssive. She, and we, just handle it differently. She's gotten less anxious about "stuff"; so have we. We've learned that this is one of the keys to handling her behavior.


I think about being possessive a lot, though. A dog who is possessive is considered Deeply Flawed. She is supposed to cheerfully give up everything she owns to her Leader, in trust and submission. Humans, on the other hand, are a possessive breed. It seems normal to grab and to accumulate, and to fight over our possessions, as well.


On this, the first Wednesday in Advent, I've been thinking a lot about Scout, and about being possessive. She has taught me a lot about what it means to live in gratitude, and to trust, to make room for the next good thing that may come my way. She has taught me about how Deeply Flawed I am, and how grateful still that she loves me.


She has taught me as well that even those who are Deeply Flawed deserve to be loved.

13 comments:

RevDrKate said...

And need it ever so much more than those who are not.

"PS" (a.k.a. purple) said...

May it be so for all!

mompriest said...

Need to be loved, but also, are in fact loveable. and able to love back...so glad you have Scout and she has you!

Songbird said...

It's amazing how they teach us. I'm glad you and Scout are together.

Wyldth1ng said...

There may be hope for me yet. :)

zorra said...

Amen. Animals and humans too.
I'm happy for how far Scout has come.

FranIAm said...

Oh my- this is a remarkable post. Thank you.

Blessings to you, John and Scout.

Possessive... I sadly know a little bit about that even if I never bit anyone.

DogBlogger said...

What Fran said.

And thanks for this wonderful post.

LawAndGospel said...

A dog who is possessive is considered Deeply Flawed. Fighting over a plastic bag. Thinking about us humans and what we fight over and for. Hmm..great post on this, and also on our relationships with our animals and she is so CUTE! A seminarian friend of mine gave a sermon on the "God of Second Chances" - sounds like this is the God who brought Scout to you to love.

lj said...

Diane, there's a book waiting to be written of your dog theology lessons.

Rowan The Dog said...

What a great dog!

Katherine E. said...

"Deeply flawed." Diane, this is a marvelous post. So engaging.

Kievas said...

Great post...we also have a Deeply Flawed dog, but our lives would be very, very different without all that we have learned from him.