glow notes

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Pit bull lessons, part 1

I have learned more from my dog, Raisin, than I can express. Most of what she has taught me has been positive - seize the day; run like you may not get to run again; relax whenever you can, you never know when a beach trip might pop up; snuggles are as crucial as food and water; your body is like a smoking hot race car just waiting for you to turn on the engine and go; open your heart wide up and ignore the occasional fool that rejects you, etc.

This latest lesson is sort of heart rending. My little 4-legged companion is injured. She started walking without her rear right foot a week ago Sunday. On Tuesday we took her to the vet, who took x-rays and saw a displaced kneecap and some minor hip imbalances. Since then she's been laid up, doped up, and bored. We know that she will heal quickly and completely, but it is hard to explain this to her.

Now, this is a dog who is used to going to either the park or the beach every day. We moved closer to the off-leash park in large part because of her. Taking her out to play is part of our routine, and I look forward to getting some fresh air and down time, to seeing other people and their dogs. It's a nice after work activity.

But anyhow.

Raisin has never loved her dog food. It's ok, she says, but she prefers peanut butter, tuna fish, salmon, any-fish-will-do-really, steak, and treats. Especially those really nasty smelling fake bacon treats. She has always had a full bowl of food sitting out, which she munched on whenever she got good and hungry.

A week after her injury, I noticed that she was putting on a little weight. Then I noticed that she seemed to be eating more dry food than usual. So, I started rationing her food.

Her new tendency to overeat may be a side effect of her pain medication or the sedative we're giving her to keep her from going nuts (perhaps it is related to marinol?), but it may also be that she is eating out of boredom because she is, for the moment, unable to do what she was born to do which is, in short, to be free, to play, to romp and wiggle.

This got me to thinking about us humans. How many of us have even discovered what we were born to do, much less feel truly free to do it? I have one friend who was clearly born to write (among other things), and she does this quite often and admirably well. She also has a day job to pay the mortgage. She's a leg up on many of us, in terms of finding her North Star (this is what I call your calling, the path that you were born to walk - more on this later - from Martha Beck's Finding Your Own North Star, definitely worth reading).

If we humans either aren't aware of our calling OR aren't free to do it all the damned time, what does that do to us? Do we tend to overeat? Under-move? Smoke weed and watch B movies? Sure, our particular vices/coping mechanisms vary, but we do something to make up for that aching feeling that we aren't living our lives fully.

So, my tiny Bodhisattva comes through again with a life lesson. Now, on to following my North Star!


  • At 8:38 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    "When you keep people from doing what they do best, it makes them insane." -- Law & Order


  • At 2:35 PM, Anonymous hiking companion said…

    Hi Ellie. Do you by any chance know of any sites which help people to find a 'hiking companion'? I found this one 'hiking companion' ; do you know of any others? Many thanks


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