What do you do with a problem child? You know the type: those who never seem to get it. They are the first to screw up and the last to apologize. They are incorrigible, self-absorbed, stubborn, rebellious, do not take to punishment well, and they are certainly not made to succeed in school or other structured formats.
Podrick himself is an Iberian hound, a breed infamous for not handling punitive measures well. He did not have a happy childhood. He grew up on the streets. He was mistreated wherever he went and only knew violence. Podrick fought for the scraps he found and somehow survived. If he was human his nickname would surely be “Shifty…”
Two wonderful people took him in and gave him a home and a structured life; he no longer had to fight for his meals. The owners had patience with him, something that must be noted for all of the reasons listed above and more.
It is easy to take someone out of the streets, a famous expression goes, but difficult to take the streets out of that person–or animal. When someone shows him attention or is about to give him a treat and another dog comes–he now lives with 5 others–he will get jealous and snap at the interloper. When I take the dogs for a walk he’s the first to cause problems: if you put a leash on him he will not walk. It’s either Podrick without a leash or no one walks.
Then, during the walk, if you pass anyone he’s the first to rush up and bark. If that person also has a dog-good luck. Podrick is always the first one ready to scrap. He’s like an Irish street urchin, a little Connor McGregor. At home he lives with two mastiffs, one of them has 100 pounds or more on him–does he care about his chances in a fight against Chewie? He does not.
He is the first to dart into the forest to chase something and get lost. He once chased a cat up into a tree–he followed it up! When the cat jumped down, about 10 feet, he did too.
He will never heel. He will never heed your commands. He will never know respect or care for another creature. He trusts no one and, at least when he came to live here, was very aggressive because of the permanent fear that camped inside.
So what does one do with such a creature? Send him to an expensive doggie boarding school, where dog psychologists and trainers can look after him 24/7? I’m sure many guys out there have also considered another possibility.
Someone who is, obviously, of little use to anyone or himself is best suited to take a long journey to the other side, if you get my meaning. Put him to sleep and let god sort ‘em out!
Before we go ahead and do that, let’s all remember one thing: Podrick is the way he is because of his environment. He grew up living this way, and no other, and has all these problems because of it. He sure as Hell did not create or help design this place to his liking. Further, how many of us “get it?” How many of us cruise through this life because it all makes such perfect sense?
How many of us are mistake-free? How many are ready to apologize for their mistakes (America certainly isn’t, see “Slavery” and the pesky Native American problem)? How many of us are always ready to change and better ourselves? How many of us are ready, for example, to do something with the information that sugar, red meat, and gluten are not good for you and WILL cause health issues at some point down the road?
How many are open to new ideas and do not quibble about using them to get through the day? How many of us understand that punishment can be for our own good, and that learning is so good for us that we should engage in this activity as often as possible?
Finally: and be honest, how many of us are shining examples of physical, mental, and emotional health? I once knew a woman that always showered with the lights off because she couldn’t stand the way her naked body looked. I met another recently who cannot be alone in silence. She always listens to headphones and sleeps with the TV on. She is suicidal.
Agile readers will have already guessed what I am trying to say here: if you get rid of Podrick, because he is a danger to society and no good for himself or anyone else, you’ll have to keep those ovens stoked. Podrick won’t be the only one visiting the Happy Hunting Grounds today.
*Side note: this mentality of doing away with whatever doesn’t fit is motivated by greed. There is unlimited abundance out there to be had, the abundance a dog will fight over in the streets, but only if we all play the game. It is no more easy to refuse this abundance than it is to refuse anything that gives us great pleasure, WHICH MEANS…one day they’ll be coming for you…
Instead of ending this piece on a frown-face emoji depressing note, however, I will inform you that, in fact, there is something Podrick responds to very well (besides food).
With 5 other dogs to compete with, the small but wilful Podrick has to be firm to make sure he gets enough attention and doesn’t feel shortchanged with his morning massage.
Should one of these things happen, he is immediately thrust into the earlier version of himself. He bares his teeth and snaps, he is aggressive. He does his best but fails to mask his fear. Most of all, he doubts that his own personal Hell is ancient history and he is now in Paradise.
We should all be able to understand Podrick. We are all mistrustful, full of doubts, are afraid and confused, especially when we start something new. As soon as we leave our familiar little comfort zone–no matter how uncomfortable this zone may really be–make new decisions and make the leap: that’s when things get nerve-racking.
The best medicine for these situations is love. Sometimes little creatures need help standing on their own two (or four) legs, and love props us up. Showing people who are having trouble adjusting a little extra attention is a way to show that love and support; a way to build bridges. At times this action may seem difficult: why should Podrick be rewarded when the others are cheated because of him?
Our walks are the best example. Three of the dogs are well-behaved and always return whether they have a leash on or not. Podrick and the two mastiffs, however, is a crapshoot. After letting them run off the leash one day they took off and didn’t return until 6 hours later. Podrick is the first to lead the others astray.
But since he won’t move with a leash on, the two mastiffs are always forced to wear a leash. They suffer for his faults.
But giving him the love he needs also comes back; he is grateful and shows in the way he accompanies us wherever we go. Yes, the little rebel inside shows its face every now and then, but he is much more at peace now, and we’re all grateful about that.
He lets himself fall into life with all of its wonderful possibilities.
I’m sure we can all learn something from Podrick.
#priorities #loverules #gettogether #helpdonthinder