Sunday, April 1, 2012


 There is a very nice fellow who also walks in the park behind Starbucks. He is tall and looks capable and might be from Bosnia, or maybe Russia. And he walks a small nicely ratty-looking dog who is a bit timid. He is always on the phone but stoops to befriend Tulip who really doesn't want anything to do with  him. She is generally afraid, especially of other dogs, and this fear masks itself in ferocious barking at them, pulling on the leash and jumping around. She occasionally barks at men walking by, but never at this gentle guy. She just dodges his hand.

Right now Tulip is guarding some food on the couch. This means that if I get close to her, she enlarges by two or three feet, snarling and snapping. She was deprived and mis-treated and it truly was a mistake to get a dog on line, from the south, sent up to me, sight-unseen. They did not tell me that she was so tangled and neglected that she couldn't walk when she was given to the shelter.

The kindly fellow says, "It takes time. She'll be alright.
I find it fascinating that dogs harbor/remember/are inhibited and inhabited by so many early impressions that they act out in various ways. Bogie had a very good puppyhood, but he learned to shake himself when I put the leash on him, in addition to sitting as he was told. Once he tried that, he never unlearned that pattern, sit, shake, leash put on, go out.

When he was less than two, his back legs began shaking. Nothing serious, just some neurological glitch. Now his whole body shakes when he's distressed by some assault -- something not going his way --  Sherlock trying to prevent him from walking through a doorway or a car backfire. Fireworks terrify him.

I imagine there are many gradations of responses to our hold-ons from childhood, but there certainly are polar opposites in opinions about whether early experience effects us.  I remember being very perplexed when someone said, "It's over and done with. And certainly can't still be effecting you." That is what I consider an insane view of the residue of our childhoods in us....   On the other hand is the irony of having to take ourselves in hand to teach ourselves whatever we might not have been taught early on....self-care, assertiveness, goal setting... whatever.


  1. It is amazing how much our pasts, and those of dogs too impact on us and them. But it must be so much harder for dogs. As far as I know they can't get help through therapy to deal with the trauma of their pasts like we humans can, but I'm sure they benefit from compassion and kind handling.

  2. It's obvious to me that our pasts effect who we are today, but thank goodness we are able to teach ourselves new and different and better ways.

  3. as elisabeth says: we all benefit from compassion, kind handling, a pat or 40 on the head, and as many treats as possible...

    little tulip. i wouldnt mind being a tangled-hair doggie in the shook household.

  4. Yes, the old bad stuff stays with us, yet somehow we get beyond it, I think.

    Charming post!

  5. thank you, and thank you..for reading my occasional blogs and commenting...