The sign from yesterday is how the dogs greeted Jack, a little 8 year-old boy. Lucy barked at him, Cleo politely greeted, but Anubis, in a frantic attempt to claim Jack as his own, wouldn’t stop jumping on him. Now granted, the dogs are all small but being greeted (and I say with tongue in cheek) by Lucy (Beagle), at 16″ and 26 pounds, Cleo, (Beagle) is 8″ and 16 pounds, and Anubis, Italian Greyhound)is 16″ and 9 pounds can be unsettling at best–and it was! Jack didn’t know whether to cry or run.
It wasn’t always this way. There was a time when the dogs were calm and I didn’t have to be concerned about their social skills. But, that changed when I adopted Anubis. Anubis was intended to be a playmate for Cleo. I had adopted Cleo in early 2011 as a companion for Lucy. Lucy, who belongs to Jonathan, my former partner, came to live with me when Jonathan became too ill to care for her. Our agreement was that I would keep Lucy until Jonathan could get back on his feet.
Now, I don’t know about you but I prefer having two dogs to having one dog. The second dog, when it is the right match, seems to add something special–more joy! But, with dogs, it is more about energy levels in determining pack hierarchy than gender. Lucy, being a medium energy dog, would need a low energy companion for it to be a good fit. That way she could retain the leader role in the hierarchy without having to aggressively defend it. When I found Cleo, a former “Puppy Mill Mama” I felt I had chosen wisely. Cleo, a tiny, low energy Beagle with big, soft brown eyes and a sweet disposition, was more than happy to let Lucy be the top dog.
Fast forward 8 months.
Life is rolling along. Lucy has done a remarkable job helping Cleo learn how to live like a normal dog. There is just one issue I can’t seem to resolve; Lucy won’t play or allow Cleo to sleep with her. Cleo needs both. Circumstances have changed for Jonathan and it appears that Lucy will be going back to him soon. With that in mind, I decide to begin the search for another dog who will be a good fit as Cleo’s companion. It isn’t long before I find Anubis. This dog must have simply gotten lost because when he was found, he was in good condition. Obviously well cared for, Anubis had been socialized and trained (he knew “sit” and “stay” and could shake hands). Again, I feel I have chosen wisely because Anubis is a low energy dog and won’t mind letting Cleo be the leader.
Fast forward 6 months.
All hell has broken loose in my house. Circumstances with Jonathan have changed again and Lucy is still with me. I don’t mind having Lucy, she is a great dog; very well-mannered, sweet- tempered, quiet, respectful and a good watch dog. Sweet, adorable Anubis, contrary to what the rescue organization stated, has proven to not to be a low energy dog. He is a medium energy dog–with a dominant personality. I had planned to deal with Lucy not wanting another dog, but I had not planned for her to still be with me–and for her and Anubis to fight. Anubis, feeling threatened, naturally challenges Lucy. If he can become top dog, he will feel more secure. If it were just the conflict between Anubis and Lucy, I’d be okay–but there is more; Anubis and Lucy fight over Cleo. Easy-going Cleo, being low energy and submissive, is caught in the middle.
So there you have it. Anubis is stressed and acting out, while Lucy, upset at having to deal with “the kids” has developed stomach problems and Cleo, unable to stop the conflict over her, has a compulsive licking habit. The stress of trying to handle the dogs has created a chronic energy drain for me. Now does it make sense why my Soul would provide such a blatant sign in the form of a visit from Jack, the little boy? But, of course, I ignored the sign.
So why have I ignored it, along with all the ones that came before? There are 3 reasons:
1. I love these dogs and need the joy they bring into my life. I also need the distraction they provide from the pain of the grief I’ve been moving through.
2. I bought into the belief (common among dog owners) that we get the dogs we need rather than the ones we want.
3. I’ll feel like a total failure and a bad person if I give up one of them.
What is the solution?
1. Let go of one of the dogs. I have to be honest with myself; I don’t have enough energy to retain pack leader status for this particular pack of dogs (3 is a pack).
2. Let go with the understanding that it is no one’s fault. It wasn’t intentional that things ended up this way. I could not have known that Lucy would react to Cleo as she did, and the rescue organization could not have known Anubis’s true temperament because he was depressed and frightened when he was there.
3. Let my Soul and my guides decide which dog should go. Experience has taught me that I don’t have the foresight to create the highest good, but my Soul and guides do. My job is to be at peace with the choice and have faith that the one who is to leave will be going to a better situation than I was able to provide.
3. Recognize this as another soul lesson about loving myself. In other words, this situation has shown me where I am willing to sacrifice myself to the point of a chronic energy drain in order to be for others. I was putting the dog’s first–along with my need to avoid feeling like a failure by giving one dog up. I’m feeling the fear, knowing this is going to hurt but willing to do it anyway.
Where am I now?
I’ve awakened each morning with a burst of energy. I’m upbeat and positive with the sense of having a huge weight lifted from my shoulder (I can also feel it in my power chakra; not churning in turmoil anymore). This is a clear sign that my Inner Child is happy and my Soul is satisfied. We will see what transpires next.
In closing, recognizing an energy drain is not easy; the reason is that we have blinded ourselves to it because of a need and/or a fear. But what we can count on is that the Inner Child and Soul will continue to send us signs until we realize that enough is enough!
In next time…