Our local Farm and Garden Co-op welcomes pets accompanied by an adult. I had never taken Zoe into a store before and was interested to see how she would do.
Although I intended this trip as a simple fact-finding mission as well as a little entertainment, I became nervous: I envisioned Zoe over-reacting and barking at every person wearing a hat, sporting a beard, or carrying anything suspicious in her view. I began to prepare for a march right through that store, avoiding as many distractions and people as possible, grabbing a bag of our favorite dog food, hurrying to the cashier, and walking directly back out to the safety of our van. I visualized this scheme several times, looking for and patching any holes in that plan.
My inner control-freak was in full swing.
The trip did not go quite as envisioned. Zoe was naturally curious and sweetly interested in all the new surroundings (automatic sliding doors!), but as soon as we passed over the welcome carpet and onto the linoleum …
Poor Zoe with her arthritic hips landed spread eagle onto her belly. The floor was slippery! That is an aspect of this little visit I did not predict!
Of course, my brain was still locked onto the original plan like a heat-seeking missile as I dragged my poor dear dog along and completed the mission. The entire time Zoe was a delighted and a well-mannered trooper.
How much better it would have been for both of us if I had simply relished our first little visit to the store, keeping it short but unhurried, with no preconceived notions of doom. Perhaps if I had not been intent on desperately marching her along she would not have slipped. Or, if she had slipped nonetheless, I should have slowed way the heck down and let her (and myself) regroup before continuing.
Another trip to the store is in order: a redo; a chance for redemption. This next time I’ll be more in the moment. I will trust my own leadership skills and let my dog simply enjoy being somewhere unfamiliar and exciting.
Dogs are a healing force to our frail human souls. They consistently demonstrate living in the moment. Uncontrolling, letting life unravel with all it’s delights and surprises. They fall flat on their face but get right back up to continue on.
I esteem to be more like my dogs.
P.S. I did redeem myself with another trip to the co-op with Zoe. This time she walked sure-footed and had a chance to admire all the cool merchandise. And I took great pleasure in watching her explore with head lifted high and glee in her eyes.