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Helping him find his inner dog…

I sure wish I could say that I subscribe to and uphold a daily practice of yoga and meditation. Oh, how I admire those who can, and do. Certainly, Downward Facing Dog, Adho Mukha Svanasana, has it’s health benefits, not the least of which is building strength and flexibility in the upper arms, shoulders, calves, and ham strings. I highly recommend it. And, of course, a major spiritual benefit of all yoga practice: learning to focus and channel the body’s energy inward.

Sadly, I don’t maintain such a daily practice of meditation. I just can’t sit still long enough. I tried it once. Maybe when I’m 60 I’ll try it again. For now, anything that has to do with self-examination and reflection must be done while I’m walking. Or driving. Or practicing. Or weeding the garden pond. Or cleaning the litter box. Oh, I’m pleased as punch to work on centering myself, so long as I don’t have to sit, motionless, to do it.

Aaron coming up the stairs

Aaron coming up the stairs

Still, these past few days with our Aaron have been a time of great mindfulness and attention to where his energy lies, and my own. I’m trying to answer the question, “What does Aaron need from me?” rather than, “What do I need from Aaron?”. The truth is, I don’t need anything from this dog. This is truly “all about Aaron.” At it’s core, really, I’m just trying to help him discover his inner dog. That sounds so Zen, doesn’t it? I’m doing my very best to pull my energy in, so that it is not quite so scattered. Aaron and I are working together to create a clear vision of a goal… what we’re trying to accomplish. Trust. Kinship. Confidence, particularly in challenging circumstances. Comfort with surroundings. Willingness to accept physical affection. A new home. With no sense of linear time attached.

Aaron out the front door

Aaron out the front door

I told Aaron that he will go outside when he’s ready. I’m not going to pick him up and I’m not going to drag him. The door is open. I’ll do a little bit of coaxing, but it’s going to be up to him. A few days ago he accepted a martingale collar. He didn’t even freak out. He’s good with it, in fact. It’s Jazzie’s collar and she wears it when she’s out visiting. I didn’t ask him, but he seems rather proud of it. I think it’s Aaron’s collar now.

Jazz waits patiently

Jazz waits patiently

Last night we began with a long line. We targeted it for a few minutes: Touch – “yes!”- treat. Touch – “yes!” – treat. Repeat. Touch – “yes!”- treat. Touch – “yes!” – treat. Then we attached the line to the sporty martingale collar. “Yeeeeesssss!” BIG treat. BIG, BIG treat.

Today, we began our journey up the basement stairs to the great outdoors.  And out the front door. Jazz waited patiently and gave him space.

He’s a good boy, that Aaron. He did it on his own. He’s discovering his inner dog.