Monday, May 12, 2014

dog fights and raised voices

Hazel got in a fight last week. It wasn't a fight per se. More of a jealousy, protective fueled pinning to the ground and growling fit. But fight's shorter.

You see, I was outside talking to a neighbor. His little, fluffy, unassuming dog came over at the same time that Hazel broke free from our front door (bad dog move #1). The neighbor's dog barked at me in the you're in my street way that dogs do. And, Hazel went apeshit (bad dog move #2). Thankfully being the graceful, composed dog owner I am I tackled my heathen mutt to the ground and whacked her snout for acting like an animal -which I've told her many times she is, but with a higher calling to act civilized.

All the dogs involved were fine. Good. Dog-like. And I was embarrassed both about my dog acting like a freakin' animal, my scraped up knees, and the good chance that in the scuffle I showed him my floral undies that I had under my sweet summer dress (thank goodness the dress wasn't ruined).

I was embarrassed and mad and unsure what to do. So I said sorry a lot of times. And he, he showed me such grace. He said, "she was protecting you just like good dogs do." 

I was floored. My seventy-five pound sack of dog instinct just took down your fluffernut and you tell me she's doing what dogs were meant to do? Holy heavens. He wrecked me, right there, mid-street, post dog scuffle, bloody kneed.
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You see, earlier that afternoon, I'd raised my voice at Darryl, the customer service representative assigned to my unsatisfactory technical support survey (again). After hanging up with him, I was still frustrated and, yet, ashamed for yelling at him. I'd justified my behaviors (to myself) because he did it first -raised his voice, that is.

It was the end of his work day -mine too- and he probably was tired -just like me. He wanted to help me, to understand the issues at hand, but I was insolent, over the struggle of constant service loss, impatient at ALL. THE. ISP. THINGS. I didn't like his answers to my questions.

So, I said, you can't tell me because they said so. I got him heated -sort of on purpose. Then reacted with my own white, hot anger. Maybe he was protecting his job just like good workers do. Maybe he was protecting his employer just like good employees do. Maybe he was protecting himself like good men do.

Damn, maybe, he needed grace just as bad as I.
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I gave the neighbors a bag of loaded cookie bars (you should make yourself some). And Hazel gave a bag of dog treats in apology. But Darryl, he got nothing but my guilty heart and a humble grace next time because that's how these lessons work -reappearing until grace abounds and we get it right for once.

Bad answers. Protective dogs. Scuffles and screams. Or grace. Lots of grace.


  1. It was so nice of your neighbor to be so understanding! And we all lose our patience from time to time. I think we have to just keep trying to give people the benefit of the doubt. :)

  2. well you definitely lucked out in the neighbor department. that would ruin some relationships right quick. but what a difference just a pinch of understanding can make. i had my own run-in at a work event last week...and should have given an inch to someone who needed it more than i.

  3. Your neighbor sounds like a good, understanding, cool-headed dog owner. More people need to be like him (including myself).

  4. Wow, your neighbor is really nice! Dogs are very protective of those they love, I guess Hazel felt like you were threatened in some way.

  5. Such a great point. I am the type who gets mad, makes comments, and takes out my frustration on tech support and things like that. I feel terrible afterwards and always resolve that next time, I will be better. But I'm not. Thanks for the reminder that I need some grace too, and that I should just keep trying.

    Also I think I know where the last of my Cadbury egg supply is going... those look amazing...

  6. It's funny how often we can find lessons reflected in similar moments through our days. My dog gets into tussles regularly with one of his dog housemates (out of protection), and I often find at the end of it, he was just doing what a good dog should. It's never easy to deal with 'uh oh' moments - dog or human! It's really beautiful how much you took from these two moments in your life :)

  7. oh sweet hazel! I love her cute little face! I love how simple things like dog fights can teach life lessons! So wonderful!


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