The Point of the Give (Warrior Poet Mental Yoga 179)

 

Pretext Note: This passage begins with observations specifically related to dog behavior, but evolves into a greater message regarding instability and behavioral disorders in people. I sincerely believe this message is of vital importance in regards to anyone who suffers from mental instability and I continue to believe that such instability is primarily a product of a behavioral disorder (a nurtured or learned disorder) as opposed to a pure genetic or medically inherited disease. The parallels of comparative behavior across species are extremely useful in illustrating this theory (and tangential associated theories) in cause, effect, and successful resolution.

A dog raised in a home environment without appropriate structure and boundaries is a dog that has been over-nurtured (spoiled) into believing that it is the master or ruler or supreme authority of all. In the reality of such a situation, that “all” for the dog only applies to its own household (own isolated pack), yet the dog has no profound reason or understanding to interpret its supreme authority of being any less authoritative anywhere outside of its own home (isolated pack). It cannot differentiate the “norm” of its isolated pack as being different from the “norm” of the very different greater world which exists outside of its isolated pack. The dog is thus significantly unsocialized and will be untempered in its accurate interpretation of relational behavior that varies from the over-nurturing it has learned to accept as all that is right and proper for itself.

If we assume that no fear has been added into this developmental equation by the owners, and we take the dog illustrated above and plop him on an exam room table, directly in front of a stable dominant authority figure, the dog will first attempt to flee. If not allowed to flee and not sappily “rescued” by his over-nurturing parents/family, and he is continued to be restrained by the stable dominant authority figure appropriately, the next move of the dog will be to do everything within his power to ignore and negate the reality of the stable authority figure. The dog will try to turn its body away as much as possible and will literally look down or from side to side to avoid having to acknowledge the authority figure who stands before it. If the stable authority figure is persistent enough, they will then repetitively and commandingly make the dog face themselves while making direct eye contact until avoidance of the posture and the glance is relinquished indefinitely. That is the point of the “give” by the dog which signifies that the dog has yielded its supreme authority to another “pack leader” who is more dominant and stable than itself; to a stable dominance which does not become an adversarial force or despotic ruler per se, but a rational and balanced reactive force of structure, accountability, accurate perception, and healthy non-codependent existence and interaction.

The “give” is a beautiful moment for a trainer or behaviorist, and perhaps even more so for the dog. It creates the proper or natural psychological parameters and understandings in the dog for a stable and balanced existence forevermore. It is an escape from instability. The greatest challenge to achieving this “give” comes from the people who are too unaware or too uninterested or too unskilled to lead the dog in a truly stable dominant manner, and aggressively interfere with said stabilization process, they often do, consciously or not.

This entire “dog” scenario (behavioral pitfall, expression, and “therapeutic” intervention), also applies almost verbatim to people. I promise you that. Behavior is behavior is behavior. But, just like a dog, people may escape from such instability. It is a much more complicated endeavor to obtain a “give” from an adult person due to the glitching intricacies of the human psyche, but such a hope and epiphany is still possible. It is a viable reality.

If we are to increase the number of “gives” from/in humanity, if we are to decrease the widespread instability which is present within our numbers, then we must as a whole apply greater effort towards increasing our collective awareness, empathy, skill, and focus towards such intent.

Doing less through passive ease and/or the fostered apathy of delusion, distraction, and willful ignorance has lead to the pervasive instability and behavioral problems which are now all too commonly witnessed throughout the species of “man’s best friend” as well as humanity itself. 

We need to return collectively to openly acknowledging and embracing the grace and universal salvation which is present within the point of the “give.”

Cribb          2017

Millie and the Most Important Thing of All (Warrior Poet Mental Yoga 177)

Millie (age 9) said “So, what is marking? How does someone mark a pet or a person?” and after a sparked involuntary chuckle, Jody’s body gradually recessed into the corner of the sofa and seemed to brace itself for whatever might come. As she did so, her expression whispered to me “well here we go you madman, this ought to be good. . . are you really going to have a college graduate level discussion with my baby girl on behavior and psychology?. . . I can’t even imagine how this is gonna go, but I guess I trust you, you crazed and certifiable lunatic.”

After a long and detailed conversation of what needed to be said and discussed to answer Millie’s question appropriately, she tilted her head to the side with playful comprehension and triumphantly inquired of me, if such a thing can be done, “So, you should never mark anything with fear, right?”

And my smile refused to be caged by any constraints as I replied “That’s right Millie. You got it, you got it! You never mark anyone or anything with fear. It is not easy and it can be very very hard not to accidentally do, but you should never ever mark anyone or anything with fear. That is the most important thing of all.”

Cribb          2017

The Veterinarian – Exchanges and Dealing with the Fear Behind it All (Part 3 of 3)

(continued from parts 1 and 2)

The veterinarian had noted the look of fear on the little girl’s face when he had entered the room. She sat next to her mom and though not exactly clingy in character, she was inwardly withdrawn displaying such in her posture and her mannerisms. Her face revealed doubt, skepticism…..fear. Her mother, seemingly stable and not unnerved in the least, appeared to be ignoring her daughter’s facial expressions and whatever might be lurking beneath them.

“So, how has Shadow been? Has he been doing well at home? Any recent problems or issues that you can think of?” The veterinarians words are directed to the mother along with the majority of his eye contact. Only a fleeting glimpse or two catches the little girl in his periphery as he has intended. His words and tone have also instantly shed any hint of “puppy talk” or “baby talk” or other high pitched sound for these are destabilizing to nervous and fearful creatures. Just as purposefully, he regulates his cadence to a steady and reassuring rhythm, he softens all expression, and he allows his quirky and goofy-ass smile to spread from ear to ear for all to see. These efforts are essential in his endeavor.

The conversation volleys for a moment and then dances back and forth between the mother and the veterinarian, all in good fun and fashion. The daughter watches the interaction, and even if her consciousness does not register the full implication of the exchange, it imprints upon her psyche nonetheless. The veterinarian is slowly creating a healing environment….. a safe and stable orbit, by transforming the energy that is swirling about  the mom, the daughter, and Shadow, their dog.

Before he had even walked into the room and begun his master planetary plan, the veterinarian had been privy to the little girl’s fear. He had overheard an exchange through the door involving her dramatic worry over a routine blood draw that was performed on Shadow by another staff member. The relevance of that marker impacted him immediately. It became exponentially significant a millisecond later when he paired it with an alert that popped up on Shadow’s record. He himself had placed that alert after the last annual visit: Caution – Fear Response.

The veterinarian had sat on the floor in front of both mom and daughter as he had performed his exam on Shadow. This occurred without incident…..without destabilization or negativity of any sort. And such stabilization is impossible to ignore for any creature, even if they don’t understand what is actually happening. After he had finished his exam, mom began asking the veterinarian about Shadow’s behavior at home. Sometimes, he thought, sometimes, it works. Sometimes, they glitch their own Matrix against stability, and then, catch a glimpse of something beyond. Sometimes, you get a chance to support someone else who decides to ask more questions.

It was tortuously wonderful. The veterinarian knew that such a glimmer of hope, no matter how bright and uplifting in its potential, always came with the cost of opening an explosive Pandora’s Box. That box invariably sprung open with the required bombardment of behavioral acknowledgement, reflection, and enlightenment. No matter what words were uttered, in the end, most people preferred their naive delusions and misperceptions to enlightening and unsettling detonations. And most often, the messenger of truth, even when summoned forth with extreme exuberance, would find himself eventually scapegoated, demonized, and crucified. In the end, he would find himself hanging on the cross, all alone, to pay for the sins of others.

Still sitting on the floor, he looked up at mom, gathered his energy and poured it forth into what was most important. “Before we talk about the issues at home, let me tell you what occurred during the exam that I just performed. Shadow displayed signs or markers of fear when I entered the room and before I even touched him. I could see it in his ears being pulled back, his tail being lowered and curled, and his stooped  posture. I know you saw it too, but you may not have understood what those things fully meant. Despite what many people assume, what all of that means, what Shadow is simply saying in dog language, is that he is submitting fully and that he is fearful of his surroundings. In other words, he is nervous and insecure, and as such he would prefer to be left alone. If I really want to help him, I must recognize these signs, his doggy language if you will, and make sure not to reinforce his fear or give it an excuse. The primary glitch everyone has with this concept is that they think fear can only be induced and nurtured by an abusive or violent man. That does happen, but frequently, it isn’t the actual case.”

The veterinarian shifts a little bit as he continues to sit on the floor in a corner of the room. He moves his arms and legs, this way and that, to reposition some of the aching muscles in his legs and back. He pauses his conversation briefly during his stretch. The rolodex of his mind spins. Mom seems to be interested, open, and engaged in the conversation. Shadow also appears to be doing well. Most of his fear has subsided, and he strolls around the room comfortably; his ears are now naturally forward, his tail is level with an occasional wag, and his breathing has become relaxed and almost effortless. He even approaches the veterinarian intermittently for acknowledgement as he circles the room. The daughter still looks nervous, skeptical, and confused. The movements of her eyes and of her head have become more mobile…more free, but her body and arms still seem to be set in stone. The veterinarian knows that look, he knows the daunting fear that dwells inside that little girl, and he bets that it doesn’t have anything to do with abuse or violence. He thinks it a little interesting that in this case, he gets to represent the external world, the real world, not only for Shadow, but also for the daughter.

He looks back at mom. “Okay, you still with me? Are you sure you want to hear the rest?,” and the veterinarian smiles warmly at her. His eyes sparkle at the comical insanity of shared existence and the fact that so many really don’t want to hear the rest. She does, and it makes a difference in everything. It fills him with empathy and a little playful giddiness. She says “Yes. Yes, I do. Please continue. I can see the difference and impact you had on Shadow. I would really like to know.”

“Alrighty then!!!,” he fires back with a chuckle and a pronounced goofy smile, “we see many, many dogs like Shadow. In other words, this behavior is very common and I say that because I want you to know how confused almost everyone happens to be on this issue…I don’t think it is just a problem for your family and Shadow. It is something that we all need to understand. Everyone thinks that they really know their dog, and that they understand his or her behavior. Most owners seem to want to believe that their dogs are just little people and that all they want and need is quote love. It simply isn’t true. It’s a pipe dream and it leads to behavioral problems in some sixty to eighty percent of the dogs that we see here at the clinic. I see a patient like Shadow or even one much worse at least once a day. Sometimes, it happens all day long. The problem is that people smother their puppies and dogs with what we like to call love. The dogs get spoiled beyond belief; given everything they want and more. Behaviorally, that isn’t “love,” its total submission and subservience and dogs don’t really play stupid human games…if you know what I mean…they interpret and respond only to the actual behavior. They get propped up into being the ruler of their domain…the house, and we become their de facto servants responding to their every whim. The dog becomes a Roman god and the owner’s become only worshipping slaves who have openly confessed how unworthy they are to challenge or question such a god.” He takes another momentary breather, allowing for a little digestion of his words. His expressions remain soft and comical. Mom is still engaged. Her posture is relaxed and receptive. The little girl’s face is still neutral, but now it has become subject to short subtle bursts of curiosity. Her legs are now swaying ever so slightly as they hang from her seat and her arms have lost some rigidness as they begin to gently flex. She is opening up and starting to look at the external world. He glows a little brighter inside and tries to look at her like a friendly cartoon character. She makes eye contact, but only as an observer. She is not ready for interaction. Not yet.

He continues “So, people inadvertently prop their dog up to be the master of the make believe and isolated universe within their own home and their own pack through their application of love. That isolated pack and isolated universe become the absolute “norm” and the only training ground for all of the dog’s interactive skills. Anything outside of that universe becomes foreign or alien to the dog. Another way of saying it is that the dog is unsocialized or that he has never been properly exposed to the reality of other packs which exists outside of that isolated and artificial universe. Because the dog has never been properly exposed or socialized to the real outside world, it usually responds with inappropriate fear to anything in that outside world that presents it with even the slightest risk or challenge. This is where the moment of now comes into play. Here, in this room, Shadow is faced with an unknown alien force that has mysteriously dethroned him from being master of the universe. We have done this by restraining him and making him follow normal structure. In comparison to the reality of his situation, his perception is overwhelming fear as to what he interprets as extreme oppression and hostility. Thus, his behavior during the exam; his ears pulled back, his tail tucked, and his cowered posture. To battle that demon, to help him conquer that fear and become more stable, I have to minimize his restraint and not give him a further reason or excuse to dive even deeper into that irrational fear. Delicately, and also at the same time, I cannot show submission to him or the “love” that he is used to getting at home. He will only interpret that as weakness…..and he will disrespect it as such. I have to remain centered and balanced to keep him centered and balanced. My energy has to match his energy, and not go overboard or underboard in its intensity or its response.” The veterinarian shifts his body position once more, but all the while he still remains seated sideways to the owner and her daughter. His orientation to them is less challenging this way, less provoking of any type of anxiety or fear. That’s just the way things work. Shadow inherently knows all of this behavioral language and he accepts it without question. A minute or two ago, he actually relaxed enough to lay down next to the veterinarian, sprawling out comfortably within an easy arm’s reach. He lies right next to the veterinarian’s “personal bubble,” but he does not invade that space. All of his previous anxiety and fear have vanished. They have been replaced by the natural forces of appropriate respect and structure.

The little girl now flirts with the faintest of smiles, here and there, when the veterinarian playfully attracts her attention. Mom still seems to be happy, comfortable, and receptive. The veterinarian pets Shadow for a moment and then addresses mom directly again. “Does all of that make sense? I know I am rambling a bit and covering an awful lot of info, but you asked for it!” His smirky smile is oozing with good hearted irony and the camaraderie of addressing a difficult situation with as much shared humor as is possible. She smiles back at him. “Yep. I get it. It makes a lot of sense. It really does. I’m following you.”

“Just keep in mind that if you quote love or spoil Shadow so much that you make him the master of your universe, you can’t come back and punish him for acting that way. It is what you taught him to do. And, when he acts shy, nervous, or terrified in public, you can’t blame his behavior on anyone or anything else than yourself. You have nurtured and encouraged him to have such misguided and erroneous perceptions of the outside world.  That kind of love, no matter how tempting it may be, is really a poison and it is an enabler that sets him up from the get go for supreme failure. If that type of love becomes the law of the land, most dogs will become a monster in their own home, and a monster and/or a basket case outside of that home. The dog will never be centered or properly socialized. It will be almost impossible for him to remain stable in any environment because his perception of reality will be so distorted. What he needs, what we all need, is not that, but what I call tough love. I guess you could also call it simple respect. With tough love or true respect, you have to remain centered and balanced at all times……well, at least within the natural realms of our capability. You don’t over-nurture or spoil a dog, because it will make them an out-of-touch-with-reality-monster. Doing that is just as evil, if not more so, than over-dominance, over-correction, and performing physical abuse. A lot of the time, we actually see both destructive forces combined in the same household. One leading to or justifying the other. And that is a really really bad situation that will scramble a dog’s brain and make him perpetually neurotic. In your case, you have unfortunately, but understandably, nurtured Shadow into believing that he rules the castle that you and your family live in. He is King and he has been encouraged to make all of the rules. That backfires on him when he is forced to step outside of the castle and face the real world. He cringes in fear when he is forced to deal with or tolerate any figure of potential authority. By eliminating the excessive love or spoiling or over-nurturing that you have been giving him and replacing it with definitive and healthy boundaries, you will lift him up and it will stabilize him. Then true respect or tough love will become the law of the land, and that, that is a very beautiful thing.” The veterinarian rolls over a little before slowly rising from the floor. He does so in the overly exaggerated manner of a rusted Tin Man or a clumsy disoriented Zombie or an ancient hermit who is trying to climb up a mountain; complete with odd groans and exaggerated drama.

And then suddenly, she laughs. The little girl laughs…just a little, but it is still a laugh. And she is smiling, still reserved, but smiling…….and she smiles directly at him for a moment. His lip quivers ever so slightly, almost un-noticeably, and a tear or two pool, without spilling, into each of his lower lids. The transition, the awakening is so beautiful to see and many never ever even get the chance to escape…….to live. He remembers his own fear. He remembers not knowing what it was or why he felt it. He remembers feeling nervous, abandoned, and so alone, when he was forced to start stepping outside of his own home and outside of the bubble created by the quote love of his mother. It was a very difficult time and he remembers.

“Well, I appreciate you listening in such good faith,” the veterinarian says to the mother. “The advice may not be perfect, but I promise you that I believe everything I said. That’s my tough love for you, your daughter, and Shadow. Everything really did go very well today and that makes me very happy. Good luck with it all. If you have any more questions or need some more help in the future, please let me know, and I will help as much as I can.”

He says “Bye Bye!” with an exaggerated smile and a goofy wave of his hand as he is leaving the exam room. The little girl looks back at him, returning her own precious version of an exaggerated smile, and then she waves back. She tilts her head slightly to the side and her smile almost turns into laughter, before she finally says “Bye!”

The End

Cribb          2015

 

 

The Veterinarian – Keep “you” as “you”.

If your veterinarian took your dog away from you for 6 months and kept your dog in his/her pack, providing the constant environment and structure (or lack thereof) for the dog, and then the dog was returned to you and it behaved badly or ill or fearful or out of control, you would blame the influence of the veterinarian for the dogs behavior.

If your groomer took your dog away from you for 6 months and kept your dog in his/her pack, providing the constant environment and structure (or lack thereof) for the dog, and then the dog was returned to you and it behaved badly or ill or fearful or out of control, you would blame the influence of the groomer for the dogs behavior.

If a dog trainer took your dog away from you for 6 months and kept your dog in his/her pack, providing the constant environment and structure (or lack thereof) for the dog, and then the dog was returned to you and it behaved badly or ill or fearful or out of control, you would blame the influence of the dog trainer for the dogs behavior.

If a breeder took your dog away from you for 6 months and kept your dog in his/her pack, providing the constant environment and structure (or lack thereof) for the dog, and then the dog was returned to you and it behaved badly or ill or fearful or out of control, you would blame the influence of the breeder for the dogs behavior.

If a Pitbull owning, black male took your dog away from you for 6 months and kept your dog in his/her pack, providing the constant environment and structure (or lack thereof) for the dog, and then the dog was returned to you and it behaved badly or ill or fearful or out of control, you would blame the influence of the Pitbull owning, black male for the dogs behavior.

But many owners that have raised their dogs since birth or have provided the pack that their dog has lived persistently in for years and years and years, immediately and reflexively jump to blaming the veterinarian or the groomer or the trainer or the breeder or even an innocent black man who happens to be walking by at the time with his stable Pitbull, for the unstable and un-socialized behavior of their own pet.

Now go back to the beginning and replace “dog” with “child”.
Change “veterinarian” to “medical doctor”.
Change “groomer” to “dentist”.
Change “dog trainer” to “teacher”.
Change “breeder” to “coach”.
Change “Pitbull owning black male” to “lower class minority family”.

Keep “you” as “you”.

Jeff Cribb DVM          2015

My Dad and his Dog

A conversation between me and my Dad;

 

My Dad said “She wouldn’t walk well on the six foot leash I had for her…she just kept acting up…like she didn’t really like it…and eventually she started turn’in round and chew’in on it…..and I was worried she might actually chew all the way through it one day…take off and be gone for good. So, I got ‘er one a’ those retractable leashes that goes out about sixteen feet…it’s made out of a little different material than the other one…and, ya know, it has a lever on it you can use to let out the length as ya want. She has been do’in real good on it…much better than the old one…..seems to be happier.”

And I said “ Dad, if you were holding the hand of a child, being appropriate in your manner and strength, just trying to get him to behave and listen, and not be unruly, and that child started throwing a temper tantrum; punching you in the stomach and back, dropping down to the ground with his dead weight, jumping up on you, yelling and hollering, and eventually kicking you in the balls, would you then just let go of his hand, give him a hell of a lot more freedom, and let him run all over the house or the yard or the store?

 

My Dad said “She just didn’t like that crate….she’d get herself so worked up….I think she went damn near crazy when I was gone…I’d come back home and find ‘er almost worn plum out. She’d be panting like hell…and the crate looked like she’d bounced it across the floor….with drool and slobber all over her and the rest of the damn place. I know she got upset when I left her….I think she was just having some sort of anxiety with me not be’in there…..and I was really afraid she was gonna hurt herself sooner or later. So, I got a much bigger pin for her that goes outside…for ‘er to stay in when I have to leave ‘er alone. She seems to really like it. I worry about ‘er a little bit out there…especially if I have to leave her for too long….but, she really is doing much better. Before I finally got her the new pin, I even tried leaving her out a few times in the house while I was gone…..did I tell you what happened?……that silly ass dog started eating the wallpaper and sheetrock in the front hallway….and, you know, I couldn’t have that. She is a sweet sweet girl, but I couldn’t have her destroy’in the house.”

And I said “Dad, if you sent your child to their room for whatever reason…it doesn’t really matter why…and you were trying to teach that child parameters and discipline, and you told her to stay in her sparse, but comfortable room until you came to get her, and she started screaming…..and jumping up and down on the bed and the furniture, knocking and throwing a ton of shit down all around her room, and then she proceeded to start slamming herself against the walls and the door with all of her might, do you think she would be doing that just because she simply missed you? And if she took a sledge hammer or a screwdriver and started punching holes in the wall or deeply etching every surface within her reach, would you think that cute or silly? Would you think that a child that did such to be a sweet sweet girl?”

 

My Dad said “She will run the fence with the dogs next door. There are two of ‘em….one is a little smaller, kinda medium size, and she will usually run and run with that one, up and down, until she gets tired. Then, there is a big ole black dawg that moves slower….and when he comes up to the fence, she acts a little different. Most of the time she stops runn’in and just sits down across the fence from him. She don’t bark or roll over or pace or do anything else really….she just sits there…and seems to be okay with him.”

And I said “You see it don’t you….you know what is happening, right Dad? That is almost the perfect example…it is almost too good to believe. Brandy (my Dad’s dog) is respecting and acknowledging the appropriate dominance of your neighbor’s big ole black dog. When you see that peace overtake her, and she isn’t displaying any nervous energy or destructive and rebellious behavior, that is your answer….that dog doesn’t have a leash around Brandy’s neck…and he doesn’t have her trapped in a crate or trapped in any other way at all…..and there is even a fence separating both of them, so there isn’t even any direct contact……..and…and, the big ole black dog isn’t speaking any meaningless human gibberish to her either. Don’t you see it?….all of that is irrelevant…it’s a mirage….pony tricks that really don’t work at all, but people buy all that bullshit…..hook, line, and sinker. The only thing that matters, that really matters when you are trying to stabilize or what people tend to call “helping a dog” or “loving a dog”, is your appropriately dominant posture and the structured stability of your being. It is that simple. That is what they truly crave. You have seen the proof with your own eyes. Now, you aren’t prepared to jump into that right now, and you honestly need the tools and assistance of the shorter leash and the crate to establish more parameters and structure if you want to try and fix her behavioral issues, but don’t fool yourself, you let her win the war of dominance via your response to her temper tantrums in the battles of the leash, the crate, and the destruction of the house. You rewarded her and gave her more freedom for being a bratty dominant dog. We see people do that very same thing all the time at the hospital. They think they are just “loving” their dog better by giving them more freedoms and liberties and treats and toys, and meanwhile their dog knows the truth….he or she has manipulated the relationship in a normal challenge of pack order….and he or she, often becomes the King or Queen of the house. ‘Tis true…I promise ya.”

 

Dr. Cribb         2014

The Veterinarian – A Sadist, Madame Frankenstein, and a Penny Bombardment

The veterinarian enters the exam room with the receptionist, who is assisting him at present. During the normal greeting to the client, the receptionist reaches down to pick up the puppy’s leash, which is connected to the pet’s collar. The leash had been wiggling back and forth on the floor for some time, being drug about by the puppy as he is running about unrestrained. As soon as the receptionist takes the leash in her hand, the owners’ young child suddenly becomes interested in the dog. He runs over and pulls on the leash while jumping up and down. It is hard to tell of he is more interested in pulling the leash out of the receptionist’s hands or if he is more motivated to choke his puppy. His mother tells him to stop and he does so reluctantly. Then the receptionist reaches down, picks up the puppy, and places him on the table.  

As the receptionist restrains the puppy on the exam room table and the veterinarian performs the exam, simultaneously talking with the owner, the child reaches into one of his front pockets and finds a penny. He then approaches the table, places the penny on the edge of the table, and then, with one finger, pushes the penny to the middle of the table and a location immediately adjacent to the puppy. His mother takes the penny, hands it back to the child, and tells him not to do that, because we are talking and he is getting in the way. The veterinarian begins conversation again with the owner, but fifteen seconds later, the child approaches the table once more, and repeats his previous action with the penny. And as predictable as the passing of time, the mother picks up the penny again and hands it back to her child. She raises the volume of her voice slightly and then repeats her insincere declaration of consequence and parameter to her child once more. Within another fifteen seconds, the child approaches the exam table for the third time. He sets the penny on the table, but this time, before he can initiate his little push of the copper coin, the veterinarian reaches down and grabs the penny. A look of alarm mixed with inquisition, spreads across the tiny face as the veterinarian captures his attention.

“Your mommy said no, and when a mommy says no, it means no. So, don’t do it again, okay?” were the words delivered by the veterinarian to the child, but more importantly, was the understanding that had also been delivered through posture, gaze, and the acknowledgement of presence. The child politely accepted the return of his coin, before stepping backwards, and retreating behind his mother without a peep. The mother displayed no recognition of any of the events associated with the third attempted penny bombardment, almost as though her short term memory had been previously obliterated by some unknown disease or trauma. Thus, the conversation proceeded without a seeming glitch. “Oh my gosh,…well, I really wasn’t ready for a puppy, but my eleven year old daughter wasn’t doing so well with everything, and she really, really wanted a puppy. He’s not going to continue to bite like he is, right? I mean, I just want to make sure he’s going to stop…right? Oh my gosh, he will stop, right? He’s not going to grow up and bite someone, right? Oh gosh”. 

The problem with the puppy as well as the child was overtly obvious. The puppy began misbehaving the moment he was restrained in any manner whatsoever. During the conversation, his head bobbed up and down continuously bucking and resisting normal physical contact and gentle restraint. He whined, bit with moderate playfulness, and twisted in contortions on the exam room table. He had never been socialized and the owner had potentiated his instability by not providing a stable environment with set boundaries. Like the veterinarian had noted so many times, it was apparent that she utilized the same destructive philosophy with her child; puppy and child next to one another, both a product of a clueless and self-deceptive parent, not interested in the responsibility of actually being a parent…actually being a mother. Let’s just reproduce and acquire pets and pretend they need no guidance. Let them go crazy and do whatever they want in a critical developmental stage of their lives and then blame them. Blame them. Woe is me. How I suffer at the hands of fate…except she doesn’t really suffer by her own hand, by her own willful ignorance, because she has always taken the easy way out, blaming everyone and everything else without the painful awareness of introspection. She turns child and dog, both into monsters and then turns them over to society, letting others deal with the final product of her disastrous blueprints. Well done, Madame Frankenstein! Well done. 

“What I keep trying to tell you, what you have to understand is that it isn’t the dog that determines the outcome. It is you. You. The dogs’ behavior is just a product of his environment and his pack, just like with a child. If you set clear boundaries and establish a stable environment and pack, the dog will do well. If you don’t do that, if his world continues to swirl with instability and you are too busy and you don’t provide him with boundaries and stability, he will turn into a monster. You will have created a monster. Dog behavior can be very hard for people to understand, and correct, because people typically choose to believe their dogs are just four-legged furry people oozing with unconditional love. That just isn’t true and that misperception is what causes many of the behavioral problems we see in dogs. Dog behavior is counterintuitive to the way most people have been programmed to think and it cannot be explained adequately in any shape of form or fashion during the time of one exam. A good dog behavioralist can probably fix the problem and get your dog under control, but only if you are willing to listen to them….I mean really, really listen to them and put the required time and dedication into the process. In all seriousness, you seem very busy and it sounds like your home environment is somewhat of a whirlwind, especially with you having a young child to manage. If you don’t have the budget or time or the patience to apply towards your child and the puppy, you might really want to consider finding another home for the puppy…it might be better that way for everyone.” 

“Oh, I would never do that. I couldn’t give him away. I just want to make sure that he isn’t going to grow up and bite someone. It will stop, right. I just want to be sure he will stop.” The ignorance, the bravado, the glazed over look in the eyes, as she retorts the same mantra over and over and over in her self induced state of deafness is remarkable in its own right. It is almost a state of self induced hypnosis and he has seen it again and again and again. It is damn near impenetrable with logic, rationality, and sound advice. It is the equivalent of talking to a rock except that the rock might actually be moved in slight, imperceptible ways from the sound waves of speech. This person and parent would be moved in no way. She was hell-bent on her course. This life form would have been banished from or even killed in a pack of wild dogs, so its insanity would not propagate and infect the rest of the pack, endangering all. That would have been nature’s normal culling process. Instead, this parent makes babies and then turns them into monsters. God blesses her with the free will to do this while he fails to shield her children from her infectious destructive insanity. Why not protect the priest who molests and the mother who fucks up an innocent child? Why not kill good people with tornadoes and brain tumors and freak accidents while you let evil survive and walk the earth? It is because God is a sadist just like Madame Frankenstein. Because you see, he is Doctor Frankenstein and we are his monsters. He creates monsters with free will so they can create more monsters. Except now, God is kind of starting to sound more like Satan and this stupid pitiful woman who chooses to infect those around her with perpetual madness instead of love and respect. 

The veterinarian glances at the receptionist in some form of silent communication or plea; is she listening to anything, and I do mean anything that I have said? Does she hear one word? One damn single word? Will this person shut her self-absorbed trap of a delusional boisterous fool long enough to get some sound advice from someone who can help her or will she continue to bloviate without listening, without thought, without reflection? Her mantra is almost religious in the repetition and mundane brainwashing rhythm; a chant that is intended to block out and nullify any contemplation or examination of facts, actions, and consequences. She is willfully ignorant…willfully, and her will is to not listen, to avoid reality and responsibility…to shun being a responsible parent and a responsible dog owner…to blame everything on anything except herself, when she is in fact to blame for almost all of the behavioral problems of her child and her dog. The veterinarian witnesses the same observation and the same frustration on the face of the receptionist…the same glance of I can’t believe this bitch is really THIS delusional.

So the same conversation revolves around a few more times and finally the veterinarian can bear no more. “If we can help further, let us know. Remember, you are the determining factor with your puppy, just like your child. You, not the puppy, and if you apply the correct techniques and a structured environment, the puppy will behave. The receptionist will check you out at the front desk. We appreciate your business and I wish you well with your puppy.” The veterinarian then departs through the back door to the sanctity of silence and the absence of such a deplorable example of human awareness and behavior…..a deplorable example that has already reproduced. The client leaves through the front door heading to the front counter to be checked out by the receptionist.  

At the checkout desk, she repeats the same question in semi-automatic repetition to the receptionist once more. “I just want to be sure, he will stop biting. I mean are you sure he will stop. It just concerns me. I don’t want a dog that is going to bite someone.” The receptionist explains that she cannot predict what the dog will do one day and it is the equivalent of having a psychiatrist evaluate her child at present and guarantee her that the child will never murder anyone later in life. The frustration of futility is bearing down upon the receptionist at this point almost as much as it has the veterinarian. “If you listen to the veterinarian’s recommendations, your puppy will probably turn out to be a good pet and you should have nothing to fear. If you are too busy, and you cannot take care of the puppy, you may want to give the puppy up like he said. You can also get some help with a trainer if you desire. In the end, you are the primary factor in how your puppy will behave, just like your child. The puppy’s behavior will continue to reflect the guidance that you give him.”

After the client leaves, the receptionist and the veterinarian share a conclusion and a prediction. The client survived the entire exam and experience without listening to or learning a single thing. 

The puppy and the child are most likely doomed.

 

Cribb     2012