Friday, March 19, 2010

Dogs, Food, and Worrying.

Last night, I got out my daily ration of vitamins, put them on the table beside the couch, and went back into the kitchen to get a glass of water.
When I returned, the dog was doing that dog thing of glancing quickly at me, then away again, then back, then away - the poor creature positively reeked of guilt - and the vitamins were gone.

I couldn't believe the piggy little creature had snarfled my vitamins, she knows anything on the table is off-limits, and will leave my dinner untouched. Maybe she thought they were so small I wouldn't notice they were gone?

I paged the vet, who called back a few minutes later, and laughing at my story, after getting me to read her the levels of A and E in the multi-vitamin, assured me that the little warthog would be fine, but might "suffer an intestinal disturbance" and suggested that I keep an eye on her only for that. Sure enough, we were up and down a couple of times during the night, as she woke me with an urgent request to be allowed outside.

It all reminded me of the show I watched a few years back, in which the commentator said that a certain breed of dog was very "food-motivated." Turning to me, my spouse asked in surprise, "Is there a dog that isn't?"

Life with a ten pound dog is very different from life with an 80 pound dog, and yet the same. A dog is a dog, regardless of size and appearance. And dog-brain is a very strange place. We can imagine we have some concept of what they think or feel, and dogs seem to be one of the creatures about which we are most anthropomorphic. But when it comes right down to it, we do not know, anymore than we know what another person is thinking or feeling.

We can only guess, and if we truly wish to know, ask. There will be times when we may ask another person for clarification, and they will not, or perhaps cannot, give it. What then? Before Al-Anon, I thought I had the right to have my questions answered, and would continue to hound with repeated questions, phrased differently, or approaching from another angle.

It may seem basic courtesy in human communication to you, but I had to learn that this was disrespectful. Al-Anon teaches us that merely because someone suffers from alcoholism, we are not given the right to exhort, demand, or threaten, in efforts to get our needs met. I did all of these in my first marriage, with predictable results.

I have had to accept that there are going to be many times in my life when I am not going to be allowed to know "why."
It is what it is, and I either accept that truth, or I continue to torment myself with frustration and irritability. "Irritable and unreasonable without knowing it" is a perfect description of who I had become before program, in my wrestling with another's addiction. It wasn't my fight, and I've taken off the gloves. Now, when I hear the roar of the crowd, and see the combatants walking into the ring, I leave the stadium.


  1. Here, here. Very nice piece. Thanks and have a good weekend!

  2. Sigh. Once again you are strumming my chords with your fingers, singing my life with your words. To quote someone from long ago...
    You name it so well. Been there, been there again, been there again... Though I can't say I try to get inside the head of our little warthog much. I imagine it would be a small place. :)

  3. "Even the tiniest poodle or chihuahua is still a wolf at heart." - Dorothy Hinshaw Patent

    So true --

    mary LA

  4. Not knowing the whys of everything took me a bit of getting comfortable with it but then I had such a profound sense of peace when I accepted that I am only responsible for me and "Figure It Out" isn't an alanon slogan. I'm okay not knowing today.


  5. The whys are questions I can't answer no matter how many times I ask. It's what I am doing now that matters.