spirit flows thru -- Alison Rittger's spiritual reflections on finding the holy in the daily
PictureThe Letter F / Kevin H.
No second chance for Foxibeau. Foxibeau blew it. We went to one class together, and he was told not to come back. Should Foxie be afforded a second chance? A chance to redeem himself, to show how much he has improved in one week? Apparently not. Off leash among other small dogs, Foxie growled and jumped at the pant leg of a preteen boy rushing past him. Any sign of aggression just isn’t acceptable, the instructor said. She gave us a week to improve, had second thoughts and emailed me not to come back to the class.

Faced with this disappointment, I truly appreciate how the teachings of the Buddha and my sitting practice have increased my equanimity and willingness not to blame. Naturally, I continue to love the dog, and I can continue to appreciate the young woman who teaches the class even as I wonder about her decision to let the small dogs off leash so soon. It seems to me instructing people who came with the dogs not to run might also have been a good idea. At least Foxie would have benefited from the suggestion. As she is SPCA and I a novice, I bow to better judgment.

For the most part, I am not disappointed with Foxie’s performance during his first class among other small dogs.  He sat, touched the palm of my hand with his nose, turned toward me when he heard his name. If only he hadn’t growled and heaved his 11 lbs in the direction of a kid’s pant leg as it raced past him in pursuit of its own dog. If only the instructor had said follow your dog and don’t run. Be mindful of the other small animals that may be in your path. There might have been a different outcome. Oh well. We won’t be suing or asking for a reprieve. Probably we will be assigned a private trainer from the SPCA. And we will get a refund.

Feeling apprehensive on the morning of class, I met with friends who told stories about their own small dogs, their success or lack of success with trainers and dog classes. I really appreciated hearing that the small animals of these perfectly delightful people weren’t 100 percent successful in meeting socialization expectations. But as the day went on, my apprehension increased until I had to go a movie to redirect my mind.

By the time Foxiebeau and I got to the SPCA training room, I was equipped with a kong stuffed with kibble and Dogbutter. (I could not risk buying peanut butter because it’s a challenge for me if there is a spoon anywhere, or a fork, or knife.) I bought a bathmat for Foxie’s comfort on the cement floor. We also purchased an attachable pouch and filled it with tiny treats to ensure happy outcomes.    

As for happy outcomes, I fear Foxie caught fleas and he doesn’t like the kong or the Dogbutter, which I won’t eat. The pouch could be flatter as it sticks out when attached. Did I mention we get a refund? And finally I send sympathetic joy to all successful small dogs in the basics class and give compassion to Foxibeau. Much gratitude to those who know more than I for their advice and for making hard decisions. Happiness and peace to all rescued animals and to those who care about them under all circumstances.

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