Sunday, February 3, 2013
I have a doberman. Well, I actually have two dobermans, but for now I want to talk about Zeus. He is a big 3+ year old guy-about 85 pounds-and has a pretty major anxiety disorder. His past is mostly unknown, as I "rescued" him from an organization that absorbs animals from kill shelters and attempts to find them homes. It seems he was kenneled for extended time periods-like up to 18 hours a day because his owner worked long hours. He also displays signs of having been struck by either a hand or an object. Sigh. So I came along, and he looked deeply into my eyes and made me fall in love.
I have always had a thing for bad boys. Zeus is my latest. He has been with us for almost a year, and he has taken over our daily routines, the house, and of course our hearts. Especially mine. He barks violently at our neighbors through the chain link fence. Yes, they have officially complained to us about his behavior. I secretly wish I could bark like that at them. He attacks off-lead dogs who come to him. I would do the same, and I have little sympathy for the owners of those dogs who have a vet bill to pay for their lawlessness. Let me state that Zeus is strictly an on-lead dog. He has a vest that says "Give Me Space." Unfortunately, dogs can't read, but somehow I feel better when he is wearing it.
Well, Zeus has become my running partner. I am currently training for my first half marathon! It's not for several months, but we ran 7.26 miles the other day which is the farthest distance I've ever run. Something about having Zeus with me eases the distance. I talk to him, have to stop for him to occasionally do dog business, and of course have to be on the alert for squirrels, deer and of course other dogs that often make us change our route.
This is something that Zeus has taught me: to be flexible. In the past, I have set my goal, and gotten there by the most direct course, in the most efficient manner. Zeus with his anxiety has given me an opportunity I have never given myself: a change course option. This is something that has translated to other areas of my life, not just running with the dog. I have become less rigid and a little more relaxed if I have to alter my plans. It's a good thing. It's also kind of funny that it is something I had to learn from my dog.