When first adopting a pet, other than their general health we are usually concerned with all the new trainings & teachings that they need to learn. However, when I take the time to think back to all my pets over the years, I realize they have taught me. Each one of my pets has instilled in me a detailed lesson of a specific quality. All my pets have had slightly different needs, personalities, issues, quirks, and learning methods. Which in turn has me adapt, encourage, discipline, and YES sometimes ignore certain behaviors. During all of this each pet either exudes a personal trait, or pulls one from you to achieve a goal. So what have my pets taught me about….?
Matrix – Fearlessness: She would try anything I asked of her. If I placed her up on a balance beam, she would walk on it. Jump onto or off of anything. Go down straight or spiral slides. Bring me anything I asked for, whether is was mail sticking out of mail slot or her bone. She would go anywhere; whether it was into a strange park, car, house, dark basement, tunnel, under stairs, in a cabinet, under a couch, bed or table. She was surely a ‘do first ask later’ dog.
Elmo – Patience: She was an extremely frightened & timid cat. She hid in the box spring of my bed 3 months straight. Only coming out for food and to use the litter box while I slept. Once she escaped my apartment and hid in a bush outside. It took me 2 weeks to coax her out of the bush and another week to get close enough to bring her back inside. Even when she was more used to me, just going in and out the back door was a process. For her to come in and out of my apartment the doors had to be propped open and I could be nowhere near them when she was exiting or entering. But now almost 20 years later she trusts me implicitly.
Turkish – Calm & Adaptivity: He had and still does have irrational fears, short attention span but loves to play. Some of his fears included, squeaking toys, crunching of snow beneath his feet, laundry basket full of clothes, open backed stairs, large boulders, plumbing fixtures coming out of ground, street grates, mushrooms growing in grass, tree stumps & sound of his rabies tag on his collar. So as you can imagine to get him through all of this I had to remain calm. Any frustration, anger or excitement would just increase his anxiety. It was baby steps with him every day.
So I have found out I am the ‘grasshopper’ learning something in more depth and detail from every pet.
Susan Bloemke, a veterinary assistant for 20 years