Friday, January 29, 2016

Non-Attachment through Puppy Walking

There's more to the story, but basically I wound up as a "puppy walker," which means I have a puppy who lives with me until she's old enough to start serious training to be a seeing eye dog. The deal is she comes with me everywhere, like I can't leave her alone for more than an hour or two, and I take her to obedience classes and keep her alive and well for a year and a half until she's old enough to start serious training.

I know, I'm really nice.

And I'll tell you what. I have never been asked the same thing more in my entire life than I have while walking this puppy. You probably already know what it is, because you've probably already thought it reading this post. "Won't it be hard to give her up?" is the first thing out of literally everybody's mouth when they understand the deal. Universal.

So yea, rub it in. Remind me that I'm going to be giving up that smooshy sweet puppy face that lives with me 100% of the time and comes with me everywhere and is my joy and snuggle bunch. Don't worry, everybody says it.

To be honest, raising a puppy is hard work, not to mention the damage done to my home and property. (One of the deals I have about this job is I don't mention the details about that "puppy stuff" so I don't give the wrong impression about the role. But it's there.) So sometimes when people say, "won't it be hard to give her up," my real feeling is NO, it won't be hard. I'll be happy to see her go. She's a pain and I have to take care of her all the time and bring her everywhere and talk to everyone about how cute she is and how sad I'll be when she's gone.

But that's not all true. I will miss her of course and I sometimes tear up when I imagine her walking with her harness being someone's transportation and how smart she is and how good she'll be doing her amazing job. And I thought that would be the non-attachment part I'll have to do, and it probably will be. I'll get to practice non-attachment when I say good-bye to her in a year.

In the meantime, I get to practice non-attachment with myself and other people and their predictable comments. I live right downtown with no yard and lots of transient people who are new to her every time I walk outside, which means I have to engage with people every single time she needs to pee. Having an adorable puppy with me removes my veil of anonymity and makes me a target of attention and opportunities to interact. I haven't had that since my daughter was a baby when total strangers would cross the street to come and say hello.

I've changed over the months and I don't mind talking to people and answering questions about her. I don't feel anxious or impatient about it. I've come to expect it and even enjoy it. I feel more patient with the world and I have noticed I don't mind waiting in lines or things that used to bug me don't bug me so much. I feel grateful for what's happened through this process of puppy walking that's only just begun.

I'll share some of the cute photos of her here so you get to know her. (KC the yellow lab still visits but she doesn't live with me anymore.)