Once upon a time, there was a terrier mutt roaming the streets of Atlanta. She ate out of garbage bags that landed next to dumpsters and slept under bushes in the park. She fought other dogs that tried to take her food. She slunk away from humans who might kick her or throw stones. She lost chunks of her hair from worry and, truth be told, from fighting. You could say that her life had become unmanageable . . .
One day, as she was sniffing around some dumpsters, she heard a kind voice say, "Here, doggie. Come, sweetie."
She turned to look and as quick as that, she found herself wrapped in a net and placed in the back of a truck. She was inside a small box with bars and there were other dogs also in boxes. She was in that small box for many days with occasional times when the person with the kind voice would come, attach her to a leash, and walk her around so she could pee and poop. When they would get back, there was some food and water in her cage.
At last, they seemed to come to the end of the journey. The truck stopped and this time, a big man lifted her cage with her in it and brought her into a building where there were hundreds of other animals. Emma Jane was afraid. Would she be in this cage forever? Who would take care of her? What if the other animals got loose and came after her?
The very next day, the woman with the kind voice came and picked her right up out of her cage. She was brought into a room with really bright lights and the next thing she knew she was back in her cage with things wrapped around her and a soft blanket under her. She tried to stand up but she couldn't. She fell asleep. When she woke up, someone was putting water next to her nose, so she lapped some up. She hurt all over.
That day, another person came and picked her up out of her cage, whisked her out of the buildng and placed her in another cage in the back of a car. They drove awhile and then came to a pretty house. The woman carried her, cage and all into a big room where there was another dog running loose. Immediately, Emma Jane was afraid. The woman put her cage down and opened the door. The other dog came over and sniffed. Emma Jane was shakng and looking away.
But, that turned out OK. The other dog was friendly and as Emma Jane healed from her surgery, she began to come out of her cage and inspect her environment. She thought she might be safe here. There was food and water. There was another dog to play with and there were little people who came out and petted her, taking her for long walks in a place where there were SQUIRRELS. Emma Jane pulled on her leash, shot forward to chase those critters, but was pulled back by the little people. This all went on for quite awhile and Emma Jane, the hyper vigilant stray, was starting to relax.
All too soon, the woman came out one day and put Emma back in her cage, lifted the cage and put it into her car. She took her to a big building where there were lots of animals in cages and people roaming around. There were big dogs barking and growling, cats reaching their paws through the bars as far as they could. Emma Jane turned her back on it all and curled up alone. She was very afraid.
After awhile, a strange woman said, "Let me see that one." The woman with the kind voice was there and she opened the cage and put a leash on Emma Jane, handing the leash to the stranger. They walked over to a place in the corner where the woman sat on the floor and began to pet Emma Jane. Emma Jane crawled in her lap and began to lick her face thinking maybe this is the one. All of her hair fell out, coating the stranger's clothing. The stranger took her outside for a walk and Emma Jane saw a good place to go to the bathroom. Soon, she found herself sitting in the stranger's lap in another car and finally she came to another strange house.
Would this moving around never end? Emma Jane felt totally powerless over all the things happening around her.
She was in a nice place. Her cage had a soft bed in it. She had a special place where the stranger put her food and water twice a day. She got to sit on really soft furniture right next to the stranger. Other people came to visit but they didn't take her away. One woman came in with, oh, oh, two yappy little dogs. Emma Jane backed away as far as she could, cringing next to the stranger on the sofa. One of the yappy dogs jumped right up next to the stranger and, without thinking, Emma Jane went for her throat. The stranger got really upset with her and the lady with the dogs left. The stranger put her in her cage.
Time went on and Emma Jane began to feel such a stirring of love for the stranger that it scared her. What if this woman, too, sent her away? Emma Jane became afraid of abandonment. She didn't know what to do. The next day, the woman with the yappy dogs came again but this time they were outside in the little yard where Emma Jane got to chase the squirrels. One of the yappy dogs jumped up on the stranger and HER stranger began to pet the yappy dog. Emma Jane, not knowing what jealousy or protectiveness she was feeling, lunged for the other dog's throat and this time, she held on fiercely.
The stranger pried her jaws open and then made her be prone on the ground. She put the yappy dog on a table nearby and put her foot on Emma Jane's head. This was Emma Jane's first encounter with boundaries. She knew that the dog on the table was supposed to be the Big Dog, he who must be obeyed. Eventually the woman with the yappy dogs left, but there began for Emma Jane a rigorous program of obedience training. Every day, her mistress made her sit, made her follow behind when she walked out the door, made her walk on a short leash without tugging, made her ignore the squirrels! She began to understand that her mistress was the one, She Who Must Be Obeyed.
Ever vigilant Emma Jane became serene. All she had to do to be happy was please She Who Must Be Obeyed. Now, when they went on walks, Emma Jane looked up at the woman to see what she was supposed to do. All worries vanished. She had her Alpha. She was home.
[I wrote this story after a walk with Emma Jane. I had been meditating on my own higher power and struggling with letting go and trusting the Big Dude would protect me. On this walk, I let Emma Jane off the leash and she happily took off after a squirrel. Then, she stopped, looked back at me and came back on the path. She walked along, looking at me every few minutes. When we got back to the public part of the path, I called her to me and she came with such a happy look on her face. Her tale was wagging as if being back on the leash with me was the best thing in the world. It was like she was saying, "I belong to you. I'm so glad you're my Alpha." Everything fell into place for me. Emma Jane taught me that having a higher power to tell me what to do i
s a happy place to be. She gave me a taste of serenity. Namaste, Emma Jane.) Roxie
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