I come from a long line of grudge holders; my Granny being the best one I know, next to my father but those are stories for another time. I remember her frustration as a great grandchild of hers would not eat dinner but instead snuck out to the strawberry patch to feast on the abundant, sweet, red fruit from Heaven. My Granny spoke of that incident, with the ill behaved three year old, all the way to the end of her life....when the child was, at least, 20. I did a few things in my life that really pissed Granny off good and long. My Gramps would try to smooth her feathers but my Granny always held her ground....grudge included.
LIFE LESSON FOUR: WHEN YOU HOLD A GRUDGE YOU MISS OUT ON A FEW ADVENTURES
Snook was, and is, a serious grudge holder. In fact, I believe her ability to hold a grudge surpasses my Granny's abilities. Being a rescue dog, I have no idea what happened in Snook's formidable months but she came to me hating yelling (lesson 3) and abhorring yelling men. One of the first sheepdog trainers Snook and I went to was a yeller. I'm not sure he realized how much he yelled, or that anyone, dog or person, perceived him as yelling....but Snook did. She detested him and it got to the point where, if he ran before me at a trial, I would have to sit in the truck until he left the post to exhaust. During my mad dash to the post, I would pray that the exhaust would go well, because if he yelled at his dog, Snook would go back to the truck. I would bring her back out and attempt to run her, but she would never run well. It was much like a thunder phobic dog, the thunder storm had passed but the tension in the air was palpable.
Snook did not like growling men either. One of my friends was quiet as a church mouse but he could do a mean growl at his dog...and his student's dog for that matter. He set sheep for a big trial that Snook and I participated in one year. The sheep were tough to set with a huge draw back to the set out pens and a little less draw to the exhaust. I sent Snook on a big, beautiful outrun, while my friend growled at his dog at the set. Snook got to the top, stopped and radioed down to me that her big bad growling enemy was setting sheep. I whistled her on to walk up. She radioed back down that I did not understand the severity of the situation. In typical Snook fashion, she gave me the doggie finger and kept coming around, all the way back to the post. She sat by my feet, looked up at me and pretty much told me to go get the sheep myself. That was my last big field sheepdog trial with Snook.
I came to the conclusion that neither of us were having very much fun. Possibly, I could have worked Snook through her fear or yelling and growling men. Instead, I graduated Snook to "front seat ride along dog" and every now and then we would volunteer to exhaust. I'd run her at my yearly arena trial, where I could be right there with her and the sheep were tame and light. And there would be the occasional days I would leave her home; not enough room for the luggage and an extra dog on the longer weekend trips.
I think about my ability to hold a grudge and wonder about nature versus nurture. Wether is has been genetically coded in my DNA strand or passed on by example, grudge holding has been one area I have been working on letting go. I read inspiration that when I hold a grudge, the only person it hurts is me. I also know my grudge can be based on a perspective; which may or may not be reality.
I ponder my training up of my dogs and see how there are days I hold a grudge in that realm of my life too. The dog who used to be full of tension, that lingers in my mind as I train her and when I see her fall back into an old pattern, I can snap. My mentor reminds me, she has changed and the slip can be dealt with in a more functional way if I can let go of my grudge against the old her.
All these Snook lessons tie together, applying to all aspects of my life. Mindful living....living what is here, right now and finding gratitude. Though a grudge holder, I believe Snook does a great job of living in the here and now. As she lays at my feet, I'm pretty sure she does not worry about the yelling, growling men of her past or wonder if there will be more in her future. Although, to be very honest, I bet she would still be holding a grudge if we went to a trial and the yelling started.
The good news is, I still love her even through her imperfections....and that is freeing indeed.
Seize the Day!
Spot March 2017; Listening; Hearing
15 hours ago