I love puppies. I mean I REALLY love puppies. Whenever I’m in a sour mood I can just say, “Puppies puppies puppies” under my breath and my heart instantly swells with love and my vibe soars. I honestly cannot think of anything better in the whole wide world than puppies.
Several years ago Pauly got a phone call from one of the students at his school. Their dog had just had puppies and they needed to find homes. “Let’s just go look at them, Dana.”
“Nooooo! I don't want a puppy right now! We’ve got Oslo! We're good!”
As much as I adore puppies puppies puppies, I knew that Oslo was a solo dog. I got him at eight weeks old and ever since our older dog had passed, Oslo was accustomed to my full attention. We both loved it that way.
"Well, I promised we’d go look.”, Pauly said.
So off we went. Pauly and I arrived at a tiny, smelly apartment in the middle of the city containing mounds of filthy clothes, lots of broken toys, a mother, eight children at various ages, two large adult dogs, and nine puppies crawling around everywhere. I had no idea how they all lived in that cramped, dirty space.
At the time of this event I believed in the concept of victimhood. I thought that I and others could be innocent victims of circumstances outside of our control and I immediately felt sorry for every single living being in that apartment, all 20 of ‘em!
There was nowhere to sit in the dinky apartment so we cleared a spot on the filthy floor amidst the chaos and sat down, puppies leaping and peeing all around us. The mom told us that they couldn’t pay their rent and that’s why they needed to sell the puppies. The kids were all happy and enjoying the excitement of having new visitors. A few kids repeated their mother's words about the rent money.
"Oh Lord. This is really happening", I thought.
We chatted about dogs in general for quite a while, then Pauly decided to pick a puppy. He handed them the $35 they requested and we walked out of the apartment. I was not happy. I loudly expressed my discontent the entire drive home. I also worried for all of the people and animals in that apartment. I began feeling like a victim myself because I now had a puppy I didn't want and I blamed it on my bleep-bleep bleeping husband.
If you understand that your attitude affects everything in your world, you won’t be surprised to learn that I found this puppy to be a real pain. I’d never met a horrible puppy in my life but I was certain that I was now living with the tiniest, most evil creature alive, who focused all of his energy on biting and terrorizing all three of us; he was out for blood! I tried to make the best of it but Oslo wasn’t fond of him either so we ended up avoiding him. Pauly basically got stuck with full-time puppy-care because I'd decided it was all his fault anyway. This puppy truly was the worst puppy ever.
Just kidding! This story does have a lovely ending. After 23 long days, bite and scratch marks all over our bodies, zero sleep, several new doggy toys and a vet bill for puppy shots, we were able to place the puppy with a young family who couldn’t wait to love him and train him and give him a sweet home. Yay!
And, of course, he wasn't the worst puppy in the world! It was all about me and my attitude. What I focus on is what I get. I only felt like a victim because I'd refused to take 100% responsibility for accepting the puppy. Instead, I had blamed Pauly and blame always leads to victim mentality (the belief in powerlessness), which I've found to be the least fun mental space to live in.
I gained a lot from this experience and am still learning how to NOT do things for others (people or animals) out of a belief in victimhood, which is never helpful for them or me. I do my best to remember to only do things I absolutely love doing! I certainly wouldn't want anyone helping me because they perceive me as needy, less than, broken, lost or whatever lack-based term someone could give me. That’s messed up victimy, co-dependent BS. And it doesn’t feel good for anyone.
True love works in exactly the opposite way. True love recognizes our own and others' inherent wholeness and the happiness in knowing that giving and receiving are the same. True acts of love don't come from "shoulds", they come from a full and joyful heart, nourishing everyone involved--everyone, including puppies puppies puppies!