Shortly after we got Detroit, someone gave me a book about dogs. The author suggested that dogs reveal their owners phobias and quirks, all those things we try to keep hidden from the world. It sounded far-fetched, and I did not believe him.
Then one day as I was walking Detroit, I noticed how curious she was, going from thing to thing, sniffing and tasting everything along the sidewalk. She only stayed with each thing a few seconds before something else caught her eye. “Oh no,” I thought, “She is just like me.” I tend to move from thing to thing, the quintessential multitasker, or the most easily distracted person around, depending on your perspective.
A friend once described her husband as “incapable of closing a door.” “That’s me,” I blurted out. I don’t even notice when I leave doors open. I am easily distracted, and I tend to move on to the next thing before I have finished the last.
Then we took Detroit to puppy training classes and she learned basic commands: sit, stay, leave it and drop it. We practiced “sit” and “stay” at street corners, “drop it” when she picked up something she shouldn’t and “leave it” when she got too focused on something and would not move on. “Leave it” became my “go-to” command because as much as Detroit flitted from thing to thing, once something caught her attention, she could be relentless in pursuing it.
Usually, it was something just beyond her reach, something on the other side of a fence that she could not get to.
One day as we walked and I was ruminating on some issue, I realized my “leave it” command to her was also what I needed to hear; I needed to let go, to loosen my grip.
I started a new practice: when I told Detroit to “drop it” or “leave it,” I also thought of something I needed to drop or leave, something I was holding onto, some grudge I was nursing or some little thing I was blowing out of proportion.
Our walks became more and more reflective as Detroit pointed out to me areas I needed to work on and changes I needed to make.
Maybe the author was right and Detroit was showing the world my quirks, but she was also showing them to me, and that is a good thing.