I’ve written here about my buddy Indiana before. He’s the charming, good-looking, friendly and ever so clever boxer dog who lives with my husband and me. Indy will be five years old in just a few weeks, so he’s now officially a middle-aged gentleman in the boxer world. All my life I’ve had the privilege of living with dogs and they have always had so much to teach me. Indy is no exception.
Recently our son Jeff who lives in Los Angeles decided he really wanted a dog to keep him company. He’s been raised with boxers and really missed Indy, so he adopted a boxer that he named Duke. Duke is a big, beautiful boy, friendly and very mellow, somewhere between 1 and 2 years old. The rescue wasn’t sure of his age as they had no idea where he originally came from. This dog seemed perfect to live with Jeff and so they went home together.
They bonded instantly and became best buddies. The problem is that Duke couldn’t get over the noise and constant activity of LA. The poor guy actually started losing his hair. After consulting a behaviorist, veterinarian and trainer who each independently told Jeff that Duke was clearly not going to adjust to being an urban dog, Jeff decided to rehome his buddy. So, he made arrangements for Duke to go to Texas to live with his elder brother Bill and his wife Felicia. The only problem is that they could not take him for 3 months and Duke clearly could not stay in LA, his stress level was just escalating.
Road trip! Duke and Jeff made their way across the USA to Milwaukee. Duke is going to hang with us until Bill and Felicia are able to take him home in a few months. All of this is well and good, we were pretty sure Indy would be happy to have a friend for a few months as he’s always done well with doggy company. But Duke has little or no experience with other dogs, so we really didn’t know how this would go.
I should have known that I could trust the dogs, particularly Indy to handle the situation perfectly. From the moment Duke walked into the yard, Indy reined in his normally exuberant behavior, walked over to Duke and in their silent language invited his new pal to stroll through the yard with him and look it all over. Duke was only slightly hesitant. Indy was calm and patient, luring him when Duke was shy and playing a bit now and then when Duke showed a bit more interest.
This has been going on for a few days now. I’ve been walking them together each day so that Duke is more comfortable with me when Jeff leaves and to, of course, reinforce his training and give them both needed exercise. The life coach in me is pleased and somewhat surprised to see that the doggy training continues between the two of them regardless of what I do. They walk on opposite sides of me, but Duke is still watching Indy and taking all of his cues from him. In the house, they are also learning about one another. Indy continues to lure his new friend into the occasional game of chase or tug, exhibiting patience that I did not for a moment expect from him. Mealtime is interesting as well. Duke is a big boy; a bit underweight and not filled out yet. As such he eats considerably more than Indiana. They get separate bowls and when Duke is finished he invariably heads over to Indy’s bowl. He will gently and politely put his face near the bowl. If Indy is done he will back off and let Duke finish the food. If Indy is not done he simply pushes Duke away with a short growl that says ‘not now buddy’ and Duke quietly goes about his business.
I refer to the coaching lessons that they are both teaching me; because it strikes me that they are teaching me every moment that I watch them together. Indiana is a terrific life coach to Duke. He is patient but he also clearly has expectations. He will lure or invite Duke to do certain things, if Duke accepts they work on it together, like playing with a tug toy, a totally new experience for Duke. If Duke refuses, Indy simply walks away without taking it at all personally. He simply tries something else a bit later. What a great life coach! Indy offers, suggests, provokes just a little bit. Then he waits to see the results. If they are pleasing he lures and asks for a bit more. If the results are not successful, he tries something else. Have I mentioned that I think my Indy is a bit of a genius?
Both dogs are of course receiving Reiki everyday. It’s simply part of the daily routine around here. I strongly believe that Reiki is much of the reason that Indy has made such an amazing physical recovery from his stroke a few months ago. I can only imagine how it has helped him mentally, emotionally and spiritually. Of course I want Duke to enjoy the same benefits as much as possible. He’s a very special dog and deserves to know the love and benefits of people who care about him very much. Reiki is part of that experience while he’s involved with this family.
Once again, I’d like to thank the animals in my life for the simple yet profound lessons that they teach me again and again. They keep the lessons easy and straightforward. That’s greatly appreciated and I will keep applying these lessons learned while I work with my own holistic life coaching clients.
This week I encourage you to take a bit of time. Observe the animals in your life. Maybe they’re your pets or even the squirrels and birds in the yard. It doesn’t take long to realize they are all teaching us and if we pay attention we can learn an awful lot.