When Snoopey came to us, I didn’t get to know her right away. Spring was cool and she was used to being outside. In the mornings, I was running out of the house to work and then running to bed at night. My son took care of her and I would wave at her in passing and call her name. Snoopey is Stella’s sister, but she and Stella don’t resemble each other at all and they didn’t act alike. Stella is calm and submissive (when she wants to be). Snoopey – well, there was something different about Snoopey.
As she sat in her doghouse one day, I noticed an odd behavior. Snoopey was pointing her nose skyward and swinging her head back and forth, a constant repetition that went on for minutes, even after I called to her. She ignored me and just went on with the head swaying. I thought it might be an ear problem, but even after she was treated for a minor infection, every few days she would go back into the head swinging mode. Even after she came to stay inside when the weather heated up, randomly she would start rocking her head and pointing her nose up at nothing.
I researched. A few people mentioned the word “neurological”. A few people I spoke with brought up the word “crazy”. I don’t like that word. I don’t deal well with “crazy”.
Snoopey wore a suspicious look, like she was constantly evaluating us and the other dogs. She accepted affection – touch, word, time, but she was jealous in that dangerous way that could start an instant dog war. What were her first 2 years like before she came to us? I don’t know and dwelling on it is a good way to get stuck in that past we are all trying to escape. Somehow, someway, she did not get something she needed in her puppyhood. She acted weird, standoffish, but not afraid. Or maybe afraid was it. Hard to peg.
So I started paying her more individual attention. Snoopey got a new stylish collar. That meant more to me than it did to her. I gave her a tough toy bone to chew on. She picked it up and carried it around with it hanging out of her mouth like a cigar. She didn’t put it down, standing, walking, laying down. She just kept it in her mouth. I think she had never had anything like it. I spent a lot of time looking into her eyes and rubbing her head and neck. Weeks rolled on. And I realized that Snoopey didn’t swing her head anymore. No more crazy.
Now Snoopey’s eyes meet mine. Still with a suspicious streak, she watches everything even when she appears asleep. She is a natural born guard dog. She naps on my feet and stays right by me wherever we walk.
I think Snoopey had spent too much time alone, and when any of us spend too much time alone, imbalance can set in. I am an introvert. My alone time is precious to me, but God made us to be with others, to share time and words and life. And crazy is not His way.
“For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” 2 Timothy 1:7
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