Sunday, December 21, 2008

The grey space between good and evil

It is 3:30 AM and I am again struck with insomnia. Things worry me, the same things as most times I have insomnia; Money, The dog, and my weight.

As someone who suffers from chronic pain and the natural depression that rides along in its coat tales, this is not a recent occurrence. But these episodes seem to come along more frequently since I have been sick and jobless.

Add in a dog with serious fear aggression and it spells for a recipe chock full of sleepless nights. Many people tell me "Did you think that maybe there is nothing else you can do and its time to put the dog down?"

And in my evil thoughts, I considered it. I thought as scared as this dog is, does it take away from the happiness he has with us? Is this a completely hopeless situation? Trainers tell me no, and so does my gut, but the rational mind is not so easily appeased.

The thing that keeps me working with him is the same thing that keeps me working on me. Its not entirely his fault he is so scared. He was not always that way. He used to LOVE all children, was curious about other people and dogs, and was happy to meet new people. Then on a happy fall walk he was attacked by a pitbull. After that he was never the same.

In some ways I can relate. When Syringomyelia an its host of painful friends decided to change my life drastically I was not expecting it. After months of having to walk with a cane, hundreds of falls on walks home, and days calling in because of chronic pain and fatigue I was feeling pretty beaten and fearful myself.

It cost me my work, my livelihood, and my figure that I had worked so hard to keep in shape.

The last doctors visit I was told my weight and I went out to my car and cried for an hour.

It seemed like the final straw. What more could this disease take from me?

Stubborn by nature I have fought this disease and continue to fight it everyday. But tonight especially I have moments of feeling overwhelmed thinking "What if despite my best efforts I can't win?" Most of all I worry about my family, my friends, and my animals.

So this holiday I felt like I had no right to expect anything from anyone. In fact I entered the holiday hating the season. I hated the music, and the lights, and the constant talk about parties and presents. I wanted to be home, by myself trying to figure a way to be able to give everyone what they wanted while hating having to do so.

I was pretty much in this funk until waiting for a ride from my sister. I had tried to get some lunch and found I didn't have enough in my wallet. Sorely embarressed I went outside to wait in the cold for my ride with tears of shame in my eyes.

Then a person out of the blue came up to me. She had bought me lunch. She said she had seen me on TV with my animal welfare work and just wanted to say "Happy Holidays" I was so humbled by this random act of kindness, I cried again.

It was then that I decided maybe things were going to work out and maybe I had this whole holidays idea mixed up.

I called in a favor from a trainer friend of mine and had Kane evaluated. The trainer thinks that Kane while never being fully non fearful, can be trained to trust us to do his defending for him. Then agreed to work with me for a very low price. I have been working with him everyday, along with Crash my fiance and not only is he improving, but its brought us closer as a family.

I am amazed at how much better he is. We even had guests over and he lay down in his room and stopped barking after a minute. He was still terrified but understood the rules and that we would not let anything bad happen to him.

Today my nephew said while we wrapped presents "I'm glad your happy about presents and parties now!" I'd been with him shopping for presents with money my fiance had lovingly set aside for me to purchase them with. When I protested saying I hadn't earned any money, I had no right to buy presents he'd said "You have covered for me so many times, this is our money and I think we've both earned it."

I still worry about my weight but I am now walking my dog everyday and am still doing my pilates and yoga. I am learning to be happy with what I am capable of, instead of being sullen over my inabilities.

So in the future maybe I will be poorer, maybe Kane won't ever be a perfect dog, maybe I will be heavier, but as long as I am doing more for the good in the world, I will try not to lie awake at night in fear of any evil tripping me up.

My wish for everyone is a holiday full of the spirit of the season, friends, giving, and being thankful for the good in our lives.

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