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In training.

Yesterday I took Rio to PetSmart without the company of my other mutt, Ocho. We usually venture as a pack of three, but Rio needed some practice.


Rio was a stray (likely dumped) in her life before becoming a Smith. We don’t know much about her, other than she’d been out long enough to be roughed up, hungry, and feasted upon by fleas and an uncountable number of ticks. She has some fearfulness, which leads to barking and lunging, especially when on leash around other dogs. This has tested me as an Ashley and as a pack leader, since my initial response is to get upset and impatient with her. As any dog person knows, this will only make Rio more nervous and unsure. She is challenging me daily to keep my cool and be patient. Not exactly my strongest qualities.

After a few brief but noisy bouts of barking at other canine PetSmart guests, we arrived at the register and I apologized to the teenager-ish employee. “Sorry for all the barking, she’s working on some things”.

He smiled and said, “aren’t we all?”

Have to admit I was taken aback by his spontaneous wisdom.

Yes, in fact, we are all working on some things.

And while I’m prone to become annoyed, offended, angered, impatient, and basically put off by those who handle life differently than I do, it’s much more useful and compassionate to remember we’re all just getting through the days the best way we know how, usually based on the experiences of our past.

This requires me to dig deep into my grace and patience reserves which are not known for being terribly deep. Gulp.

I’m working on some things.


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