Everyone of us has a past, even dogs. Some memories are good and some we would rather forget. You never know when a past memory will come back to haunt you or how you will react until you are confronted with it. I was put to that very test just recently.
It was the weekend and we were looking forward to some relaxation. As we took our morning walk some of the men in the neighborhood were already firing up their cookers and grills for a block party later in the evening. It was sheer torture for this dog as the wonderful aroma’s waffled through the air knowing I would not get one tasty morsel of what they were grilling. Further down the road, someone had set up a bouncy house in the yard and even though it was early morning some of the children were already trying it out. Their laughter and exuberance was contagious and we stopped for awhile just to watch. They called me over to try it but Doc thought I might get sick to my stomach being tossed all around. After all no one I know wants a dog throwing up in their bouncy house, so we said thanks and kept walking.
Resuming our stroll, I was busy smelling the pee-mail left on the fire hydrant by another dog when Doc broke the silence. ” I wonder what that is at the end of the street that all those people are crowded around?” she asked out loud. Being nosy too, I looked up and as we got closer I could smell something that was very familiar to me but I couldn’t quite place it. As we approached there were about eight people crowed around an animal trailer hitched to the back of a truck. Although it was dark inside the trailer Doc and I could both see some movement. She was not shy about asking, ” What have you got in there a baby calf?” And before they could answer I got another whiff of the beast and remembered that smell immediately from when I was a puppy on the farm. Terrified I backed up behind Doc and tried to pull her along with me. ” No, it’s a goat!” one of the men said. “What’s wrong with your dog?” another one asked.
As some of you may recall I was born on a farm in Ohio that also bred goats. The problem is that some goats do not like puppies and one day when I was only six weeks old, I got away from my mother, slipped under the fence to the pasture and a large mother goat protecting her kids came charging at me. I froze in fear but luckily famer Black saw the trouble I was in and swept me up in his arms just in time. After Doc adopted me I thought I would never have to see another goat again, but I guess I was wrong.
Without a word Doc knelt down and whispered in my ear, ” Grover, you are not a puppy any more, in fact you are bigger than that goat. Do you want to confront your fear or walk away? I will support whatever choice you need to make.” So with Doc by my side I decided right then and there to walk up to that big black goat, after all it was enclosed in the trailer. And you know what, as soon as that goat saw me, he became nervous and the owner of the goat said, ” I think your dog is scaring my goat..” So out of respect, I backed away with my head held high, proud that I had confronted my fear from so long ago.
As Doc and I were walking the rest of the way home I said to her, ” Isn’t it a funny thing to find out that when you confront your fears from the past they aren’t your fears anymore? ” ” I agree, she said and I am proud of you Grover, but don’t you think it’s weird that someone had a goat in our neighborhood? ” We both had to laugh about that.