[Technically, Versa is my daughter’s dog. We went to the local dog pound and my daughter picked out the 40-pound, black and white mix-breed, nine-month-old female pup. Within a month, though, the pup was mine. It wasn’t my daughter’s fault. The dog just gravitated toward me — and then Versa started to grow on me. But Versa has a problem, as a pound pup survivor she has fear aggression — which means she is fearful of everything. Slowly, she is conquering the condition. These posts are the lessons Versa has taught me along the way.]
Lesson: Everyone Thrives In The Correct Environment
Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.
— Albert Einstein
Versa and I have a daily ritual. I sit on a stool in my living room, start putting on my socks with my shoes beside me on the floor. Versa knows what this means: she is going for a walk. Her tails starts to wags, she prances over to our front door then back to me to check my progress. She nudges me with her nose as if to say hurry up — let’s go.
We are heading to the woods. Although, I don’t know with certainty, Versa seems to be a hunting dog because she sniffs wildly when we walk the trails, peers into the underbrush — and crouches down to sneak up on squirrels and gophers. She jumps, hops, runs (really, really fast), heads to the creek for a drink, then back on the trail to explore some more. It short, she acts like a pup.
It is a 180 degree turn from her early days with us — and a few of the days she still has inside our home. In a home with a highly active social teen, Versa deals with an onslaught of girls coming in and out of the house, not to mention normal everyday stimuli that startle her: delivery men, mail men and the occassional knock on the front door. Any of those events can send her into a downward spiral of fear — cowering with raised hackles and barking.
Just like Versa, people, including myself, respond to every environment they encounter by either embracing the situation creatively or rejecting it from fear.
There is probably no better proof of this than how we generate income. A recent study shows that nearly 20 percent of Americans are actively disengaged at work while more than half of the workers surveyed show up, but aren’t particularly thrilled to be there. These are people whose daily ritual is trudging to a place they hate or at the very least greatly dislike.
Which makes it really hard to run and enjoy the view.