You Can’t Live in a Bubble

January 11, 2011 at 7:32 am | Posted in Family Ties, Life and Living | 12 Comments
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A few weeks ago, on Christmas Eve in fact, my dog was playing ball in our yard.  My boy is a Labrador retriever who literally lives for ball.  Where ever he is, you are likely to find a tennis ball not too far away.  When he plays, he puts his all into it, making very dramatic catches that rival any outfielder.  So when we threw the ball to him on this day, and it rolled into a pipe that protrudes out of the grass, it’s not surprising that he went at it like he was in a race against time.  Unfortunately, it was not a happy meeting of pipe and dog face.  The dog was left with a cracked and bleeding canine tooth, and the pipe (believe it or not) has a nice scrape on it forever marking this day.

This is not the first time my boy has gotten hurt, and like any parent of human or animal kin can tell you, it kills you when your child is hurt.  With dogs, it’s even harder because they don’t understand why it hurts and they don’t complain.  They just try to keep going as if nothing ever happened.  But it’s very obvious when your boy can’t even pick up the ball that he so adores.

This dog has been through a lot.  He’s been bitten twice by other dogs, slammed into many walls, fallen off the bed when he least expected it.  He’s become less submissive when dogs approach him and start bothering him, but when he hears other dogs barking in their yards as we walk by, his fur still stands up in fear.

When we finally got him to the doctor (bad timing for an accident with the holidays), we learned that he would have to get the tooth removed.  The doctor said that this particular tooth was designed specifically to kill game on a hunt, and clearly my dog would never have to work that hard.  His response to our rant about how this dog is always getting into something — “You can’t live in a bubble.”

This is a hard fact for any parent to take in.  Aren’t parents’ jobs to protect their young?  So in terms of my boy, I will continue to try to protect him as best I can.  But I took this lesson to heart for myself.  You can’t be afraid to do things that you love, or that seem fun.  I continue to fight my fears of doing things I’ve never done before, and probably will for the rest of my life — not so much for fear of getting physically hurt, but for fear of getting emotionally hurt through humiliation.

Dogs don’t get humiliated.  They get happy, tired, jealous, excited, angry, and sad, with happy being the default emotion.  But they do get hurt.  We all get hurt, sometimes.  If we could all go on with the same attitude as my boy and keep on chugging along, doing our best to do the things we love, we will all live happier lives.

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