To Love In Spite Of...

Posted by M ws On Monday, January 7, 2013 0 comments
It is funny how we can learn lessons from dogs. I cannot believe how my life has been transformed since I adopted Tiger, my beloved West Highland Terrier.

 Lesson #1 Love unconditionally

My Tiger has had four owners in the last two months. When he first saw me, he was very friendly and loving. Of course he was finicky in the first two nights but once he settled down, he has become a very precious and much loved member of the family. He never whined for previous owners nor did he balk at the dog food we gave him.

He just accepted everything in his stride, not forgetting how he melts our hearts with his big, black eyes and the adoring looks he gives us :-).

Tiger sitting beside me

Lesson # 2 Forgive when things go wrong

Earlier this evening, I walked to the sitting room in my noisy crocs slippers which I wear indoors as I am flat-footed. Upon hearing the squishy sound from my Crocs, Tiger scuttled away almost knocking over the rocking chair.

Nick and I were stunned and wondered why Tiger was so nervous.

As I stepped closer, I saw a black thingy on the carpet. I picked it up and could not figure out from where it came. Nick took a look at it and said, "Oh oh, Mom. It's from your racoon."

Yea, my furry racoon that I hand carried from San Francisco in 1992. My aunt bought it for Jonathan as a present. Under normal circumstances, I would have been angry. I bent down and saw Tiger looking at me mournfully. He had hidden there to escape the scolding. Seriously, I think Tiger thought it was a real raccoon. He had also pulled down all my soft toys that I keep in my sitting room. Yea, you read correctly. My soft toys - my rabbit, my grey striped cat, my Westcliff teddy bear and my raccoon.

So I just told him, "Tiger, NO!" once and walked off. I knew then that Tiger knew it was wrong and could not help himself but I would have to work extra hard to help him understand what could/could not be bitten/chewed.

He has been quite mischievous. Yesterday, he 'stole' a book from a friend's bag lying on the floor and ran off with it without our knowledge. And then I heard the chewing sounds. It was Tiger enjoying himself with the cover of the exercise book. Fortunately, my friend has three dogs and he was most understanding.

In reality, Tiger LOVES paper, tissues, tissue boxes. He has to date, destroyed three tissue boxes. The third time, he actually used his paws/teeth to pull out the tissue box from the tissue box cover and ripped everything apart :-(.

I scoured the net for advice with regards to West Highland white terriers and all said the same thing. That they must not be beaten, spanked or yelled at but just a stern "No" would suffice. My friend, PA who has eight dogs including one Westie said the same thing.

Lesson # 3 Always look your best when going out.

My Tiger is quite a vainpot. Once I pick up his leash, he will jump excitedly at me and then shake his whole body as if to make sure his coat looks neat, shiny and attractive to other dogs except there are few pet dogs around my block.

Lesson # 4 Remember not to neglect your loved ones.

Last night, we had a dinner with a lovely couple who treated us to hakka food at a local restaurant. We were away for about four hours. By the time we came home, Tiger was bursting with energy and had to do his business. After he finished, I walked him home, wiped his paws and from then, he ignored the rest of us the whole night as if to show his displeasure. When I was out walking Tiger, Nick discovered Tiger had pee-ed on my chair :-(. We tried to make it up to him but he sulked the whole night under the sofa and refused to come out.

Lesson # 5 The face tells no lies.

This evening, after I gave Tiger his dinner, it was Nick's turn to walk him and he was late. And Tiger pee-ed on the floor in the hallway :-(. After Nick cleaned up and mess and yours truly mopped the area many times and the downstairs area, we tried to make Tiger go to the spot where he was supposed to do his business. We called him many times but he looked at us guiltily and stood still.

Once again, he looked at us guiltily. Generally, Tiger is toilet-trained but has to go out. We have yet to train him to do his business at his 'toilet'.

Lesson # 6 Patience

How can one NOT love Tiger? At the same time, we are always on guard not to spoil him too much. Just after I mopped the kitchen floor, he ran all over the place leaving his paw prints :-(. Just as I remind myself Tiger is only a dog, now I have more patient with others, reminding myself that we are after all, only human.

Despite the stuff he has destroyed, we still love him - unconditionally - that is the greatest lesson we have learnt. To love in spite of challenges, in spite of losing our stuff, in spite of all inconveniences suffered etc...

To all dog lovers out there, do share how I can teach my Tiger to ease himself at the same spot.

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