Thursday, May 19, 2011

Older Dog Lesson #14: The Need for Short Memories

On a recent Sunday morning, Tux, his sister Grace, and I were out strolling along the path at the rear of our favorite park. We had just seen the Mallards. Mr. and Mrs. Mallard have returned from their stint as “snow birds” somewhere in the south. They were floating in the pool of water at the bottom of a not-so-deep ravine. Tux hadn’t noticed them, probably because for once they were minding their own business and not berating us for being in their part of the park uninvited.


All of a sudden, through a gate in the fence separating the soccer fields from the rest of the park and up a hill of about 15 feet, came thundering toward us a large, male Labrador bent on mayhem and destruction. My reaction was an ineffectual, “Hello! Come get your dog!”

The two male dogs stood eyeball to eyeball. I wasn’t overly concerned at that point since I’d never met an aggressive Lab. I called out to the non-present owner to come get his dog. No one appeared at the gate through which the Lab had appeared. The Lab had a collar on, but, even though every entrance to the park clearly states that every dog must be leashed, this dog had no leash nor an owner.

Suddenly, the Lab lunged at Tux. Although outweighed by 50 pounds, Tux didn’t turn tail and run. He hung in there and put himself between the Lab and Grace and me. There was much snarling and snapping of teeth. For my part, I began yelling at the top of my lungs for the dog's owner and trying to protect my two Cockers.

Grace reared up on her hind legs, put her two front paws on the Lab’s shoulder, and went for his ear.

That’s all the Lab needed to decide to quit the field. As quickly, as the dog fight had begun, it was over. The Lab headed back up the hill toward the gate through which he’d come just as his owner appeared, leash in hand.

“Are you crazy?” I yelled.

“Sorry,” he said, finally putting a leash on his vicious Cocker Spaniel hating Lab.

He turned and disappeared through the gate without bothering to ask if Tux and Grace were hurt.

Grace & Tux Weathered the Storm

I turned toward Tux to ensure that he hadn’t been injured, and found him none-the-worse for the experience. In fact, he seemed stunned. But then, he stood a little taller and looked at me as if he had vanquished the foe and saved both his sister and his Mom from the vicious, snarling, drooling devil-dog.

Tux the Conqueror

Neither Grace, who I swear looked at me with a small knowing smile, nor I told Tux that it was the lunge for the Lab’s ear that had vanquished the enemy not Tux standing toe-to-toe with the ugly hulk. Why let the air out of his inflated ego? It’s little enough as it is. Grace and I were only hoping that he wouldn’t have an exaggerated since of himself in the days to follow.

Tux doesn’t have the longest memory in the world. In fact, he quickly forgot about the fight. He had better things to think about. Like that Lhaso Apso that was in front of us prancing along like some kind of prince.

Lessons Learned

Like Tux, we need to have short memories when it comes to rejections and slights. We need to remember that it’s not personal. The rejecting agents/publishers are not saying a single word about who we are or the kind of people we are. They are simply saying that our book(s) are not for them. Period.

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