my dog isn’t much of a barker. he is 7 months old and up until about two months ago i think i could count the times i heard him bark on one hand. it’s easily one of my favorite qualities about him. he has been more on guard lately, i think he is at that growing and processing age and i am noticing more of his fears and curiosities. he has discovered his bark and uses it more. he doesn’t bark non-stop. he doesn’t bark at random things. he doesn’t bark when being barked at. he barks when something is not right. when something unknown is approaching. he barks when he is scared and needs to send a warning to his pack. he barks to ward off danger. he sees something that doesn’t appear right to him and the tufts of hair on his back will spike up, it’s his way of appearing tough. really he is scared. just a pup, but his bark would tell you a different story. a few short, deep warning calls he sounds out concerning the situation at hand. when my dog barks i listen and i look. something is not right and he is letting me know.
dogs are instinctive. they don’t get caught up in their head space. they don’t worry about what people may think. and they certainly don’t hold back when they feel something isn’t right. they don’t internalize emotions. they don’t stuff feelings. they live in the moment. they don’t hold grudges. they don’t think, “my owner didn’t take me for a long enough walk today so i’m going to withhold my love to teach them a lesson.” they don’t think, “something isn’t right but i’m not sure if i should say anything because i don’t want to step on anyone’s toes.” or “i will just keep it to myself.” no, you come home, your dog is excited to see you, he licks your face, wags his tail, gives affection. something is wrong and he lets you know, he doesn’t hold onto the information to decide how he should use it and if he could get some leverage from it. we as people have the ability to process our emotions, to understand the way things make us feel and to analyze those thoughts. it is a unique ability, a true gift, but often it gets us into trouble. we can get so caught up in our heads, in our emotions, in our racing thoughts, our anxieties, our worries our concerns. we forget to live in the moment. we forget to speak up and say what we think. our friend is about to make a bad decision but we don’t want to butt in, it isn’t our place. if i was walking right into danger i am certain my dog would try to stop me. he would sound his bark, run up and protect me. what is it about us that prevents us from following our instincts. why can’t we turn off the racing thoughts and just live, a little. every now and then?
we are just as instinctive as dogs. it’s just that we spend so much time thinking and feeling that we waste our reaction time. i think that is a lot of the difficulty with mental illness, even more so than the average person you get stuck in that head space. reliving things. holding onto things. i wish i said what i felt more, what i thought more. i wish i didn’t hold onto things. instead of saying, “nothing is wrong, i’m fine.” i wish i said, “i’m amazed i got out of bed today, i wish i could go back there now.” or “you hurt me today and i just can’t get over it.” life is so fleeting, we don’t have much control over the length of time we have here on earth, but i hope we remember to enjoy what we do have every now and then. i want to live in the moment like my dog. i want to let go of things. i want to say what i feel. i want to be carefree.