Alicia had been taking Rexy to an off-leash dog park for several months now so he could have time running around with his friends and she could talk to the other owners and learn some things because she didn’t know much about dogs when she adopted Rexy from the pound.
It was a beautiful day and she wanted to take Rexy to the dog park, but was reluctant. Lately, there was a lady named Diane who came with her mixed breed dog named Bailey and both were unruly. Diane was rude and obnoxious and a bully to say the least. Her dog was not much better. Bailey would jump on people and dogs, barked and growled, and would start fights with the other dogs.
“So Rexy, do you want to go to the park?” asked Alicia and Rexy let out two sharp barks to indicate he was ready to go. Alicia was feeling like she didn’t want to go, she also knew Rexy needed the exercise and so she got his leash and off they went.
It wasn’t a long walk and she could already hear Diane’s loud screaming voice from down the street. “Bailey stop that! Come over here you miserable dog! Why don’t you listen to me!” Alicia winced with sympathy for Bailey, and was feeling trepidation while approaching the chain link gate that lead to the off-leash area. Even Rexy was pulling back slightly as they approached. They could see Bailey off in the distance terrorizing the other dogs. Alicia wasn’t sure what to do. No one had ever approached Diane about her or her dog’s behaviour. Should she turn around and take Rexy somewhere else? She looked down at Rexy and he looked back, so excited his body was quivering and he gave two sharp barks and a whine to show that he wanted to go. Alicia sighed and opened the gate and let Rexy off his leash. Rexy ran off to meet his friends and a whole lot of sniffing ensued.
Alicia sat down on a nearby bench relaxing in the shade of a maple tree because it was so hot. She closed her eyes to relax as the chaos of the day caught up with her. Suddenly, she heard some frantic barking and recognized Rexy’s bark and yelp. Her eyes flew open and she saw that Bailey had Rexy pinned down. Before she got there, there was a frenzy of excitement and the dogs were apart. Alicia quickly put Rexy on his leash to hold him back and to check if he was injured. Thank God he was not. Diane also put Bailey on her leash too.
Anger rose up in Alicia as she realized how close it came to her beloved companion being hurt, possibly very badly. Diane looked at Alicia and Rexy and started to rant at her. “How could you let your stupid dog come after Bailey and hurt her? Weren’t you watching? Are you daft to bring a vicious dog to the park to terrorize the other dogs? You are disgusting and so is your dog!” Diane bent down to check on her dog, and Bailey looked like she was going to attack again.
Alicia was so upset, frightened and very angry. She hated getting angry, she always felt she would blow up and lose control. Lately, she had been working with Barbara Kawa, who was her coach, and this very thing. Coaching Alicia on how she could stand in her power and speak her truth, using anger as fuel, not to use it to hurt anyone. “God and the universe always deliver a test to convince you that you can do it, usually three times,” is what Barbara had told her.
“Excuse me Diane, it was Bailey who had Rexy pinned down and was making Rexy very frightened and he could have been hurt. Please don’t speak to me so rudely, it makes me upset and it is hurtful. What is going on that Bailey is having difficulties? Oh, why are you so upset Diane?” Alicia looked at Diane and saw that she had her head in her hands and was crying softly and forcefully. Rexy looked up at Diane as if he was concerned. As did Bailey.
“I can’t do this anymore. My life is falling apart. I hate my job, I hate my home, my family doesn’t care. I want to change things, I don’t know how. My finances are a mess and my husband is threatening to leave! And my Duke, who was a perfect dog, died a few months ago and my sister adopts this miserable mutt and gives her to me! Why is this happening!” Diane said with so much frustration that Bailey seemed to be hanging her head in shame and Rexy was whining in sympathy. Alicia’s heart softened as she looked at Diane sobbing away. She knew that life can be hard when you feel you have no place to turn. “I’m sorry, Diane, I know exactly how you feel when you believe you have no choices and cannot see any other way. I was in the same boat a few months ago, my life was falling apart too. I understand,” Alicia said, now feeling a sense of guilt at having judged Diane before knowing what was going on. “Here is the business card of an amazing coach that has taken great care of me and can help you find your way. Her name is Barbara and she really knows her stuff. Let me do an email introduction and you can take it from there. I will also hook you up with my amazing dog trainer named Joe who will help you get Bailey under control. I promise, it will all work out.” Diane looked at Alicia with such relief in her eyes and in a soft, whispery voice said “Thank you.”
It was several weeks later and Rexy and Alicia were at the dog park enjoying the sunshine and warmth of yet another summer day. Alicia had her eyes closed and heard a familiar voice. “Hello stranger,” Diane said as she opened the gate and let Bailey off her leash. “Diane! Wow! You look fantastic! What did you do?” Diane sat beside Alicia and told her she had talked to Barbara about her situation and Diane had undergone an intensive coaching program along with her husband and she had training for Bailey. “It was tough to face all the fears, stuckness, anger and hurt, it was worth it though. I feel like I can move forward with grace and ease and I am in command of my life. I can’t thank you enough.” They were gazing at the dogs playing and Bailey was running around, having a great time. No biting, or fighting. “You know, Alicia, as I became happier, Bailey started behaving better. Barbara said that our pets mirror us and where we are at in this moment. I would like it if you would come over to my house so I can cook you a thank you dinner.” At that moment, Rexy came bounding up, followed closely by Bailey. “What do you say, Rexy, do you want to go to Bailey’s house and play?” Rexy gave two sharp barks for yes, and he and Bailey went off to play. They all became fast friends. Alicia felt good about herself because she stood up to the perceived bully, made herself heard, and then heard what the issues were for the perceived bully and became part of the solution. As we all need to be.