The Waggin Tails Adventure blog features stories about the dogs we walk, our favorite places to go, vacation care updates, and upcoming dog-related events in the Seattle area

and the world changed…

posted on: November 2, 2011

I feel so lucky at this time in my life.  In the past year, I have met several people (other dog trainers and providers) who are such wonderful role models for living with compassion for all beings, especially dogs.   I am growing in my knowledge in leaps and bounds.  Wow!  What an amazing  journey – deepening my ability to live in a non-violent, loving way.

I had an experience the other day that really gave me the opportunity to see the fruits of my labor.  I visited Mud Bay and encountered a dog, pit bull, and the owner was using a choke chain.  I gasped as I look at the poor creature who had such fear on her face and  was panting heavily.  The owner was literally using the choke chain (pulled completely tight around the dog’s neck) to move the dog from place to place.  So, it wasn’t even that the dog was pulling and she was using the choke chain to stop the pulling, she was using it to move and maintain physical control over the dog.

I lost my breath for a moment, then kicked into gear.  I was so incredibly surprised by my emotional reaction.  I felt a deep sense of compassion for this person and, of course, for this dog.   My heart guided me the rest of the way…naturally.  She obviously had no idea that what she was doing was not okay and was in fact hurting her beloved dog.   I didn’t have to work at all to summons compassion. 

I smiled at the owner and the toddler next to her and struck up a conversation first by asking her questions about her beautiful dog then, after gaining her trust, began talking with her about the choke chain.  I had fun teaching the toddler how to ask her dog to “sit” and then how to reward her doggie.  She lit up and felt so proud.

Long story short, I helped fit  a wonder walker for the dog and showed the dog mama how to use it.  I think she felt safe with me and that made me feel so good.

She didnt’ buy the wonder walker.  The dog owner left with the choke chain still around the dog’s neck, but I know at the very least, she left with something to consider as a different option.

In the past, I would have felt anger to see someone treating a dog this way.  I might have confronted the person with anger in my voice.  But, that didn’t happen this time and it’s such a deep experience to connect instead with compassion and stay connected to my heart the whole time.  Maybe compassion in some circomstances..not all, but some,  really is a way to effect real change.  I’m so glad to be on this journey.  I feel more and more alive the deeper I go and feel excited at the thought of having more opportunities to have a positive effect on the dogs and owners I come in contact with.