Silencing the barks

Today we got to bring Dada to a pet cafe for lunch. It was a busy day at the pet cafe and there were lots of dogs around, just 1 cat who stayed inside its transparent enclosure. We were sitting in our corner at first but then a couple with a dachshund sat beside us, subsequently left and another with a maltese sat there. Many other things happened, such as people passing, trying to walk over him – yes, he was blocking the way slightly – and another terrier came walking about the cafe, even trying to go around chairs marking (thank God it was wearing some diapers) but then it also decided to poo on the floor, maybe 2 metres in front of Dada (the owner promptly cleaned it up).

The whole time we were at the cafe, Dada was just calmly lying there after having finished his bowl of boiled minced salmon. Only twice he got up with the intention of approaching a sheltie’s bowl but he was peacefully resting in the cafe despite all the noise, aggressive barking. Just look at him in this video I took:

Turn the sound on!

The video is so boring you’d think nothing is happening but turn the sound on and you realised what a stressful environment the pet cafe actually was! Yet Dada was just peaceful and calmly resting! Lest you think he is deaf (perhaps a little), he just got a shock when I dropped an empty plastic water bottle on the ground from the table despite back-facing me and also, the sound of the bottle falling was not as loud as one of those sudden barking.

It dawned on me how great it would be if we all in life learnt to be like Dada, able to silence the barks of other dogs, choosing to behave independently rather than being caught up in the frenzy of others of his own kind. Amidst these times of uncertainty, gloom and incessant ‘barking’ from others, let us learn to be able to choose our response. Intentionally or not, Dada was applying Victor Frankl’s findings, albeit it was better applied to humans.

Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.

Victor Emil Frankl

This dog have been quite a blessing through the Circuit Breaker period and whilst not the most affectionate (my wife would have preferred one with more energy), it’s really been the best dog for me (yes, I prefer old and boring). We are still learning a lot from him, having been a stray who has gone through so much (check out his instagram link to read his story).

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