I offer you what I can

By Benny Huckleberry, as told to Liz Hoffmann | Mar 24, 2020

Dear beloved readers, I have a confession to make, and that confession is that I really struggled with what to write about for my column this week.

That’s certainly not the norm, since usually, my human cannot shut me up. But this time it was different. Because when I write about things, I’m always totally honest. That’s how we dogs roll. We don’t know how to lie, and we wouldn’t even if we could.

So honestly, I must tell you that I am feeling frightened about everything that is happening right now. My human told me things are very hard now for all humans on the planet, and also for lots of dogs and cats across the country who are being dumped.

So first and foremost, I want to tell you that I’m so sorry that you are all going through this. I’m a dog who believes in God and I sure as heck am saying my prayers for everyone.

My human said that most people are scared and worried like she is, and with good reason. So, all I can offer you is to share what I have a lot of experience with, and that is what it’s like to be really scared and worried.

I’ve written about, on more than one occasion, that my life experience includes my stray Mama getting shot when I was a little puppy, and me and my litter were dumped in a high-kill shelter. That was all really horrible and really bad and really frightening.

Then, I’ve also shared how I transformed into a happy, confident guy when fate placed me in a loving home all of my own. Because I have some experience in being really scared, maybe it would be helpful for me to share with you what I’ve learned about fear thus far.

I realize now, as a mature pup of almost seven years, my fear did not help anything. What was happening was happening, and almost all of it was out of my control. The only thing that I could do, was to control my response to it.

I'm surely not perfect at this, since I am still afraid of the water and of people who carry large objects that look like the gun that killed my Mama. I also get very anxious whenever we drive by a municipal dog shelter where they put homeless dogs down. My human says she thinks I can sense the dark energy and sadness coming from those places.

Anyway, I don’t tell you these things to upset you, but rather to let you know that I still get scared from time to time. Even so, I know my being anxious and frightened doesn’t change anything, and sometimes can make things worse.

So, I guess the best thing to do is to focus on the things that you can change and try not to think about the things that you can’t. For instance, my human said she can practice social distancing and isolation to protect us. Now I understand why my human hasn’t taken us to the park for over a week, and why she hasn’t taken my sibling Ilsa to the beach to swim. I know that is hard for all of us, but we still have food to eat, a roof over our heads, and each other.

We still have love that fills the house, even if the cats do annoy me on occasion.

What I want to say most of all is that I think the best thing to do is follow the recommendations by health care experts and try not to be so worried. When I am scared, it helps me to focus on what I do have and say prayers for those that are sick and at risk. Maybe that will help for you too. At least that’s what I hope.

We will all survive; I just know it, and we will wag our tails again soon.

With love,

Benny H.

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