March 15, 2011

3 Things I’ve Learned From My Deaf Dog. ~ Emily Gubler

Traits I’m Working On.

A deaf dog has chosen to live with me and I am grateful. Completely stone deaf. She doesn’t wake up when I come home; I have to wander my house to find her. Obviously, I can’t call her; I wave to get her attention and sometimes she intentionally does not look at me. Through living with her I’ve realized ways I can improve my life.

1. Follow my bliss.

Roxy goes for what she wants; if there is a squirrel or elk she’s there. Bounding over fences, she doesn’t consider whether she looks good or if chasing that squirrel will fit into her schedule. She goes for it.

I’ve recently begun consciously working on following my bliss. It began with quitting my job and has continued to EMT school, a new house, and a wonderful boyfriend. When I find myself shrinking back from risk, I imagine Roxy bounding over a fence after a squirrel.

I want to sleep this soundly.

2. Sleep solidly.

Once Roxy got loose from the yard and was picked up by the dog police and had to spend the night in puppy jail.  When I went to bail her out the noise was incredible: imagine 50 barking dogs in a concrete cell.  I found Roxy, sleeping solidly and contentedly through the noise, resting for the next adventure.

I have a complicated relationship with sleep. Either I can’t sleep or I sleep too much. I sleep when I don’t want to (when I should be at work, at the gym, making an appointment). I envy Roxy’s ability to sleep easily, anywhere. I’m working on becoming friends with sleep:  regular hours and a calm night time routine.

3. Give and ask for love whenever you wish.

Roxy is not shy or timid; Roxy is the most cuddly dog I’ve ever met; when people come to my house she doesn’t hesitate to jump in their lap and ask for some petting. She nuzzles and leans against me, showing me where to pet her.

Being vulnerable and trusting are skills I’m working on. Like Roxy I’m not shy or timid, but I wouldn’t describe myself as cuddly or a nuzzler either.  There is a middle ground between being needing and knowing when to ask for help or love, a middle ground that I am still working on finding.

Roxy’s deafness is a strength; she joyfully lives her life without sound. In watching her strengths, I find ways to improve my life.


Emily Gubler lives with two wonderful special needs dogs in the mountains of Colorado. When she isn’t walking her dogs, she is contemplating and writing about the ordinary contradictions of life here.

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