Relaxing Your Leash on Life

I have a dog named Arrow. I rescued him from the SPCA Dallas two years ago, this coming December. Those close to me know all about his crazy antics, his aggressive behavior (to everyone but me), and his escape artist routines.

What they don’t probably know is how much he teaches me about life. How to love. How to live. How to laugh.

You see, Arrow came from a bad background. He was abandoned to the Dallas pound and then turned over to the SPCA. He had been beaten and was shy of other dogs. Well shy for all of five seconds. Ever since I adopted him, our daily walks have been a bit difficult. Anytime we’d see another dog come up to him, Arrow would sniff sniff, then kill kill. He’d go right for the throat, while I barely had time to restrain him.

That continued every night for two years until yesterday.

The manager of CityVet told me about Leash Aggression. Dogs are aggressive to other dogs/humans/zombies while on the leash. Not because they have the urge to kill, but because they are so in tune with the owner, they go on attack when the owner tenses up. You pass your anxiety on to your dog, and your dog takes it out on unsuspecting Fido.

I thought the whole notion was a load of bullshit, but living next to a makeshift dog park led me to try. So yesterday, as we walked around the dog park, I purposely didn’t tense up when another dog came sniffing up to Arrow. And the most amazing thing happened. He didn’t try to murder any other dogs. Four of our four, he just played or sniffed them.

Still skeptical, but hopeful, I tried again tonight. I let myself relax, and Arrow played with the dogs again. No murder. No kill.

Relaxing me, relaxed him. How powerful is that? My dog is so in tune with me, he senses my emotions. Shit, he probably smells them. And it dawned on me, how true is the leash law to our lives?

When you’re in a meeting, and you relax, you send invisible tidal waves of your energy out to other people. You literally calm the room just by your release of tension. The opposite is just as true. When you’re tense, anxious or mad – the negative energy from those feelings affect the room just as strongly.

So I started thinking – what if we relax our leash on life? What if we don’t hold on so tight to everything that happens, needs to happen and will happen in the future? I’m not abdicating we all give up work, head to the beach and smoke pot, but would it hurt to unwind that tense center? I’ve carried more than my share of tension balls wound up inside over the years. And I know how good it feels to let those go. I relish in how good it feels to be happy. content. relaxed.

It feels unattainable at times. That inner release.  We have to choose it. We have to let those hang-ups go. We have to stop caring what everyone else thinks about us all the time. Keeping that stress locked up inside us will only shorten our life spans and cause us physical ailments. And the worst part – stress begets stress. You pass it on to others. You spread the stress disease.

Thank you Arrow. Thank you for your unconditional love, and you’re emotional nature. Thank you for showing me that simple relaxing myself will bring out that sweet, gentle side of you. Thank you for showing me how to relax my leash on life.



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