A Lesson in Compassion
About a month ago, my boyfriend and I decided to foster a dog. In September she was 8 months old, had a badly broken leg (hit by a car) and was scheduled to be put down at the shelter. I saw an email with her name and photo, freaked out and worked with a rescue group. They pulled her out of the shelter and got funding for her surgery. We were the foster parents…and then…we were in puppyland.
The first day she went into heat. Awesome. I came home from lunch on the first day and there was poop and blood smeared on the bathroom floor (cause she stepped in it). Looked like a frickin’ crime scene. There were wood pieces and a hole chewed in the baseboard of the bathroom door so she could get out. She leapt over a baby gate on three legs (with a cone on her head). She shredded her doggie bed from inside her crate (the bed was on top of the crate). She chewed a hole in a METAL crate (wires pokin’ out all over the place). She pulled off her muzzle and then tore it apart. And she cried at night. All night.
There was one point when I told my boyfriend, “I don’t even want to go home. She is a total disaster and I don’t want to deal. I don’t want her and we can’t keep her.” My boyfriend (kapha) said, “Well, we won’t keep her, but just think of all the things she’s been through. She’s in pain, scared, and doesn’t know any better.” Eeoooooh…good point.
At only 8 months old she survived getting hit by a car, had a broken leg for at least 3 weeks, escaped euthanasia by 2 days, and went through major leg surgery. Not only that, she was in pain, on meds, in heat for the first time in her life, and had my crabby dog constantly barking at her. Poor thing!!
After I thought about what SHE went through, I was ashamed of myself for my severe lack of compassion. Yes it was a disruption and yes parts were gross, but we took this dog in to help her. And HOW could I have forgotten that? And how could I think such mean things because this was a little life. THIS was LIFE! More important than my yoga practice in the morning, my journal writing, or even my blog, THIS was life! And I was choosing to not only ignore it, but I actually wanted it to go away. I immediately felt my insides get softer. And suddenly I was the one with my tail between my legs.
I followed my heart when I saw her photo, so why was my heart SO quick to shut down when things got difficult? It’s something to think about. Do you tend towards compassion or judgment? My hope is that we start to see beyond the outsides of someone’s situation – we don’t know what they’ve been through. Let’s peek into someone else’s world before we judge or grow impatient. Maybe they are doing the best they can. Maybe they could do better with our help!
The funny thing is, as soon as I found my compassion and surrendered, things turned around. A month later, she is close to perfect now…and we’ve decided to keep her :) Compassion is better than judgment. Love is better than contempt. Let’s work on it. If I can, YOU can!