Simone, my favorite milliner, has a dog named Coco. Coco was her mother’s dog, and Simone inherited her when her mother moved to live in a nursing home.
Coco likes Simone. Simone likes Coco.
Coco had a challenging time adjusting to a new home.
While they liked each other, Coco seemed lost.
When I first tuned in, Coco told me right away that she was a good dog. She was a very good dog. She wanted Simone to know that.
Simone knew she was a good dog already. Simone was trying very hard to help Coco feel welcome.
What was the disconnect?
Simone had read in my blog about how dogs need a job to do, so when she left the house, she told Coco to “watch the house”. Simone had been worried that Coco wasn’t happy.
Coco and I talked about her job as house-protector.
Coco knew that Simone was worried, but thought she was worried about the house.
“What could happen to the house? How am I supposed to protect it?”
Coco became anxious.
Plus there were those kids next door. Before moving to Simone’s house, Coco lived in a community without kids. She had never seen a kid before.
Coco barked and snarled at them whenever they came to the fence.
I asked Coco about children. She said, “What are they?” She didn’t realize that they were young people. I told her they were like puppies.
She was very worried about them coming into the yard, getting into the house, doing mischievous things. I told her that they wouldn’t do that. I told her that they were like puppies. They were just like puppies and they needed to be treated kindly.
We talked about how if she was nervous, she could go back inside the house or go to the other side of the yard. We talked about how biting a kid would mean that she’d be put to sleep. She got the message.
She liked the idea of going to the other side of the yard.
We talked about her job guarding the house. I told her that her mom just wanted her to have a job to do that she liked. Was there another job she wanted?
“Yes.” She showed herself pulling a long, oblong object. It looked like one of those things you’d put in front of a door to keep the draft out. I told Simone.
Simone asked, “Is it a log? Does Coco want to collect wood for the fireplace?”
I asked Coco “Would you like to collect wood?”
Coco said, “Okay.”
I said, “That wasn’t what you were showing me, huh? What are you showing me?”
Then she showed me the oblong object on a counter. Somebody was cutting thin slices off of it and then putting them on a tray in the oven. They were cookies!
I asked, “Do you want to make cookies?”
“Yes!” Coco said. “And then Simone could tell me about her day. I could listen and say, “That’s nice.” or “That’s too bad.”” She showed me her listening intently to Simone.
“I am a good listener,” she said.
“Yes,” Simone said, “She’s a very good listener. I would love to talk with Coco!”
Simone promised that they’d make cookies and talk.
Sometimes I feel like I’m flying up from a scene, leaving the movie of a life. I imagined Coco and Simone tucked in together, sharing the fire, some conversation and a cookie or two.
Here’s what Simone said about her experience:
Coco has definitely been better around people and kids and I feel better knowing that Coco has a clearer understanding of recent events with my mom (her former owner) and her place in our family now. I really liked getting to know Coco a little better!