When my little Maltese-dog Kinder and I go to bed at night, I put him in his crate, next to my bed, for sleep. He's like a little child and often doesn't want to go in. Usually, when I tell him to go in, he looks at me like a child wanting to watch just a few more minutes of TV. Then I end up helping him in and lock the crate's gate so when I get up to do my yoga practice in the morning, he stays put. This makes it much more convenient for me.
Last night I forgot to lock the gate when he went in. So, this morning when I was sitting upstairs doing my practice, all of a sudden I heard him squeaking. I got up to investigate. It was still very dark in the house and as I crept downstairs, I thought I saw a little white bundle near the door to the hallway leading to the bedroom. Sure enough, there he was.
He knew he wasn't supposed to be out of the crate and was so excited he jumped around like a rabbit, yet also looked at me with big open eyes, like a child who knows he's done a booboo. I did a quick inspection and was relieved to not find any wet spots on the carpet, and when I went to pick him up, he laid down in a very submissive pose and peed! Drat! So he didn't pee on his own, only when I went to get him. I knew it was my fault because I was acting serious, although I wasn't upset at all, and he took my act as real and thought he was in trouble. Another lesson for me to learn!
Then I cleaned up, complaining to him the whole time, and when I went to pick him up again, guess what? Now two wet spots! I had not gotten the lesson yet.
Then I decided to not pick him up again but got dressed and took him for a brief walk in the park. Afterward, I made sure to act in a fun and playful way (finally got the lesson) with him before picking him up so he didn't get scared and let loose again. This time he jumped into my arms and I carried him upstairs, put him on a towel next to me, and I was able to go about my business as he, happily, laid there.
So my practice this morning was one of learning to see things from the other's viewpoint, and of staying calm in the midst of things not going my way. Both very good lessons.
Over the past few years, Kinder has been an excellent teacher for me. Once, I got angry at him and acted like it, and his frightened look melted my heart. Since then, I've made a point of being patient and monitoring my emotions around him. He is the sweetest gentlest soul and I do my best to only express pleasantness to him. This has helped me grow. Because of Kinder, because of love, I'm learning patience.
Had I lost patience this morning, both of us would have had a very unpleasant morning. As it turned out, we both had a good time, the carpet will survive, and I received a precious lesson on patience and gentleness.