The rambunctious nature of a puppy.
by Tania Carriere
May 3, 2014 - 8:45am


She walked in, nose high in the air, all attitude. The way she lifted her chest and cocked her head and the pace at which she took the stairs, two at a time, showed a zest for life that made me remember the abandon that I sometimes feel when I forget myself and my oh-so-adult-life and lay down in the grass, sun on my face. Those are the times that I envy the creatures that still have their long wagging tails.

She’s now standing in front of us in the doorway. Wag, wag. Looks deep into our eyes. Wag, wag, wag. Offers her nose and her left ear, wag, wag. And slowly we creep towards her. Wag, wag. Introductions are made and it doesn’t take long at all, she accepts a few treats and propels herself into her new environment…full of exploration and curiosity. Up the stairs to the tv room, over to sniff the crack of the closed door that is barricading two rather put-out house cats, down the stairs to the workout room in the basement, back up to the kitchen full of yummy left-over smells from breakfast, a detour to the sliding doors and finally back to the front hall where her security stands in the form of one loving woman who rescued her.

The rambunctious nature of a puppy overwhelms. I watch amazed.

Noelle only has 3 legs.

But that is not what amazes me.

Noelle doesn’t seem to know she only has 3 legs.

No excuses, no fears of being different, no trying to live up to “normal”, no story about how she is overcoming, no affirmations worked on in therapy, no great explanation. It is not the thing that she leads with. She is a dog. And she is quite sure that there is a treat to be found in this new house she has been brought to explore.

To be sure, there is some vulnerability and some hesitation. As a puppy she was terribly abused, so badly her rescuers needed to amputate her leg, so she is a little cautious around men…but her tail gives a low, carpet-thumping-wag as my husband Gerry, ever so gently, gives her ear a warm tug. Wag, thump, thump.

We are a part of her rehabilitation, a way to socialize her as she gets ready for finding her “forever” home. She has, quite naturally, bonded with her rescuer, and now needs to experience other humans as loving and kind. She needs to learn that raised hands hold balls and treats not threats and harm.

Her journey has been long and poignant. But what is most amazing as I watch her nudge my leg in search of another treat, is there is no shame in that little 3 legged body. NO SHAME.

Hunh. Imagine that.

Humans, as I know them, come in for leadership coaching to live into their potential while simultaneously trying to camouflage their sense of shame for who they are. At the moment of stepping into possibility, they confront the deep agony of fearing what other people think, of needing to conform, to be just ever-so-slightly on the unique side of normal. But never, never outside the lines. There seems to be a constant comparison to others, to what they can/cannot, should/should not do.

I see it everywhere and feel it often. The girlfriend who will not go out without mascara, the compassionate manager who fears his people skills will make him look foolish to his boss, the mother who can’t admit she lost her temper at her toddler, the consultant who can’t believe they misread the proposal due date, my own hot flash of tears when last year’s size no longer fits. That painful feeling of humiliation caused by the consciousness of wrong or foolish behaviour. (Thanks Brene Brown for that definition). It is pervasive, and because it is so isolating to experience, we overcome by simply resolving to never be vulnerable.

And yet, this creature is teaching me, that it is all made up. Her hang-ups are not about shame. She does not fear being judged. She does not shrink back and apologize for her needs, or for being different or for the fact that I feel awkward, pitying, challenged by the callousness of my own race as I watch her hop along. She allows herself to gracefully and ever so gently step into vulnerability – to dare to trust again, to be curious, to experience joy. She bounds into the moment without any stories of imperfection or of needing to justify who she is.

Wag, wag, wag. Because I am human and I do need the crutch of mantras and affirmations this is my new one “wag, wag, wag”. Let me stand in the midst of my own vulnerabilities and flirtations with shame over “foolish behaviour” and remember that I don’t need to lead with it.  I too can be unapologetic in my being.

Wag, wag, wag.

in celebration, Tania

Barb Bozzoon May 4, 2014 - 9:29am

What a powerful, poignant blog that has touched me deeply! First, I applaud you for being a "foster parent"! Your role in showing her that she can "trust" and feel "secure" in a world that has proved otherwise is so very important! How true it is that so many humans live in their self-made bubble, constantly trying to figure out what "normal" is and fearing that they will overstep that perception! Life has so much to offer if only we allow ourselves to be vulnerable, stop judging and "bound into each moment" with a sense of joy and trust. I love your concept of treating each day as if there is "a treat to be found". There is always something to celebrate if only we open our eyes. Thanks, Tania, for your compassion and wisdom!

Thank YOU Barb! Isn't it true that all dogs seem to have that 'there's a treat to be found" spirit? I sit here on a rainy day, with a bit of a tummy bug, inclined to mope because I can't be in the garden, and your reminder make me realize...wag, wag, wag.... there is a treat to be found in this moment too. Have a great, glorious day.

Tania, fantastic story and reminder of what is possible for us humans … moment-to-moment unabashed irresistible expressions of who we are and what we feel! Almost a year ago someone dumped a tiny kitten in the woods up the road from our house. I have no idea how long he was fending for himself, but he was a skinny mess and stuck to me like velcro when we found each other. Within a few days, there was no sign of any trauma or awkwardness. Within a week, I was so totally charmed by his goofy antics that I had no desire to give him to his new family. Instead, Moonalicious became our resident comedian. With an uncanny awareness of when I am becoming too serious, he easily breaks the spell with one of his many invented games. He's become one of my greatest teachers, reminding me to let go of my diminishing stories and lighten up!!! Thanks again, Tania Great cause for celebration!

Moonalicious! What a superb name and how lovely - isn't it true that if we still ourselves long enough to leave our stories, the creatures around us always show us the next right answer? That is one of the first lessons I learned from Dewitt. I'm going to go see my two felines, Naavi and Sheba...who also remind me to play, chill and when there is a beam of sunshine, sit in it!


Thank you again for bidding to win this special date with BHRR's Angel Noelle. Thank you and your husband for spending a few loving hours with her as I continued to rehab her to being the best dog she can be. Each positive experience continues to make her that much more well balanced and, the lessons that she keeps teaching others about how normal she is, is deeply inspirational.
Barb, she is not being temp fostered. BHRR offers up a very unique one of a kind special Fundraiser that allows the public to have an afternoon with a BHRR dog, that is ready for this step, including a picnic!
The monies raised goes to the care of said dog.
BHRR's Angel Noelle is a huge hit at BHRR and comes to many of our community education plus public awareness events. She was at PV Hazeldean yesterday as her most recent rescue outing, working her charm!
She is also now available for adoption, now that she has been successfully rehabbed at BHRR! :)

Another thing to celebrate - that Noelle is ready for adoption. I know that she will bring the right family daily celebrations. Thanks to you and all the loving and dedicated work you do in sharing your gifts of rehabilitation to the world.

I looked up and read about BHRR, Gwendilin, and love its unique and thorough approach to adoption of pets. BHRR's Angel Noelle was extra special. My daughter owns a Three Dog Bakery in Lake Arrowhead, Ca. and is an avid "rescuer" and advocate for abandoned and abused dogs. She works with many rescue places to find "forever homes" and foster homes for so many loving pets! I will share your site with her. Many thanks for all the work that you do!

Rob Frutcheyon May 5, 2014 - 7:06am

Such a thoughtful warm message - - - and so much to be learned from our furry friends! Here's to more wagging in life! Thank you Tania!

wag, wag, wag! Thanks for your note. It is true that our teachers are all around us! Have a great day. T

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