“You can’t teach an old dog new tricks.” – Unknown (but probably Socrates)
I like to refer to Susie as an ‘older pup’.
Yes, I realize that that’s an oxymoron, but here we are.
When I say she’s an older pup, I’m referring to the fact that, while she is advanced in age (we don’t know her exact age; our guess is 12-13 years old), she is young at heart.
She will run out to greet me when I come home from work, but won’t jump up and knock me down. She will lay at my feet, instead of running under them. She can also still sprint around the backyard like the best of the them, but quickly remembers her age and calls it quits before her arthritis flares up.
My girl isn’t lazy — she’s just super chill.
That’s why we are always so surprised when she forgets those chill vibes and, quite frankly, loses her mind.
Enter in: Car rides.
You see, Susie girl didn’t grow up taking car rides, so she never learned how to act in a moving vehicle.
Take our first attempt for example. We decided to have her roam freely in the backseat — you know, where most dogs usually sit. But our girl isn’t most dogs. Susie didn’t understand the constant movement of the car and would therefore, try to walk normally. As I’m sure you can guess, this resulted in her being flung from one side of the car to the other, or losing her footing and falling into the floorboards.
Furthermore, she didn’t understand why she had to be in the backseat, when her humans were sitting in the row ahead of her. So in her attempt to rectify this woeful mishap, she made it her life’s mission to join us in the cockpit, regardless of whether we wanted her to or not (spoiler alert: we did not).
Oh, and don’t even try rolling down the window so she can take in all the new smells. Homegirl has – and would again, if given the chance – jumped out… of a moving car.
We did try the whole dog car hammock thing, to at least deter her from jumping into the front seat. She found this attempt to restrain her rather amusing.
So, we stepped up our game by purchasing a kennel to put in the back of the hubby’s SUV. We even sprung for the accompanying crate pad, because #YOLO. Surely, a confined space and a comfortable bed would make for better car rides.
And yet, this still resulted in her trying to walk around the kennel, being thrown against the crate walls and failing to understand that her refusal to lay down would only result in her falling down.
One day, as we were driving around town, me and the hubs in the front, Susie thrashing around the kennel in the back, I remember saying —
“You know, this would be much easier if you would just lay down!”
Now, of course, she paid me no mind and continued on in her failed attempts to remain upright. However, that passing comment that was directed towards her, brought to mind Scripture to me.
“Be still, and know that I am God.” – Psalm 46:10
In context, this verse is in relation to the Israelites rejoicing. Rejoicing in the fact that God would deliver them, even in the midst of battles, turbulent times and nations raging. They were to be still and know – know that in the end, He would be exalted among the nations and the earth.
In the context of my life, I too, find myself engulfed in battles (of the mind), turbulent times (of uncertainty) and raging (fear).
And too often, in order to combat these trying circumstances, I find myself guilty of — simply put, doing the most. Not only will I plan my ways, but while I’m at it, I’ll try to direct my steps too. I can’t be still – there’s so much that needs to be done.
Yet, when the dust clears and the fog has lifted, I find that the only thing I have to show for my trouble is exhaustion and wasted time.
While there is something to be said about hard work and rebuking laziness, one must also not fall into the ruts of insanity — doing the same thing over and over again, and expecting different results.
And trying to stand on four legs while riding in a car going 40 MPH is insane.
Speaking of which, we did come up with a solution for our ever moving dog. She wanted in the front, so we put her in the front. Having her in the passenger seat ensures we can keep one hand on her and more easily coax her into laying down.
So she can be still (and resume being chill).
I guess you can teach an old dog new tricks.