One of my personal goals for the programme is to develop patience. Real patience. Not just the patience to wait for a delayed train without moaning. I am talking about the purest form of patience, which enables you to properly observe, listen and understand. (How very 'Dalai Lama' of me!)
It was all going so well....almost too well. Perhaps the big man upstairs thought I needed to be challenged a bit more because along came Portia the puppy.
Now don't get me wrong. I love animals. We have had a dog in the family for as long as I can remember. And a dog really is a man's (or woman's) best friend. But Portia isn't yet a dog. She's a playful, curious and untrained puppy who is yet to learn "sit" and "no don't piss on my shoe!" I also feel like a single parent to Portia, in spite of the offers to 'puppy-sit' from the other volunteers. In contrast, the care of my family dogs has always felt like a shared responsibility. But to be honest with you, I would normally just take on the more glamorous jobs- such as walking, playing and stroking. Someone else- normally Dad- dealt with the pooing, crying etc...
My Dad will be laughing when he reads this...but my God, a puppy is bloody hard work!
She shits on my bed. She urinates on my lap. She cries from 4am every morning. She walks all over my tablet while I am writing. She thinks my watch strap is a tug toy and is constantly chewing it.
And not only that, it's a whole other 'person' to look after. (N.B. I strongly recommend trying out the whole puppy-thing if you are thinking about having kids!) It's not just about looking after 'me' anymore because I'm constantly having to think about Portia. So my "me time" has become pretty non-existent. For example, if I go to a coffee shop to read my book I think: where will Portia sit? what will Portia drink? does she need a snack? oh balls, she's just pooped by the door, let me get the wet wipes out again....
...someone up there is laughing!
But then maybe this is exactly what I need, in order to become the rounded and grounded person that I want to be. And to be honest with you, the good times really do make the tough times worth it because she is SO damn cute :) (Like for instance, right now: she is cuddled up on my lap watching me write and occasionally, she makes an unwelcome contribution to my blog when her paw hits the screen!)
Portia the puppy: a step-by-step guide to patience.
N.B. In addition to all of the above, the Filipino attitude towards animals is very different to what I am used to. As a result, I am having to deal with cultural clashes (as well as puppy poop) when I do something seemingly innocent such as walking Portia on a lead. Filipino dogs spend most of their lives in cages (if they are lucky enough to have an owner) and so my 'puppy love' is certainly causing a stir within the community. But that's for another blog. Watch this space.