I Want Out

I remember when I first bought my dogs two years ago, Bruce and PJ. Bruce, our beagle, has always marched to his own drum. He's obedient, but on his own time. You put him on a diet, he finds food elsewhere. He's never met a person or thing that scares him. We named him Bruce for Bruce Banner and, while his stature isn't Hulk-like, his spirit sure is.

PJ, on the other hand, is entirely different. A border collie-great pyrenese mix, his size has never matched his demeanor. He's always been timid, shying away from people and things for one reason or another. He keeps to himself and does his best to please so that he doesn't get in trouble. While Bruce has been in doggy prison more times than all the Batman villains combined, PJ lives to please. He slinks around quietly and stays out of the way. Think Adrian from the Rocky series.

About three months ago, I was awakened out of my sleep by a constant, whiny barking. I expected it to be Bruce because, well, that's the kind of thing I expect from the little roly poly. To my surprise it was PJ, not only barking but pawing and scratching trying to get out of his kennel. I ran him downstairs to use the bathroom thinking that had to be the issue. It wasn't a minute before I put him back in the kennel that he started barking again. Finally, not knowing what else to do, I let him out of the kennel. Within five minutes he was asleep laying stretched out on the carpet at the foot of our bed.

This went on for weeks.

My quiet dog had become an outspoken nightmare. When I started to think about it more, a lightbulb went off inside my head. PJ was so desperate to change his situation that he was willing to step out of his comfort zone and do whatever he needed to do until he got what he wanted. No matter how many times I scolded him, he refused to stop barking.

Life sucks sometimes and I'm saying that as a total optimist. We get stuck in certain situations and we forget that we have the power to change them. We forget to bark. You don't have to be satisfied with the mundane, with the ordinary. Bad circumstances might seem suffocating, but there is almost always a way out and it almost always starts with us.  Good change usually isn't earned without a struggle.  So either keep fighting or start today!  Don't stop barking! Who knows, you bark long enough and that kennel door just might open.

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