Sunday, October 21, 2007

Sit, stay

A puppy is being trained against her will, but all she wants to do is play. Surely it's for her own good that she learns to be controlled, protective and cautious; this is life after all and there is danger everywhere.

A puppy on a leash swings by on new legs, and as you cross her path she looks into your eyes. She's saying hello, telling you how happy she is to be there. She doesn't know to question; she assumes you're happy to be there too. So once you return her gaze and smile, she pulls free and knocks you down. In that moment she is unbridled and unapologetic, in that moment there is nothing but a burst of joy and its matching physical reaction. She has no doubt that you will receive her like a gift, and she doesn't imagine she'd be met with a Sit. Stay. Stop. The moment ends abruptly when she feels the tightening of the chain around her neck, pulled by a firm but gentle hand, and she is stunned and slightly embarrassed. She licks her lips and the skin on her back contracts. She looks to her handler and asks her first question.

Why can't I?

A puppy is trained against her will and has no interest in knowing that love isn't easy or that it can hurt, or that not everyone wants it or wants to give it. She has no desire to learn about trust, that it's something to be earned. Her training is a complicated thing, a mixed bag and a cruel joke. It brings her illusions to the surface and forces her to leave them behind, like that stick in the park that gave her such pleasure but was really no good for her after all.

A puppy who is grown is trained to guard her heart; a heart that, regardless of her attempts to make it sit, stay and stop, is building itself a wall.

No comments: