Wednesday, June 13, 2012

my dogs jump

A lot of people teach their dogs not to jump up as a greeting. I do not. I adore it when I come home and Gibson leaps up on his back feet and wraps his front legs around my hips and holds on. It's a canine hug, and he means it. He lays his head against my chest and looks up into my eyes and his tail wags and I grab him around the ribs and hold tight. I am pro dog hugging. It makes me feel good.

I read today that dogs are the only animals, other than primates, that can read human emotions through faces and actions. Other domesticated animals will come to the people that feed and comfort them if they cry or seem despondent, but apparently the science says that only dogs and primates can look at your face and understand, make decisions about their interaction with you based on your eyes, face, laughter, tears.

I don't raise this point to argue, or to invalidate the compassion of your cat, parrot, horse or raccoons or whatever. I am sure your animals have comforted you as well. I raise it because I have spent my entire adult life in the company of dogs, always 2 or 3. Sometimes my living room has 200 pounds of dog and 25 pounds of feline all sharing the box fan and it is as serene a scene as waves hitting the shore. We all live together, and we know each other. We know our boundaries and quirks, voices and needs. We have our own routines and habits. And yesterday and this morning some anxiety and worry took over and I walked into a room, probably weighing an extra hundred pounds of radiating stress. I'm worried, folks. About a whole bunch of things. A lot of the pieces of leaving my desk job aren't falling into place. Loopholes in contracts, delays in payments, just everyday issues really. But enough to make you wake up at 3:30 AM and not fall back asleep.

Anyway, so I walked into a room, feeling all this. And Gibson simply lifted his head from his paws, stood up, and walked over to me with decision on his face. He didn't bark, or wine, or ask anything of me. He just lifted himself off the ground and wrapped his paws around me and held on. I held on to him, too. I kissed his little black head and told him he was a good boy.

I am very glad my dogs jump.

34 Comments:

Blogger Bonnie said...

This is a big transition for you, and it'll probably hit you in waves for awhile. Know that the Internet is full of people cheering for you, myself included. Give Gibson an extra hug or two, and keep moving along. You're doing great!

June 13, 2012 at 10:50 AM  
Blogger Dayle said...

I have 2 big German Shepherds and I weigh about 110 pounds.....slightly more than them. When they jump, they knock me down! I'm glad my dogs DON'T jump....very often, or all my hugs would be taken on my back!!!! I'm glad Gibson hugs you at all the right times! They DO know! You're gonna be fine...have faith.

June 13, 2012 at 10:58 AM  
Blogger Meredith A said...

will you link the article?

June 13, 2012 at 11:36 AM  
Blogger Stacie said...

My dogs jump, too! One of my dogs is so in tune with our facial expressions that the ultimate punishment for him is a stern look-- if he does something really bad, we won't smile at him for an hour or two. Once we finally end the "punishment" and smile, he jumps on us and kisses our face in relief. It's a great thing to have that kind of relationship with an animal- I don't even have that with most people!

June 13, 2012 at 11:50 AM  
Blogger The Village Queen said...

Hang in there Jenna and remember to breathe. Welcome to the joys of the self employed. The biggest thing for me to get over was the fear, learning to trust that I had something to offer and that there was enough work out there for me. If I read Martha Beck and others about emergency funds and such Id get scared so I dont read that stuff. Work ebs and flows and when I was able to relax and trust in the Uinverse that things would work out, they have. Dog hugs sound wonderful. It will take some time to adjust to this new life and there will be cold sweat nights, but more blissful days were you dont have to deal with office politics and will become open to a new way of moving through the world. Dog kisses help too!

June 13, 2012 at 12:09 PM  
Blogger kate said...

Self-employment is like that, with questions and unknowns, but you will get used to it. It took me about two months without weekly pay checks to understand it in a deeper way. Now there is no going back!

My dogs jump up too, especially the young one who wants to lick my face and keeps trying.

June 13, 2012 at 12:37 PM  
Anonymous kevin said...

It's OK mommy, we believe in you.

June 13, 2012 at 12:38 PM  
Blogger jules said...

Has your other kitty come out of the laundry room yet, to live amongst the rest of the pack? I forget her name.

Hang in there Jenna. You've got the right stuff to make this all work.

June 13, 2012 at 12:38 PM  
Anonymous Danielle H. said...

I wholeheartedly agree! My springer spaniel is a jumper and a snuggler too.
When anxiety strikes I make a plan of action. I try to confront my worries head on and then follow my plan; that is all a person can do. The rest may be beyond your control. Remember that you have made admirable decisions to get to where you are now. Hang in there, and know you have a whole community of readers behind you!

June 13, 2012 at 12:40 PM  
Blogger greendria said...

Beautifully written. The science you mentioned supports my own observations about how differently my dog and cat act in response to emotion from me. The best is when I'm laughing it up, my dog gets so excited and prancy it seems like he's laughing with me.

June 13, 2012 at 12:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It seems you so desperatly just want to be a farmer, but you can't. You have to be so many other things in order to be that. Most I'm sure you enjoy. Others you do because you must. You got spunk.

I hope that things improve for you and you aren't forced into painful decisions about what you enjoy, and what you actually need.

June 13, 2012 at 1:13 PM  
Blogger Jenna said...

It was non the front page of reddit yesterday, and is no longer. but what they were talking about there is this kind of study:

http://www.cell.com/current-biology/abstract/S0960-9822(11)01393-5

June 13, 2012 at 1:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh Jenna, I'd worry so much about you if you had a cavalier attitude about these changes in your life. All this uncertainty and waking up in the middle of the night just shows how very seriously you take your plans for the future and it seems perfectly natural to me. It may take a while before you're able to trust your judgment enough to quit holding your breath. When that time comes...and it will...you'll look back on these stressful days as a rite of passage.

In the meantime, your buddies the dogs are so intuitive and know that all will be well with you eventually. Until then, they'll give you all the hugs you want and and need, thankfully.

Diane in North Carolina

June 13, 2012 at 2:24 PM  
Blogger Karen Rickers said...

Thinking of you, Jenna. I understand money difficulties, and when I'm anxious, I repeat Julian of Norwich's famous manta:

"All will be well, and all will be well, and all manner of things will be well."

June 13, 2012 at 2:34 PM  
Anonymous Jamie said...

Jenna, you don't have to post this comment. This got kicked back as spam from your email, though, so I'm getting it to you this way. :)

Anyway...

This may or may not be what you need today at all, but after reading your post this morning, here's a little bit of serendipity. These words may sound familiar. I keep this paragraph copied-and-pasted on my desktop:

"I have absolutely zero fear of failing at this, at ANY of this. I have no fear of losing my corporate job, or my house burning down, or a horse breaking his leg in the field. I am lucky to be 29 as I write this, young enough to accept some serious failure if that is what life throws at me. If I lose my job I'll get another. If my house burns down I'll rent a trailer and rebuild it (that's why I pay for insurance). And if a horse I loved breaks his legs in the field I'll put a rifle to his head and shoot him. I'm not scared of loss, risk, or pain. Life is a sad, messy, and scary place sometimes and I accept the dark parts of it as much as the light parts. I refuse to spend a life setting myself up to not face these things are then label it "successful". I know a lot of miserable people with money in the bank and 401k plans who admittedly never really lived a day in their lives."
(http://coldantlerfarm.blogspot.com/2012/02/biting-your-tail.html)

Funny as this may be to hear from a stranger, I got so excited when I read you were quitting your job. I live on a farm and freelance. I haven't darkened the door of an office in six years. What you wrote above might as well be my manifesto. Unequivocally, it's the best damn thing I've done in my life, and it will be for you too, because your heart is all there. So, breathe deeply. Rest well. The stress and sleepless nights are so, so worth it, and you'll go back to not being scared of the loss, risk, or pain.

Understatement time: thanks so much for what you do!

June 13, 2012 at 2:39 PM  
Blogger Ivanhoe said...

Dogs truly have evolved together with us. Such a symbiotic relationship!

June 13, 2012 at 2:56 PM  
Blogger Ivanhoe said...

Dogs truly have evolved together with us. Such a symbiotic relationship!

June 13, 2012 at 2:57 PM  
Blogger Lisa said...

HI Jenna.
As our Irish Wolfhound would be 7'1" on his hind legs-
I am NOT in favor of him jumping!!!!
Lisa in Maine

June 13, 2012 at 3:26 PM  
Blogger seagrrlz said...

Maid, you'll be ok! I just know it. Of course this is a big step. You have completely 100% devoted yourself. We're all rooting for you.

June 13, 2012 at 4:17 PM  
Blogger seagrrlz said...

Maid, you'll be ok! I just know it. Of course this is a big step. You have completely 100% devoted yourself. We're all rooting for you.

June 13, 2012 at 4:18 PM  
Blogger Noël said...

Self-employment can be a hard road, but it's worth it. You'll never work harder, but you'll never feel better about what you've accomplished.

June 13, 2012 at 5:44 PM  
Blogger goatgirl said...

I call 3 in the morning "the worry hour". Everything seems bigger at 3 am. By morning it all seems do-able. Just keep that in mind. Just about everyone I know wakes up and worries about small things that have become huge at 3 am.
You can do this. It wouldn't be right if it were too easy.
I'm a dog trainer though and my dogs don't jump on me but they do jump on my husband. They also sit by him when he is eating...just in case. It is funny to see all four of them sitting by him and no one by me.

June 13, 2012 at 7:18 PM  
Blogger karental said...

Our Great Dane? No jumping allowed.

Our Corgi? Jump all she wants.

The difference? About 100 pounds and 3 feet.

Sorry you are worried but so glad you have your animals for comfort.

June 13, 2012 at 7:32 PM  
Blogger Linden said...

I have an Irish Wolfhound who is 6'2" when he stands up to hug. I love it, although it helps that my husband and I are both 5'10" and not likely to fall over. And we have managed to teach him to wait until we are facing him and have nothing in our hands and nod before he jumps.

Soon you will wonder why you didn't become self-employed a long time ago. It can be frightening, but it is glorious, too. Good Luck.

June 13, 2012 at 8:24 PM  
Blogger Ann said...

Pets are wonderful. I get such joy from having my cats sit with me in the living room or lay on my bed with me.

Ann Lawson
http://www.creativedoggytreats.com

June 13, 2012 at 8:37 PM  
Blogger Melina said...

When I lived alone I had my Golden. He was a such a great comfort and companion. Gibson is so loving. I always enjoy his energy.

June 13, 2012 at 9:34 PM  
Blogger Mare said...

Jenna, i totally agree with you. My 6 dogs all run to greet my visitors, and they do gently jump up. We are a motley crew of mixed breeds and sizes, but we are all very loveable here. If i have a visitor who doesn't like dogs jumping up, i have to tell them that the dogs live here, and the visitor doesn't. That's just how it is around here...

June 13, 2012 at 10:53 PM  
Blogger April said...

Some how I think you would feel a little different if Gibson was say... a Great Dane or a Mastiff LOL. Dogs are wonderful and I"m glad I have my Cricket Too :D

June 14, 2012 at 5:40 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have ram lambs that jump! When their sharp, little hooves scrape down my calves (ouch) I remind myself to be grateful for the privilege of raising livestock.

@Village Queen: Lovely words of hope.

June 14, 2012 at 8:26 AM  
Blogger Molly Medharas said...

I know how you feel. I retired six months ago at the age of 58 (after about 40 years in the workplace). It took awhile for reality to set in. Yet I am living the life I had envisioned for so long - to live frugally and not have to work anymore.

Yes, I still wake up at 3 am and worry. Yet by morning, everything seems doable again.

Yesterday I thought about getting a part time job for a little extra cash. I even brought home a job application from a local business. By the time I got home, the application was in the trash. I honestly don't know when I would have time to work. I am too busy doing all those things I couldn't do when I was in the workforce.

Hang in there. I KNOW you can do this!

June 14, 2012 at 12:43 PM  
Blogger Molly Medharas said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

June 14, 2012 at 12:43 PM  
Blogger Glyndalyn said...

I believe it will work out for you. Hug you dog, goat, and horse. They are wonderful.

WOrk gives you less time to worry.

From the very blessed Phony Farm. We are over run with vegetables from the garden.

June 14, 2012 at 6:55 PM  
Blogger Heather said...

Jenna, I have been unemployed for almost 3 months because of a "learning opportunity" I created for myself and the fact that my previous employer was looking to save money by making my position part time. All I have had to fall back on is my freelance writing, and very low and temporary unemployment payments. I know how you must feel~ it IS totally terrifying not having a "real" job, but you and your blog have been inspirational to me. You are living the life I always wanted. I would have been paralyzed with fear long ago if it were not for you and your optimism here.
You have so much talent when it comes to writing and have grown your business and brand so well here... have you considered giving writing/social media/marketing classes at all? People could take those online from anywhere and if I could rustle up the money or barter for them, I'd sign up in a heartbeat.

June 15, 2012 at 10:23 AM  
Blogger Meredith said...

Thank you Gibson for the great big hug you gave me when I arrived shaken and panic-stricken at the Plan B workshop.
I didn't think about it until I read your Mom's post but you coming over to me and giving me that great big jumping hug really took some tension away.

PS - I am sorry I didn't give you my water bottle. I didn't think your Mom would want you chewing on plastic. :)

June 15, 2012 at 8:46 PM  

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home