I’m looking at a dog. No, I’m not looking at a dog like one looks at a house on the market or a new car, I’m literally sitting here, looking at a dog. Her name is Maggie, She belongs to my boss.
Maggie is lying on my living room floor. She opens her eyes when she senses me moving. She doesn’t want to miss what I’m doing since it might involve kibble or a walk.
My boss and his spouse are away for the weekend, at a wedding. Maggie came to visit me for the duration. She knows my truck, she knows my hand and she knows my voice. If I open the door of my truck, or the tailgate, she looks at me and I nod and she’s in like a shot from a gun.
So why am I writing about Maggie?
Maggie doesn’t have any ADHD traits that I am aware of. Well, maybe a bit of hyperfocus in the presence of squirrels, but who doesn’t have that problem, right?
What Maggie has, that I want to point out to you, is innocence. She is totally and completely without guile.
Is she perfect?
No, she’s not perfect, not by any stretch of the imagination. Here’s an example. I got out a couple of treats for her last night, and gave her one. While she decimated that, I set the other one on the counter and went to another room to grab my jacket. When I came back, the only thing in the kitchen was Maggie. There was no treat on the counter.
It was her treat. She knew it. It was right there, well within her reach. And now it was gone.
And Maggie was giving me her happy face expression. Okay, she only has the one expression unless she’s angry. What I’m saying is that she was not hiding, she was not slinking off to avoid punishment. She was unaware that there had been a transgression. Why? Because the standard that would suggest that the treat be left on the counter until my return is my standard, not hers. She knows nothing of the rules of the house. This isn’t even her house.
Rules? What rules?
We are not dogs. We are people. We know better than to break the rules. But we don’t always know all the rules. And when we do, sometimes we are faced with the problem of breaking one rule or another when there is no option to avoid it. And we don’t always make good decisions in that regard.
When we do break the rules, we do so without guile.
Okay, yeah, you’re right, we don’t always break the rules innocently. But often times we do. And it’s those times that we feel the most guilt. We failed once again. Failed to see the obvious, to understand the situation, to account for the potential of our proposed actions and temper them with that accounting.
We are innocent, as innocent as Maggie, but we will punish ourselves. And we will allow others to punish us as well, feeling that we deserve it.
I’ve observed people punishing dogs. They lose their temper, they scold incessantly, they may even offer to physically punish and, Gods help them, they may do so with intent to harm or inflict pain out of their anger. The dog, unable to figure out what the person is ranting about, suffers these abuses with the proper contrite attitude and then is blessed by being able to walk away and take a nap.
I think that before we spend years of our lives trying to improve so that we don’t make the innocent mistakes we ADHDers make, we should take a lesson from Maggie’s kind and learn how to take a scolding and then have a nap.
I have to go now, Maggie is on the table, eating the butter.
Good dog, Maggie.