After many, many months of loyal service to my master, I was abruptly kicked to the curb. And I have no idea why. How do I cope?
For fourteen months, I barked, I begged, and I performed tricks that were beyond my normal capabilities to please my master. I trained, I studied, and I practiced my skills, yet I was still kicked to the curb.
Of course, my master offered reasons for kicking me to the curb when I begged. However, most of his reasons made no sense or blatantly contradicted his previous objectives. Then, there were reasons, that were- well, just strange. But, I still don’t know why my master kicked me to the curb.
Seeking opinions from others offered no insights. Consolations rang hollow. Pointing out my possible errors depressed me. Hopeful sentiments invalidated my feelings. What I needed most, they could not offer.
Was it Me?
Then I started wondering, “Was my performance lacking? Was it my personality? Were my efforts insufficient? Did I not read my master’s mind well enough? Was it my mood? Was I not smart enough? Was I too foolish to realize I was simply being used? Did I do something offensive? Did I miss a deadline? Was it my appearance?
I thought I did my very best. I worked long hours until my paws bled, I whimpered as I met deadlines, and still, I was kicked to the curb – without knowing why.
Was it My Master?
Perhaps my master lacks character. Perhaps he lacks courage. Perhaps he simply uses others. Perhaps he did not communicate his needs. Perhaps he used poor judgment. Perhaps he refused to admit his errors. Perhaps he did not anticipate something well enough. Perhaps he was influenced by others.
I thought I understood him. I listened carefully to his every command. I watched every one of his body movements. I used all my senses to carefully gauge his every mood. And yet, I was still kicked to the curb – without knowing why.
Was it Destiny?
Was my relationship with my master doomed from the start? Were we simply incompatible? Were our values too far astray? Was the chemistry lacking?
What to Do?
- Grieve the loss. Although I may never find the meaning of this loss, it must be grieved fully. Each day, I set aside a half hour to reflect on my master, our work together, our conversations, and note all the things I miss. Then I resume my normal daily activities.
- Accept that some things will never be answered – in this life anyway. As a being of faith, I believe I will one day know the answers to many of my unanswered questions. Until then, I must develop faith that God knows what is best for me.
- Take stock of possible mistakes I made. Then assume ownership for them and strive to do better in the future.
- Recall any red flags or warning signs that should have been heeded. Truth be told, there were some hints that my master would abandon me one day. My instinct told me so, but I was so blinded by my desire for a relationship with him that I ignored my instincts.
- Avoid taking all the blame; no one is perfect. And certainly, a master who could not provide a thoughtful, rational reason for kicking me to the curb must be blamed for part of the situation.
- Take slow steps to move forward and find a new master – here is some animal shelter information. I will make my best efforts, I will look for red flags, I will speak up much sooner if I detect a problem and I will ask more questions.
Perhaps in time, I will understand the lessons to be learned from this encounter. In the meantime, I will slowly . . . move forward.
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