Running for Joy

Mister Bojangles is my little 10 pound Jack Russel, Chihuahua mix dog. Technically a designer Jackchi. Ha! that just makes me laugh. Its fancy talk for mutt. He is a rescue from Texas. He was lost during a flood down there. He doesn’t bark much and he behaves for the most part. He seems to like men more than women but he loves me. He is not incredibly intelligent but he is sweet and loves to play. When I first got Mr. B he had no idea how to play with toys. Over time he learned how to play with toys and now he has specific toys he loves. He has a great space with a window and to be honest he is pretty spoiled. The first week I got him I was living in downtown Rochester. This was about 4 years ago. I was walking him in the churchyard next to my apartment building and he backed out of his harness. He immediately took off toward the road and there was a bus coming. I screamed out “B!!!” and he stopped in his tracks and ran back to me with his tail between his legs. It scared me. Over time I learned that B does not really understand that roads mean really big dog squashing cars and trucks. He was always trying to go into the road. So that leads us to our adventure this morning.

Mr. B got off his leash this morning in our front yard. I was dressed for work and in heels. I dropped the leash on the lawn and took off after him. He was running full tilt for East Avenue. I had the worse case scenario in my mind and figured that either he would be lost or killed by a car. I kept calling to him and running after him. When he got to East Avenue he turned right and stayed on the sidewalk. I was surprised and happy about that but he was still running. He would run and then take a quick pee on something and then run again so I could not catch him. It was like he was taking one of his regular walks on fast forward. I was frantic. If he reached Penfield Road he would have to cross and that would be dangerous for him. I kept chasing, threw off my shoes and chased some more all the time yelling out “Mister B!”. Then I started begging “come here boy I have a treat for you”. I even picked up a small stick trying to pretend like it was a treat in my hand. He stopped and looked back at me and then kept running. I said it a few more times and he would stop and then take off again. Finally I just gave up. I decided I could not stand by and see my dog hit on the road and at this point there was no catching him. I yelled out “ok you win, I’m going home.” I turned to walk home and I was crying over the fact that I had failed him somehow. I also thought to myself that he must really not like me to run away like that. I know that I should not put human experience onto a dog because for him it was probably more like “woohoo!!! I can pee on everything!” I glanced back and there he was trotting behind me. He was not close yet but he was coming along behind me so I kept walking and he kept following. After a few moments he was walking closer to me and then he stopped to pee and I picked him up. Just like that….as soon as I gave up the chase he came right back to my side.

I cannot lie…I wanted to scream. This reminds me of so much of my fucking life and almost every single one of my x’s. In my past I have only said “That’s it I’m going home” in one instance and in that case I didn’t really want to say it but the pain was too much and I just wanted my life back. But the chasing part? I have spent my whole life chasing people who probably did care for me but they had a joy for running from one bush to another and that was what they were going to do. I get that. I really do. All of us should do what makes us happy. If we are trying to stop someone from doing what makes them happy then the first time we loosen up the reign we try to put on them…zoom…off to Penfield Avenue they will go. It is also an untruth that they will just find someone better and stop that behavior…someone they love more and they will settle down…All Bullshit. I have seen it first hand. Their search for joy doesn’t stop because they know what they want and if you try to change someone who is trying to get to the next bush (yes, pun intended) you are going to lose the race. In the end you will be standing on the sidewalk all disheveled with your heels thrown in the grass looking pathetic. It is better to pick up your shit and go find your own joy. If they want to come back around, Yay…if not then let them go in joy and find your own joy.

I used to repeat that sappy saying which goes something like this…..if you love someone set them free if they come back they are yours if they don’t they never were. Today I call bullshit. First of all we don’t own anyone. I don’t care if you are married, been living together for years, have a collar on them or whatever. We do not own people. We cannot expect people to promise to feel a way about us until we die. I think marriage vows should never say until death do we part. I propose that instead they say “I will always be honest with you about my feelings” That way when things change you know that shit and you are not trying to guess what is going on. Additionally you are not trying to chase someone down the sidewalk when you can be chasing your own joy. Our expectations are what break our hearts and expecting someone to never change is not reality. A friend of mine recently posted on her Facebook that she wants someone who puts themselves and their joy first because that is what she is doing in her life. I have to agree. I am putting myself first. I will never chase another person. If someone doesn’t respond to me or doesn’t want to be with me then I will wish them well and move on. I will not do it in anger. I will do it with the love I feel in my heart for them. We may even cross paths again. I don’t believe it has to be “with me or fuck you”. To truly love someone is to want them to live in joy and to be happy. Yes, I may hurt when things end and I am not perfect. I have said and done things I regret in regards to endings in the past but I have learned some big lessons over the past 5 years. I am really grateful for my life and the lessons I am learning. In regards to Mr. B. When I got him home I kissed his head and told him how much I loved him. I know that I will not have him forever and I want him to be happy. I have a responsibility to him as a dog owner and I will always do my best to make sure he is safe. This starts by making sure he gets extra long walks on these beautiful days so he can pee on as many bushes as he likes.