• Rishi Gaurav Bhatnagar

A tale of two dogs - and a moment of self-reflection

I am always mesmerised by how the universe shows me answers to the questions I have been pondering over. In the most magical ways, It simplifies things for me, always. It is one of those moments that I am called to share with you.

The date was Dec 1, 2020. I had an opportunity to host the BESTEST guest in the world. Laila. She came home to spend a few hours with me and made it her own. She is the kindest, gentlest dog.

Shubham and I decided to step out for dinner at Toit this evening. Right at the entrance, we spotted a dog who just wasn't happy that Laila was around. Her name was Po. From my little experience of being around dogs, I know this for sure. No dog is a ferocious dog. They, however, react when they get triggered. For all, I know Po is the most gentle dog there can be, but this evening Po's avatar was that of a ferocious dog that just wanted to attack Laila and have all the space/territory for herself.

Toit has enough space for two dogs. And those two happened to be Laila and Po.

Her owner and we settled down in two far separate areas, far enough for dogs' leashes to keep them in check, but not far enough for both the dogs to not notice each other. We sat near the Pub's indoor entrance - one side was Po, another side was Laila. All the people who walked by could see both of them, they could pet both of them - in other words, both the dogs had same opportunities to receive love and pets, but something interesting happened.

Laila is a rescue dog, and she is learning to trust Shubham. Initially, she was scared, but then, when Shubham ensured her that she was safe, she quickly went back to her natural state of play and just being the curious sweetheart she is. She calmed down, she let go and stopped reacting to Po's aggression towards her.

She let go.

She was in the moment, amused by everything.

Since she was calm, her energies attracted everyone towards her.

She quickly became the sweetheart of the Pub. Everyone was coming towards her, petting her, showing all the love they could, and she showering it right back.

Because she was so famous, and everyone could speak with her, the TOIT waiters felt comfortable around her. One of them came and offered us a Mango lolly for Laila. I mean, isn't that crazy? (NO ONE OFFERS ME MANGO LOLLY, WHAT IS THIS)


Po, on the other hand, was having a tough time.

She wasn't able to let go of the fact that there is another dog in the same territory.

She kept growling, barking, trying to attack Laila, and that changed her energies.

People were scared of her, and waiters were scared of her.

On an off chance, if someone went to pet her because she was so fixated on Laila, she would continue being in a state of aggression and push people away.

No one offered her a lolly :(

Do you know the worst part? When Po saw everyone petting Laila, she started squealing, because she also wanted attention, pets, love, but because of her fixation, she just pushed everyone away.

Po wanted what Laila had, all she needed to do was let go, stop reacting and get to her natural state, but unfortunately, she wasn't able to (and the owner didn't help with this at all. Instead of calming her down through words of affirmation, Po only got scolding and aggression back from her owner. Po's owner left Po without support)

As all of this was unfolding in front of my eyes, I started to reflect on my behaviour:

  1. How often do I end up in a state of reaction?

  2. How often do I end up pushing away everything I want, because I fixate on something else?

  3. If I am in a state of reaction, how does anyone meet my real (better, calmer, kind and caring) self?

  4. When I don't let go, am I not responsible for my own suffering?

  5. How do I become aware of my fixation on things?

  6. What can I do to let go?

  7. How do I go back to my natural state of play, especially when I am triggered?

  8. How do I work on my triggers, so they stop controlling me?

Since that evening, I have been a bit more aware of my attachments, fixations and reactions. I was surprised to see how often I find myself in a moment of fixation when triggered. I have also realised that just the awareness of the fixation is half the work done, with self-compassion and support from friends, it gets better.

I guess when you let go, you truly create the space for what's to come next. The universe delivers on it, every time. Here's to a self that spends more time in the state of play!

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