I have mentioned in previous posts that when I married Tami I also adopted her little Pekingese dog, Chloe.
Chloe and I took awhile to get used to each other. I’m still adjusting, she’s still just being Chloe. I think the kids were particularly hard for Chloe to handle.
Chloe isn’t like other dogs. She doesn’t lick your hand or eat off the ground. She doesn’t pant and slobber.
She’s not exactly a kids’ dog. She’s set in her ways and she’s particular, very particular. And, she has the personality of a cat.
But, what you really have to understand about Chloe is that she has a single purpose in life. She is the protector of her domain. If you attempt to trespass on her domain, then she’s going to bark incessantly and expect those whom she’s protecting to stand back while she goes on the attack.
She will attack and give no deference to the the size or scope of the perceived threat, whether beasts or beings, friends or foes. She has absolutely no fear. Nor does she stop to consider the risks.
She’s fierce! I would even say she’s ferocious if she wasn’t so small!
It took me awhile to understand that this little barking, biting dog wasn’t being annoying. She’s a dog with a purpose–maintaining the sanctity of her domain! And, her ferocity wasn’t necessarily bad dog behavior but her determination to fiercely protect her domain.
And now I think of her ferocity, as an honorable character trait for a dog (though sometimes her incessant barking can be quite annoying).
I recently attended a parent-teacher conference. I won’t go into all the specifics of my children’s behavior at school as told to me at the conference, but I do want to share a story told to me by one of Kaleb’s teachers.
One day when Kaleb and Kenzie were entering the school building at the beginning of the school day, Kenzie stopped in the entrance and knelt down to tie her shoe. Admittedly, the entrance to the school isn’t the best place to stop and tie your shoe. But Kenzie doesn’t think about things like that. So, the other kids walking in the school had to go around her.
One of Kaleb’s teachers (the same one who told me this story) observed Kaleb and Kenzie entering together and Kenzie stopping to tie her shoe. The teacher said that Kaleb continued walking to his class but kept looking back over his shoulder to check on Kenzie.
Several bigger (fifth-grade ) boys entered the building in a small group and encountered Kenzie knelt down in the entrance tying her shoe. The boys broke ranks to bypass Kenzie with some going on one side of her and some going on the other side–in effect, encircling her as they walked by.
Fourth-grader Kaleb, thinking that these fifth-grade boys were somehow ganging up on Kenzie, stopped and called back to them: “Hey, that’s my sister!”
Thinking his sister needed protecting from the boys, Kaleb started to double-back to where Kenzie was kneeling down. But, the teacher who was watching this situation unfold quickly intervened. The teacher told Kaleb the boys were just walking around Kenzie and to calm down and to proceed to his class.
Of course it made me very proud that Kaleb was trying to protect his sister in his own misguided way. I think I teared up while the teacher was telling me this story.
Hopefully, you’ve made the connection between these two stories and why I’ve mentioned both in this one blog post. It seems Kaleb and Chloe have a common personality trait–ferocity. Unfortunately, I’m not so sure it’s a good thing–for dog or boy. While they both think they are the protectors of their respective domains, neither has any regard for the size or the scale of the presumed threat.
Although their shared ferocity is an admirable trait, their mutual poor decision-making skills can involve them in battles they can’t possibly win.
All the ferocity in the world doesn’t beat outnumbered or outsized!
I think that while they are both fiercely protecting their domains, they both need protecting from their own ferocity!!