Odd Dog Out 3/20/21

Thoughts by Richard Bleil

Today a video of three dogs crossed my path. They were facing a rather tall fence gate door. I don’t know where this was because the surroundings struck me as rather bleak and depressing, but the dogs seemed sweet. They looked like labs, and they seemed to want to get out. I don’t blame them.

One dog tried what dogs do, jumping up to see if he can clear the fence, but came nowhere close. The second didn’t make an effort, but the third one, instead of jumping, just climbed. Putting his front paws high through the fence openings, he (or she, as the case may be) then put her back paws through fence opening. And sure enough, the dog climbed the fence. S/he did find her/himself rather higher than she wanted to jump, but eventually put her paws down far enough on the fence, then jumped from there.

Seeing this dog get free, the second dog decided to try again. Still jumping, this time as he reached the apex of the leap, s/he put his paws through the fence holes, basically jumping onto the fence. This put him/her near the top and struggled then to climb the rest of the distance. The third dog still didn’t try.

What intrigued me most about this video is the instinct of the dogs. Dogs are born runners and jumpers; it’s just in their genetic makeup, and they’re excellent at it, but with this barrier, jumping just didn’t work. It took one dog to think outside of its instinct, to choose to climb instead of jump that succeeded. Once the other dog saw this, s/he learned and did something similar.

I guess there is nothing really new or novel about this post. Basically, I’m suggesting that sometimes it’s necessary to “think outside of the box”. I’m not sure how many people actually understand what that means, but these dogs provided such a beautiful example of such thinking.

In California, there was recently an experiment done in a city. I’m not finding the story at the moment, so please forgive any mistakes, but my understanding is that this city chose families with certain income limits and gave them $500 per month, no strings attached, for several years. Surprisingly, these families, on average, thrived, not only in saving money but also in career development. It seems that, with a guaranteed income, these families used it for self-improvement, and to hold out for better paying wages than they would have been forced into if they were more desperate for the income.

Now here’s thinking out of the box. Instead of hounding these families to pull themselves out of their troubles, they actually gave money away, the kind of thing that so many conservatives hate and argue against. But, this money, no doubt, ended up back in the coffers of the city. Higher paying jobs resulted in higher taxable income, and the needed income was spent by these families on necessary items which not only circulated these monies throughout the city, but also returned money in sales taxes as well.

I’m hoping I can break out of my own emotional box. Today I discovered that my “gift card” which was given to me for participating in the Covid-19 vaccine study has nearly nine hundred dollars on it. I asked my friends on social media what I should do with it, and the best suggestion so far is to use it to return to therapy. I’ve been wanting to resume therapy for quite some time now. I was in therapy about thirty years ago, going twice a week for a couple of years, but I felt it was incomplete by the time we ended because I was moving. So, today I registered for online therapy.

With luck, through this online therapy I’ll figure out what has kept me in my circular thinking pattern, my behaviors that have kept me running around in the same small circle. If you always turn the same direction, as I do, then you can only go around the block. I need to find a way to think outside of my block as well, and I’m hoping this will provide a pathway for me to move forward. I need to figure out how to climb my own emotional fence, which is very tall indeed, to get to the other side. This will be an expensive program, so I hope it is worthwhile, but what I do know is that I cannot get over that fence without somebody, or something, showing me the way.

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