Conflict & Empathy

25 May

Oh My Is She So Afraid

I love fireworks. I’m from Texas. I don’t love guns, though I intensely like them. Heck, I’ve had too much martial arts experience and training to keep one around. If it came to that… that’s another story. I love lightning, and storms. And, I love motorcycles. Harleys, 1000cc crotch rockets on the Isle of Man TT. If I need a boost, I simply go there on YouTube and gig it like I’m the one on the bike.

But, and this is a big but. Not like the song.

I have a German Shepherd. She’s part wolf. Can see it in the face and tail and pigeon-toed paws built for speed, and the glowing Goddess eyes when the light hits them just so.

I once watched her continue to accelerate across 3/4 of a mile on an NM mesa. Faster and faster, just closing the gap on a rabbit who ran out into the middle of a literally mile-wide open space. Stupid rabbit. Wrong way to go. Though, there’s Nature. It errs sometimes. Or, does it?

Closer and closer closing the distance, until on the other side of the almost-mile the rabbit disappeared under a big boulder. A Greyhound would have had nuthin’ on what I experienced there hanging out with my chainsaw paused watching her full-gate run across the mesa and DAYum did she go through the gears. DAYum did she go through the gears, faster and faster and faster. The longer she went, the faster she got.

Though, back to… loves and intense likes. I love fireworks. I intensely like guns. Motorcycles are da bom, especially Grand Prix types at The Isle of Man. And, lightning… though, so long as I’m in the city and not above treeline with the lightning going off in the snow electrifying the whole scene not just where it strikes… I love lightning, too.

My Girrul, though, Lyra. She isn’t afraid of much, as one would imagine. Big dogs are often strong enough to be gentle, especially of course when there’s a positive part of no bad dogs, only bad owners here. She rules. She rocks. She is sovereign.

I effin LOVE her intense gigs, even when they frustrate the hell out of me. And, during these 5 times she certainly does.

Though, my Sovereign Girrul has those afraid points, and I MIND them when they occur. I talk about legitimate fear versus being afraid and anxiety kidnapping fear to distort it into being afraid, though her legitimate fears ARE AFRAID. I respect that. She’s got some shit, from before I met her, and/or naturally, that talkin’ to it, won’t resolve. A dog’s diff than a partner. The comms together to work that shit out don’t apply. She is afraid of:



Certain Motorcycles. Harleys and certain tuned crotch rockets (feels like the over 200+ mph ones… the really cool ones)


Shuffling cardboard. Like when you move. (Shaking head sad)

She’ll be 12 next month, or so I think. She was a rescue, pulled from the streets. She was fully groomed, only wearing an $80 deerskin collar with no tags. Those gigs set off some alarm bells early on to let her story unfold, though that’s another story for another time. Suffice it to say… No. that’s a story for another time. You learn someone over time. That deserves its own post.

Afraid Points

These afraid points she has? Full-on. It’s almost Memorial Day. The lightning gig-goosed her yesterday. Tonight, the fireworks and motorcycles zipping around literally scared the piss out of her.

It’s not the mess I have to clean up, and Nature’s Miracle to remove The smell. It’s… DAYum is she afraid! She gets like Mark Hamill in Star Wars. If she could get any closer and had a light saber, she’d slice me open and crawl inside to get out of the frigid cold of her fear.

It’s intense. It’s important. If I don’t stop everything, she will nuzzle-push between my chair and side desk tipping anything there over, which also equates to a Malbec or Carmenere on the floor and bleeding through the papers, books, etc that were spilled.

Again, it’s not the mess that’s the conflict.

It’s… Nevermind what I love, like, or full-on dig. She is SO afraid. I stop EVERYTHING so she can get as close as possible and hear soothing me-sounds. All I can do is close the windows, turn on the air conditioner, and turn up the Sonos to Phantogram or the Civil Wars o Meg Ryan or BassNectar or 7th House Radio or Jame Horner’s epics so MAYBE, just maybe, she doesn’t hear the fireworks and motorcycles and lightning and guns so intensely, or at least so much… and console her.

She is an effin Cerberus when she goes at something, though I have to say she’s pretty reserved about parsing that out. Kids? Shaking head. Not a problem. 10-month old with yogurt on his face? Turn to get a paper towel, turn back, and one lick-tongue across her lips… clean face and a kid just bouncing beaming laughing. Phewww. When that happened early on, I got it. I got her character. Without Psychological Projection or Projective Identification or even literary personification… DAYum. THIS is certainly MY dog. The apple didn’t fall too far from the tree.

I love her. My conflict frustrations and empathy considerations? Well, that’s an alchemy that will continue. When you can’t change or evolve or adapt something… well…

What cornerstone of what you can’t change in your life do you ultimately enjoy and HAVE to brace against?

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(c) 2020 Jordan Hoggard


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13 responses to “Conflict & Empathy

  1. bonnie hubly

    May 25, 2020 at 2:53 am

    Love your tribute – words and photos – to Lyra. Loved the story about her streaking across the NM mesa. Love you.


    Bonnie Hubly

  2. Sharmishtha

    May 25, 2020 at 3:35 am

    sweet post. Love German shepherds! they are one of a kind dogs!

  3. Timothy Price

    May 25, 2020 at 9:48 am

    You’re a good Texan, and she’s a smart old dog.

    • Jordan Hoggard

      May 25, 2020 at 4:30 pm

      Thanks, Man! Much appreciated.

      • Timothy Price

        May 25, 2020 at 4:57 pm

        What’s interesting is our cats are not afraid of fireworks, guns, or lighting. And of course they love the sound of rustling paper/cardboard and cardboard boxes.

        The only reason I know they are not afraid of guns, or gunfire really, is a friend brought out a box of primed 45-70 shells that he couldn’t ship with live primers. He thought the quickest and easiest thing to do with live primers was to bring the shells out and shoot them in my 45-70 lever-action rifle.

        We stood out on the deck and popped off the shells. With the first shot, the cats that were outside jumped and looked at us like “What the hell?” then they went back to lounging and ignored us as we fired off the rest of the box.

        When the City and Balloon Fiesta set off fireworks just across the river, the kitties ignore it. When the balloons fly over the house, which is often when they fly, the cats go out and watch them. The kitties like to go out in the catio during thunderstorms and come back in all wet (it’s especially annoying to have a wet cat trying to get under the covers at 3:00 o’clock in the morning). They are really silly and it’s funny how with 6 cats all of the noises that seem to scare dogs don’t bother them at all.

  4. Jaquita Rideau

    May 26, 2020 at 11:50 am

    I live in Austin right now. I’ve been here for two years and I love it. I think what plagued me the most is the overwhelming obstacles I encounter in life. From birth, I’ve felt like I’ve had to struggle more than others despite all of the natural talent and intellect I feel I possess. There have been so many dark times in my life, but I prevailed against everyone of them. I think this is my superpower. And it strengthens me to know that bs may come, but I’m strong enough and capable enough to maneuver through it. And soon, because I feel it happening, I can dodge a lot of new turmoil from learning through my past mistakes. So despite me not having a magic wand to change the rollercoaster that is life, I’m thankful for the strength to handle all that comes my way! Good post! I read this a couple of days ago. And I pulled the 2 of coins that day. So this post was almost like another confirmation.

    • Jordan Hoggard

      May 26, 2020 at 6:14 pm

      What a wonderfully open and strong reply Jaquita! Thank you. Sounds like you’ve taken hold of your experiences and “not wasted trouble,” so they enhance, reinforce, and strengthen healthy boundaries for you? Sounds like you’ve come a long way, and are better for the work you’ve done on yourself for yourself.

      I’d say that though magic wands are wicked cool, they can also play the trickster of “quick fixes have shallow roots” and “Deeply rooted trees have no fear of strong winds.” — and I’d say that’s at the heart of Winston Churchill’s “If you Stop to address every barking dog, you’ll never get anywhere.”

      Excellent comment. Thanks for stepping up with clear and hard-worked honesty.

  5. Gottfried

    May 28, 2020 at 7:39 am

    “It’s not the mess that’s the conflict”

    A gem

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