Yesterday something happened, and it took me from my most constant state of ‘positive daydreaming’, into a frantic state of impending doom... but it also showed me the practical use of something I had read about a while ago. But before I talk about that, let me give you the scenario:
I was walking my dog around my neighborhood and all was as usual, until a neighbor’s dog, watching my canine and I from behind a fence, decided to go for a mad dash and “pursue us”.
Now, besides being a waitress, I also work as a pet-sitter. With that said, I am pretty confident when dealing with dogs. So while I watched this dog’s manic dash from his front yard, jumping a 5 foot fence, making his way toward my dog and I, with a face that said “Y’ALL LOOK LIKE DINNER!” in what appeared to be a horrifying “slo-mo” movie, I thought “I am not running. I will stand my ground, and I will command him!” (insert nervous laughter here).
My five seconds of unbound bravery quickly turned into panic, as I figured that the mad dog was nowhere within the “friendly realm”, and was angrily dashing toward us with one intent only: to annihilate! Now keep in mind that my dog is a sweet, rambunctious, cuddly ball of neediness... kind of like a “sweet-wimp-of-a-dog”, and would most likely be shredded to pieces by his opponent.
With my heart racing, I demanded the manic dog to “HEAL!”... to no effect. I then started screaming for him to “get the F***** away from my dog!” as he circled and approached us closer and closer, getting ready to attack.
I was in absolute horror, screaming and cursing at the dog, when a merciful soul of a neighbor showed up and pulled a hero’s move: “C’MON! GET IN!” she said.
She pulled her mini-van between the manic dog, my canine, and I, and at that moment I felt like I was in an action movie: I reached for the mini-van’s door, got it open, threw my dog inside (literally threw him... I can still hear the thud!) and then threw myself in. I could feel the mad dog dashing for the mini-van’s open door as I reached for the handle to close it... my heart is pounding, and both my hero lady and I were screaming. I finally got the door to close, and we were all safe. PHEW!
My hero lady went on to chat with the man responsible for the maniac dog... long story short, that was not the first time that dog jumped the fence, and tried to annihilate humans and other canines out of this planet. And more: he did not even belong to that man! He was only hosting the dog as a favor for a friend who is unable to care for him at this time.
Now, here comes the attitude part ...
What unveiled after, during the interaction of my hero lady, the man responsible for the dog, and myself caught my attention: On one hand, hero lady was firm and assertive when calling him out over the dog’s insane and unsafe behavior, but all the while she was kind, and respectful in her words. In return, the man not only sincerely showed that he was sorry for what had happened, but he was also courteous, and held accountability by promising to take action so that would not happen again.
I myself was scared and shaky enough after the incident, but I was also able to calm down, and be assertive in telling how I felt about the situation. Still, communication was kept in a respectful, kind tone, and emotions surprisingly did not get in the way, negatively escalating a situation. In a moment that could have quickly turned into a nasty conflict, that was the best scenario possible.
Now, I understand that frantic situations arise, all different in nature, with different people, and it’s hard to say how we will act until faced with them. Also, I am aware that I have lost my cool in plenty of situations in my life, some of which I am quite embarrassed to remember (ugh... the shameful road rage)! But as of the past year, I have made a point to be aware of myself, in an effort to confidently act, rather than impulsively react under pressure.
So, yesterday a dog almost ate my face...
...and that reminded me of this text I read a long time ago, by Charles Swindoll (check it out here). That situation was a living example of how “the attitude bit” can be (and was) applied.
In yesterday’s particular instance, besides being grateful to find myself and my dog safe and sound, I was also grateful that all of us (hero lady, the man, and myself) chose to have the best possible attitude at that time.
Putting into perspective, this gnarly episode has ironically come to my benefit, allowing me to see the practical value of attitude. It has confirmed that in fact, I have no control over a lot of things that can happen to me. But let it be known, that while that is the case, I am grateful that I can control how I choose to act, and my outlook on things. That’s attitude.