5 June 2011
unschool monday :: Betty
Once upon a time there was a little girl who wanted a dog more than anything else in the whole world. The family had a dog in the past and things turned out very badly. The dog wasn't right for the family at that time and the family was all wrong for that dog, so they found the right home for her and swore never to own a dog again. But oh, how the little girl longed for a companion. Someone to tell all her secrets to and someone sit near her feet. Someone to go for walks with and someone to love her always...
Enter Betty. I saw her photo on a website* one day, with a little description about a quiet, gentle little dog who loves people. Her disposition sounded quite different to what her breed would suggest. She seemed all wrong for us and the timing seemed all wrong, with a baby not even crawling yet. But big owlet really wanted a dog. An animal loving owlet like her needs a dog. Betty needed a home and a family to love her. She was certainly small enough so as not to overwhelm the owlets. Much discussion ensued and before long we were off to the farm to see about the dog. Big owlet loved her immediately. Little owlet screamed with fear. About the dog and all the other dogs. And the pigs, the chooks, the ducks, the sheep, the cows, the guinea pigs... anything that moved. We got back in the car, sad, disappointed, worried about little owlet and her phobias. Then we visited a friend and their dog didn't even register on little owlet's radar. We slept on it.
And when we woke in the morning and little owlet begged for a dog, we decided to bring Betty home. Immediately when we arrived home, she hopped in her new bed in the lounge room and slept. As if she'd always lived here... While little owlet hid behind a cushion...
Two hours later, little owlet felt brave enough to pat Betty and by bedtime, they were firm friends. The owlets stayed up late, watching dog movies while snuggling the newest furry owlet. They even read her a bedtime story.
On Sunday we took her for a wander around the neighborhood. Big owlet beaming with pride and trying to get the hang of walking a dog for the first time. Betty knows all about leads and walks, so it shouldn't be long before they both have the hang of it and trust in each other. We're pretty sure Betty should continue to fit right in.
It's quite amazing the journey unschooling takes you on. Following your child's lead, you tend to open your heart to new adventures... The "no" becomes a "yes", somehow. You find yourselves learning about all sorts of things... And of course, animals are such great teachers. Then, before you know it, the right dog chooses you.
*Special thankyou to Emma and Julie at Brightisde Farm Sanctuary. Not only for talking with us on the phone, at length, and setting aside time for us to meet her. Twice. But also for the amazing work they do providing such a beautiful, happy home for all the animals they rescue. A happier menagerie you will never see.