Lessons in Love & Fear: Lincoln the Rescue Dog

This past February I was struck with love at first site as a young lady Human Society worker paraded a little dog across the Sedona Petsmart parking lot. Several hundred dollars of dog paraphernalia later, Elizabeth and I were filled with joy taking home a one-year-old rescue dog pre-named Lincoln. Abe being one of my spirit guides we kept the name.

Lincolns New Shoes
Lincoln our rescue dog beats the heat with new booties we bought to protect him from hot asphalt.

Lincoln quickly sniffed out most of our house, tail wagging. But soon as we turned our backs to talk about the amazing luck we had getting such a gorgeous dog for only $50, we noticed he peed the Navajo rug dead center of the house.  We chuckled and cleaned up the rug, writing it off to excitement at the new house.

Now, I’ve raised many dogs in my 6 decades on the planet, including, most recently, a dog that became a co-star in my film ZACK’S MACHINE. But I raised all those dogs from pups. Rescue dogs I’ve learned are a whole different, pardon the pun, animal.

Jeez.  It began so well with Lincoln, an adorable cross between a Jack Russell Terrier and Chihuahua. Lincoln took to me for petting and cuddles at first, but in a few days Lincoln became so bonded to my love Elizabeth, who ironically did not really want the dog as much as me, that he began to growl at me when I’d enter the room. 10 months later he’s still growling.

Well, time for classes from a dog pro.  We must be doing something wrong for the guy or we have to accept the last owners ruined this sweet little guy and cope.

One day during his trial period from the Humane Society, Lincoln’s possessiveness escalated to an intense nip on my hand when I held him back from running out after Elizabeth. Both of us chided Lincoln together.  I was in shock.  No dog I owned has ever turned on me. Dogs love me.  We still had half a week to take the dog back free of charge but I decided against it. If this dog was going to be saved from the exterminator we were his best hope.

Lincoln rebelled whenever Elizabeth left the house and hid in the closet.  (He’s still at this today.)  One day we came home and Lincoln had chewed up the venetian blinds. So we resorted to using a crate, something dogs generally like. Not him.  We’d come home and he nose was bloody from charging the bars. He even bent one cage and escaped! So cages were out.

We went on the road for month and tried a pet sitter, a real pro. But despite her best effort he was a little monster with growling and nipping! When we got back we realized our ability to travel was cramped and wondered how we got into this mess.

Still, we took Lincoln as challenge. My love and patience teamed with Elizabeth’s to wear him down his fear of men.  But it’s not going well.  I try not to take this hatred of me in my own home personally. But day after day of dog cowering in fear, growling at and hogging my love’s attention, I must admit wears on me.

What’s the lesson here from the little spirit guide? Lincoln’s fear blinds him to 50% of the love our household has to offer and love from strangers we encounter. Fear also hampers Lincoln’s ability to enjoy pet sitters in Elizabeth’s place.  So this little guy shows us how fear cripples our life and the ability to enjoy all it has to offer.

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