I recently posted about a dog I’d heard about who would run straight through an electric fence. He would take the shock just so that he could leave his garden and be free. The story has reminded me of one of the best dogs I have ever known – Butch.
Butch walked up to me and my husband Michael as we sat arguing on a bench on the quayside in Wexford, Ireland. He distracted us from our argument by pretending to be homeless. We believed him and took him home with us for about ten days until eventually his owner tracked him down. It turns out Butch lived just 50 metres up the road and had a habit of going off alone and meeting up with strangers.
After he was reunited with his owner, Butch would regularly turn up unannounced at our apartment steps or wait at the front door of my parents’ house. He once ran onto a bus with me as I was heading back to University in Cork and had to be removed by the bus driver.
Butch was an amazing dog and a true free spirit. But the most wonderful thing about Butch was that he had a dog friend whose name was Cyril. Almost every day Butch would jump the wall of his garden, walk three doors down and break Cyril out of his fenced garden. Once free the two friends would walk along the quay, over the bridge and have a swim in Ferrybank beach. I lived in an apartment overlooking the quay and Ferrybank so I would see them do this regularly. They always looked happy and so very free.
Thinking about Cyril and Butch, on the heels of the story of the dog and the electric fence has made me realise something very important – the value of a friend, a partner in crime. I’m very sure that without Butch to encourage him, Cyril would never have had the imagination or courage to jump his fence. In the previous post I said we need two things: to see that the fence is just a line that we can cross; and to be prepared to tolerate a little resistance, the shock when we escape. But we also need a third thing. We need a friend to make the jump with us or to be there waiting on the other side, encouraging us along. Now if you find your way to having all of these three things, then you will simply be unstoppable.