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Friday, April 6, 2012

Flexibility

   I will admit that I can have a really hard time being flexible. Part of the problem is that the few things that I do have a strong opinion about aren't just arbitrary. I am an over-thinky person with time, curiosity, a love of books and a fast internet connection. I don't peruse, I dive in head first and look at all sides and options, and then I take my time and form an opinion with the mental equivalent of all cards on the table and facing up. I will refer again to raw-feeding my dog, because it's a perfect of example. I resisted the idea (it required thought, after all, and what I believed at the time to be risk. And let's not forget the inconvenience of traveling with a raw-fed dog.) and I initially began my research with the intention of convincing myself that a good quality dog food was the best option. I wanted to validate the viewpoint that I held firmly at the time.

   After two years, I reluctantly came to an entirely different conclusion. Maybe raw feeding isn't some kind of magic bullet. Maybe it doesn't even prevent cancer; I don't know. It doesn't really matter. There is now nothing on this Earth that could ever convince me, based on two years of tenacious research (and now three years of seeing the results), that a steady diet of processed kibble will ever come close to being as healthy as a species-appropriate and varied raw diet, balanced over time. Maybe I could have saved myself a lot of time and trouble if I used my common sense instead: Dogs will hunt to feed themselves, and dogs don't cook. Nope, too simple. I have to complicate the hell out of everything, blow it up to enormous proportions, put it under a microscope...well, you get the idea. The point is, it may have taken two years but I was flexible about trying the raw diet.

   Even so, am I a hard-ass about raw feeding? Only in my own household. I think that what people feed their dogs is entirely up to them and everyone has the right to do it their own way. Raw isn't for everybody, and dogs with compromised immune systems probably shouldn't be eating raw meat. I have a vegetarian friend who can't even listen to my dog eating his dinner (she can't watch) without throwing up in her mouth a little. Raw may not be the right diet for her to be feeding either;-) Sure, there are certainly reasons "why not". And really, what other people feed their dogs is none of my damned business, anyway.

   Even so, there are people in the world who feel the need to impose their views and opinions on everybody around them, and feel entirely justified in doing so because they are just so right that they might as well be the "right" queen of "right-ville", and because they assume everybody else is just lazy and/or stupid unless they are doing it 'right'. I've run into a "Barn Bitch" or two with this mind set, and it's usually somebody with just a little bit of knowledge, not a ton of experience, and a bad attitude. They treat people like crap, suck up to the barn owners and won't acknowledge that others largely ignore them or poke fun of them. Lacking self control around irritating people, I'm usually the one getting into it with them. Ugh. I really need to work on not getting 'hooked' by these folks. The truth is, ask ten horse or dog people the same question, and you'll get ten answers. The only one that is wrong is generally the one that thinks they are the only one that is right. That is something it took me a very long time to learn.

   I'm not saying don't have an opinion, 86 that belief system and god forbid you actually have a method. Nope, not at all. I think it's great when something consistently works, when success has a formula. All I'm saying is that nothing works 100% of the time, especially when you are dealing with living beings. That is just reality. When something just doesn't work, the difference between success and failure is the ability to see beyond the narrow confines of currently held beliefs, and being willing to consider other points of view.

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