The Winding Path

Counselling Services provided by Barb Zacharias

October 2012: Alpha Update

Posted on Oct 17, 2012

This has been quite the summer and fall in Alberta. Glorious warm days alternated with typical cool ones.  The leaves are nearing the finish of their fall resplendence. Soon, there will be naked trees awaiting a blanket of snow. It will be gray and bleary for a while before the sparkle of snow blinds our vision on those winter days of luminous sunshine.

Once again, it is a time of transition. Not only is the weather preparing us for yet another season, but fall schedules and programming are underway. Gone are the glory days of summer. It is back to work or school or whatever it is that marks the change of season in our individual lives.

And as promised, I am ready to give an update on this transition phase in our lives with our new dog. I am happy to report that anxiety levels are definitely on the decline—for both human and canine. For some reason, I am pleasantly surprised that I was able to find my calm and assertive self. My inner Alpha has surfaced.

By all means, the transition phase is far from over. Elsa’s anxieties, while reduced, are nowhere near obliterated. There remains a lot of work ahead of us to maintain pack leader status and a balanced environment. Just when we think we are making headway, the boundaries are tested once again. However, it is requiring less and less energy to re-establish tested boundaries. There is improvement even in the midst of regression.

Good for me to note on a daily basis. I can wallow in frustration and discouragement, or I can remind myself of how much better it is than back in July. Really, there is remarkable improvement in just over 3 months. And even though there are rounds and rounds of behaviour modification, there is also the sweet reward of a sensitive and faithful companion—who “just knows” when we are sad and could use an extra snuggle or tears licked away.

Improvement in the midst of regression. Reward in the middle of an uphill battle. The spiral affect we all face. Just as we clear an upward swing, there follows the accompanying downward spiral. Back up we climb, only to slide back a bit. And on it goes—slowly inching our way upward, forward. Learning as we go.

With each correction Elsa receives, my confidence grows. With each loving lick, my heart is rewarded. And so we continue to spiral along. Each on our own spiral of personal growth, yet intertwined, learning from each other.

May you encounter moments of growth and reward with each passing spiral of your day.


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