Laying Down on the Job

Laying Down on the Job
The Santa Monica Easy

Thursday, May 20, 2010

The Zen of Mr. BoJindo Sitting

Tomorrow, Friday, May 21, 2010, my beautiful daughter Nia will participate, fully capped and gowned, at Irvine Valley College's graduation ceremonies and will come away with an AS in Computer Management Information Systems.  During the time she completed the course requirement she ran a business, moved from Orange County to Northern California, qualified for her local Search and Rescue group in El Dorado county, earned several computer networking certifications and attended to the daily demands of official pack leader to the mysterious Mr. BoJindo (a Korean Jindo dog, regarded as a national treasure in Korea).  
Yesterday, Nia left Mr. BoJindo with me so I could care for him while she takes care of last minutes details.  It's one of those things I'm glad to do, not just because I love this dog, but because it's something I can do in support of Nia's efforts.  Now she can take a day or two to celebrate her achievement in public, in front of strangers and friends and me.  Mr. BoJindo won't be there and that's a shame because he's a major force of comfort, direction, distraction and discipline in her life.  He's been part of Nia's journey since 2002. 
Mr. BoJindo is an exceptionally beautiful, incredibly smart dog, rarely barks, doesn't jump up on people or the furniture and can hold his pee for 24 hours.  Despite this seemingly perfect dog, he has "rescue-dog" issues.  What ever happened before Nia rescued him from a looming date with a needle, left a scar of fear in his dog-soul that we've never been able to help him overcome. He's a much more secure dog now than when Nia first got him but certain electronic sounds -- like microwave beeps -- still result in an immediate full-body fear-freakout attack of shaking and adrenaline-induced canine escape.  The first time I left him alone in my apartment I returned two hours later to a half eaten couch.  Some sound had freaked him while I was gone and he tried as hard as he could to escape the apartment by clawing at the back door then clawing and biting at the couch which blocked a possible window escape route.  He's done much more damage in reaction to his fear -- the entire back seat of Nia's convertible has been re-decorated by Mr. BoJindo -- in that she no longer has a back seat.  He's run away many times -- once in Runyon Canyon -- but he's always returned (although it looked like he had a dispute with a coyote when he returned from the Runyon Canyon romp).
Nia takes him almost everywhere, including vigorous hiking treks, attired in his red doggy backpack.    
There's a tinge of resentment when Nia says her life has revolved around this dog -- not something she expected or wanted when she accepted the responsibility of being a rescue-dog owner -- annoyed at the memory of having to find him when he ran away, or having to teach him how to socialize with other dogs or having her car vandalized, but she never betrayed the bond that developed in Mr. BoJindo when he looked to her for his welfare.  She could have returned him to the shelter.  She could have found someone else to take him. Instead she chose to become the human Mr. BoJindo needed so this one creature could have a good life. 
Nia has been cause in the matter of Mr. BoJindo's transformation from an insecure, nervous canine who didn't seem to know how to wag his tail, to a more secure, serene, trusting companion capable of teaching -- in the way dogs teach -- us to be better humans.  Now he does a happy dance when Nia returns from some errand or puts her shoes on to take him for a walk. He actually spins in circles, snorts, jumps up in the air and twists around in one fluid movement, the whole time wagging his tail in the widest possible arc.  I want to video tape the greeting -- he only does it for her -- because if his expression isn't one of pure joy, then there is no such thing.  He has become her rescuer too.  Through lonely times, financial hardship, threatening events, exhaustion, his presence in her life created demands and discipline that made her look outside herself, that indirectly demanded she was capable of giving, of achieving, of enduring just a bit more.  In return Nia got to experience being a loving, committed, tender, powerful leader -- responsible for a life depending on and waiting for her.
With every challenge, every effort, every achievement in her life, I am ever more profoundly proud of Nia -- but the person she is today, she couldn't have become without Mr. BoJindo. 
Sacramento State has accepted Nia for the Fall semester.  I'm giddy at the notion she'll go on to complete her Bachelor's degree -- maybe even pursue a graduate degree.  I don't know.  What ever she decides to do, I know she'll do well.  For her loved ones, tomorrow's ceremony is for celebration of what she's achieved so far.  Nia's name will be called and her loved ones will rise to applaud, hoot and holler in support and appreciation.  But one loved one will not be in the bleachers.  Mr. BoJindo will spend that time at a  PetSmart Doggy Hotel for a few hours because there are no accommodations at the school for four-legged friends no matter how vital to the measure of one's character, education and achievement.  

Post script:Mr. BoJindo did not stay at a doggy hotel after all.  Instead he stayed in the car (windows rolled down and plenty of water available) in the school's parking lot. Since the event was held out doors it was easy to check on him several times to make sure he was okay.  When the ceremony was over, we got Mr. BoJindo out of the car and both graduate and companion could enjoy the occasion. 

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