A dog trainer recently declared that she was a member of the ‘Failure Club’. She failed to build a solid recall with her dog, and now she was using an electric collar.
I’ve struggled with failure too. I’ve avoided it. But failure finds you even if you run and hide. By avoiding it, all you do is avoid the edges of your life. The edges that define it.
So in praise of failure, I have written this poem about my biggest failure in recent life, my dog Zeke.
Here’s to Failure. (Raise your glass)
I failed to carefully research the breeder and the genetics of my dog,
But I succeeded in doing that with my next dog.
I failed to recognize ignorant advice when he was a young dog,
but I successfully identify it now.
I failed to protect myself from being hurt,
but I succeeded in learning how to minimize the risk.
I failed to protect others from harm,
But I succeeded in learning better management.
I have failed to make my dog calm in the outside world,
But I have succeeded in building his confidence and joy at home.
I failed to recognize his physical pain, for too long,
But I am successfully treating it now.
I have failed to enjoy public success with my dog, no ribbons, Q’s or trophies,
But I have succeeded in becoming an excellent trainer.
I failed to notice how casually human-centric I was about animals,
but I’ve succeeded in growing my respect for their pure magnificence.
I am humbled by my failures.
I am lifted up, by my love.