Monday, March 3, 2014

Slice of Life, March 3rd -- "My Dog Found His Voice"

Our dog, Jackson, has found his voice.

Before I go on, I need to give you some background. We have two dogs, Jackson and Tucker. I'm sure they'll find their way into a few more posts, so I'll just describe Jackson today. First, here's a look at the star of today's show.

Can you see the ornery look in his eyes?

Here he is digging for a stick to chew on in the wood pile on the back porch.

We got him 12 years ago. He is a Golden Retriever, but a very dark red one. The breeders told us that he was the most feisty of all the puppies in the litter, and they weren't kidding. From the very start, he's had a mind of his own.

He's smart. It's like he knows the rules (even though he's a dog), and still chooses to do whatever he wants. I've never met an animal who I think can actually read my mind, but I am pretty certain Jackson can. In fact, I know he can.

He has a softer side, though, too. He has adopted my 2 year old niece as his own child. If she is in the house, he must be beside her. He watches her, protects her, delights in her. She belongs to him...his baby.

This dog, Jackson, who knows his mind, stands up for himself, gets in so much trouble, and loves intensely, has changed in the last few months. He's found his voice.

First, it started with a little bark every once in awhile when he wanted inside. Then it developed into a quiet "growl" (not mean at all, just a "Look at me!" sound) when he wanted you to pet him. It wasn't all the time, but when he did it, it was so cute! Almost like talking!

The "Isn't that cute!" sentiment didn't last long from the humans in the house.

Now, he's out of control. It's like, in his old age, all of a sudden, he knows what he wants and he knows how to get it. Barking! Loudly! Anytime he feels like it!

Today, after being barked at and then stared at intensely until I was uncomfortable, I finally let him out for the millionth time to play in the wintery weather. And then it occurred to me...

He's found his voice. And it works. We listen!

While he was growing up, he knew his own mind and what he wanted, but he wasn't sure how to voice it. The dog-human barrier was just too much for the communication gap that existed.

But, when you think about it, we humans are the same, right? We grow up, knowing what we think and wanting to speak out for what we believe in, but we stay silent, unsure of how we will be viewed and received by our peers.

Like Jackson, though, we slowly find our voices. Maybe it's just a little sound the first time we get the courage, and then later, we get louder! Suddenly, people are listening. To us! It's a wonderful, new feeling...communicating and being understood.

The older I get, the less fearful I am to speak my mind. It's one of the best things about birthdays; we find ourselves more sure of who we are at each turn.

So, to whoever is reading this today, take a little lesson from Jackson and SPEAK! We want to hear your voice; what you say is valuable. All of us in this Slice of Life community--teachers, students, readers, learners--can change the world with our words. 

So, friends, remember Jackson, and go find your voices! And don't be surprised when people start listening.


  1. I love your view of birthdays! I share the same sentiment. So many adults dread the annual reminder of our inevitable aging, but I embrace mine! Every birthday is an opportunity to reflect upon how we have grown as a person over the last year. What have we accomplished? What mistakes did we make? Where did we go? What did we see? Who did we love? Who should we have loved a little bit more? I recently celebrated my 33rd birthday, and it feels wonderful to wear that number. There is only one number that is better, and that's the next one. I can't wait to see what this year holds for me, and all of the others after that.

  2. I love how your reflections on Jackson finding his voice apply to us all. As I grow older, I do find myself speaking out more. I hope that in my teaching of writing, I teach my students to listen for and to share their own voices, too.

  3. Our dog, Max, is similar to Jackson. He will be 13 this year and he too has found his voice. Not only his voice, but he dances too. I like how you related us adults to Jackson. We do need to find our voice and share our knowledge with others. I think writing has helped me to be able to share my "voice" with others in this community.

  4. Love, love this story. Dogs are our best friends with fur!

  5. I love my dog to death. But when he protects you like your niece. You feel like nothing ca n hurt you. When they take into your own family it like they have accepted you into their own life. It just feels magical!

  6. I love this story about Jackson! He is a great inspiration that we need to speak up and i love how you said he found his voice.

  7. I love the story of your dog Jackson sounds like a dog I would love to have I like how your story was interesting and to wrap it all up you gave us a motto in the end to live by all while you were on the same topic.