Honey was the third dog I have had in my life. Preceding her was Alabama which we adopted at the senior animal rescue organization Young at Heart, which I highly recommend. We got Alabama when she was five and had her for seven years. When my wife and her daughter moved into the home I lived in with my two daughters, Alabama was the one thing we all had in common. Though neither she nor the humans realized it at the time, her job was to help bring us all together. She executed her job well to say the least.
Honey arrived in our lives when she was eight and she was part of the Svenavera family for five years. Adopting senior dogs is definitely not for everybody but if you’re one of those kinds of people, you should definitely consider this route for your next dog adoption. From the first five minutes she was in our home, when Honey went barreling through the sliding screen door without skipping a beat, we knew this dog was going to have a big impact on our family.
Honey’s foster mom let us know there was not much they knew about her history. It appeared as though she had a rough life, possibly on the street for sometime. We think she had at least one litter of puppies as her teets were drawn and looked as if they had been well worn. Honey always carried with her a bit of PTSD that let us know she indeed did not have an easy life before joining our family. One of the ways this manifested for Honey was not only a willingness but an eagerness to eat her own poop when we let her into the backyard. Once again it became apparent to me the universe of knowledge that I am unaware of is indeed vast. I did not know one of the reasons a dog would eat its own poop is that if she was starving or had been starving at some point in the past. My friend
Ron who lived on the streets of Chicago for 35 years shared this juicy tidbit of information with me. Needless to say this was surprising to me as Honey never missed a meal in our home and actually ate a higher quality food than most humans. She was very well cared for that’s for sure.
What became clear to me is she was eating the “poop of her mind.” Humans would call this implicit memory. I had no idea dogs suffered from this as well. I say suffer because those that had difficult or shall we say intense childhoods, have a little more work to do when it comes to reacting to our implicit memory. This feels like suffering for sure. I have learned 95% of our cognitive activities are a result of our subconscious or implicit memory. This is truly amazing and hard for me to get my head around. It’s hard to grasp, literally 95% of the time, I am eating the “poop of my mind.” Memories as far back as the car ride home from the hospital are what drive our decisions as “adults…” my doctor says there is no such thing as adults. This is comforting to hear from a medical professional, meaning we are all more on the same page emotionally than we realize. I have heard it said “we are all 14 year old girls on the inside, some of us are just better at hiding it than others.” Now that is a statement I can relate too and get my head around, candidly, a 14 year old girl is exactly how I feel a lot of the time when I am emotional. I am a cryer, FYI. So, since the day I discovered why Honey enjoyed poop like I lay into a Peanut Buster Parfait, I have been able to pick up those negative feelings and reactions, put them in a bag, and throw them away with the rest of the garbage, like I do with dog poop when we go for a walk. That is where the “poop of my mind” should be in the first place.