Anxiety

Our second dog, like our first, was a rescue. This one, a Jack Russell terrier we named, Yoda, had been tossed into a garbage can.

We expected behavioral issues because of the way Yoda been abused, but also prepared ourselves for the fact that Jack Russells, while amazingly cute and intelligent (which she was), are also notoriously self-possessed, tenacious, stubborn, and feisty bundles of energy.

Within a year, Yoda had our heads spinning. We had no idea that Jack Russells have springs in their legs, and looked on in terror and awe as she chased one squirrel up onto the roof of our garage, and another halfway up a century-old oak tree. If it moved, Yoda chased it. And then we chased her.

Though she was devoted and protective, she was not a physically affectionate dog. In her fifteen-plus years with us, she may have licked me twice. She liked to cuddle, but only on her terms. For a while, she tried sleeping with us, but decided we were too restless, and moved down to the living room where she could rest undisturbed.

Even so, as independent as she was, she was prone to destructive fits of anxiety, no doubt the result of her history, which invariably led to her finding some large sheet of paper or envelope we had set aside, and ripping it to shreds in front of us.

More now than ever, I’ve recalled her doing this, because current events have made me antsy, and, in an effort to calm down, I’ve been going through articles, recipes, teaching materials, wisely-abandoned works-in-progress, ideas, and decades-old receipts I haven’t looked at or touched in years, and feeding them into a shredder. As the strips mound and fill basket after basket, I realize I’m breathing easier. Yoda had a point.

Sometimes it’s good to rip things up. Clean out. Unjangle the nerves.

And then have a biscuit.

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