“Life is a combination of destiny and free will. Rain is destiny; whether you get wet or not is free will.” Sri Sri Ravi Shankar
Lately I’ve been having many conversations with my boys about free will. I believe whole heartedly in free will and I live my life by free will. This past summer we adopted a beautiful Belgian Shepherd from the SPCA. He had been neglected and was at least 25 pounds underweight when we took him home. It didn’t take me long to figure out that he had been abused as well. The name on his chart said Chaos but the SPCA changed his name to Kenny to make him sound more attractive to potential adopters.
The boys loved the name Chaos but I wanted to change his name. Finally after bouncing different names back and forth we decided to keep the name Chaos but I changed the spelling to Kaos. From the moment I met Kaos it was apparent that he and I had a connection. We spent time with Kaos in an enclosed room and he kept snuggling up to me and placing his body in my space the entire time. When we finally got him home I spent the first week giving Kaos his space and letting him come to me when he wanted to. I never forced him to come to me, I gave him complete free will. He willfully followed me around the house in those first few days. Everything was new to him and he needed the space to get comfortable with his new environment.
My youngest son does not understand free will, he annoyingly gets in your space and if you don’t give him the response he wants he tries to force you by being ultra annoying. He does the same thing to Kaos and the dog does not like it. Kaos lets Matt know that he is annoying him by ignoring him, growling at him or hiding in the other room. One day Matt says to me “how come Kaos doesn’t like me mom?” “Because you are always in his space Matt and you don’t give him free will.” “Free will he says, what do you mean?” “Matt you force Kaos all the time, if he doesn’t come to you, you use force, if he is sitting by himself minding his own business, you get in his face, you pull at his ears while petting him even though he doesn’t like it and you push him out of his chair and steal his space.” “You have to give him the free will to come to you, you have to stay out of his personal space and you have to give him the time he needs to chill.”
At the beginning Kaos and I struggled with the furniture as I don’t want him on the furniture and he really liked the couch in the living room. When he lies on that couch, I know he is taking time out because the living room is off the family room and away from the hustle and bustle. Every day Kaos and I would struggle, he would go on the couch and I would ask him to get down and as soon as I walked out of the room he would climb on the couch again. It dawned on me that he needed that space to retreat to, so I covered the couch and let him have his space. If Matt finds Kaos on that couch, he gets into Kaos’ space by practically lying on top of the dog. Kaos usually warns him with a growl and then will abruptly leave the couch and hang out somewhere else.
Watching the struggle between Matt and Kaos has been interesting because Kaos makes no bones about the fact that he is not impressed with Matt. Matt is clearly frustrated by this situation and when I repeat to Matt about giving the dog free will, he says to me “I’m using my right to free will to bug the dog.” “Well then Matt, Kaos is using his right to free will by growling and ignoring you.”
As much as Kaos likes his couch he remains on the floor at night, he doesn’t climb into our beds to sleep, he lies at the foot of our bed on the floor. For some reason one night Kaos climbed into Matt ‘s bed and made it so difficult for Matt that Matt ended up sleeping on the floor. The next morning Matt came down to breakfast complaining that the dog had kicked him out of his bed. He told me “every time I tried to get Kaos off my bed he growled and when I asked him nicely, he ignored me.” The dog then used all of his body weight and pushed Matt off the bed. “Is that free will mom?” “No Matt, that is called Karma.”