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  • Writer's pictureFiona Holiday

A Lesson From Gertie

I met my favourite black Labrador for a walk today. She is somewhat obsessed with her ball. She carries it, watches it, drops it, hunts for it, throws it and brings it. She brings it to both me and her owner in the expectation that it will be flung far away so that she can chase it. As it is mostly covered in saliva, grass and mud, I am not the most enthusiastic of ball throwers. Her owner has one of those ball throwing contraptions so does not have to handle it... and yet Gertie persists in bringing me her ball almost as often as she brings it to her owner.

When it lands at my feet, I sometimes kick it (and sometimes she puts her face in the way before it has barely left my foot), sometimes nudge it over to her owner and sometimes ignore it completely. On the rare occasion it looks clean or I'm feeling brave, I might throw it. A pitiful distance usually.

Despite having no idea what will happen when she drops the ball at my feet, she persists. I feel included and sometimes she gets a little excitement. I realised that she is not discouraged by the times when she gets little engagement. She is dependably persistent. The world needs the dependently persistent!

When I put something out into the world, I sometimes get a great response, high levels of engagement and encouragement. At other times, there is very little and part of me thinks about backing off, giving up, withdrawing. Except that doesn't help us learn... Maybe if Gertie wasn't quite so dog, she would notice that when her ball was cleaner, she got more engagement. But maybe Gertie doesn't care. Maybe once in a while is enough for her.

But you know what, I'm going to remember the power of being dependably persistent. I'm going to be more like Gertie.

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