She was the neighbor’s dog. They had her tied up and all the other dogs would come and mess with her. Get her pregnant. But she seemed to always get free eventually. And come over to where we lived next door. To the point where you asked them if we could have her. They said yes, thankfully.

I think she loved the home you and I, mostly you, created for her. But I think part of her still missed running the streets a little bit. So when we left her out back for too long, she seemed to always figure out a way to get thru your five hundred thousand fences and barriers you put in the way. But we never had to look too far. She’d always be roaming around on the block. Or even already back by the front. Waiting to come inside again. Always a good girl.

I have two favorite memories with her.

The first is when some stray cat was drinking water you poured for it. And Ginelli was the bigger animal, but she crouched down and was waiting for the cat to finish drinking before she drank. She even looked like she was in the position of begging the cat. She was such a strong dog, but she was so sweet. Deferring to the cat. That was her mama bear energy, I think.

The second and most favorite memory for me is when Ginelli and I were taking a walk alone one evening. And I was always trying to get her to go my way. I was trying to be the dominant one. I thought I had to be the pack leader. So when she was pulling, I was trying but mostly failing to get her to submit to me. I thought that’s what I needed to do.

But then we came around a corner. And she was pulling really hard. Much more than usual. I was kinda mad at her. And so I yanked her back towards me. But then out of nowhere, this insanely large dog forced its head out from under a chain-link fence we were walking by. It started growling and barking really aggressively out of nowhere. Scared me so much!!

Ginelli knew before I knew. That’s why she was pulling me so hard. She was trying to get me away from that dog. Before I even saw the dog or knew what it would do.

That’s the day I hung up whatever thoughts I had about trying to be the dominant pack leader just for the sake of having that control. That’s the day that I learned to respect animals. And see the pack as more of a cooperative experience.

Ginelli was trying to protect me. And that was her strength. Mama Bear energy all the way. So I trusted her to do that in the future. I deferred to her, and other animals that have the same senses, from then on out.

There are some situations where I need to assert myself. But I no longer am hung up on every little instance. And there’s probably a greater life lesson in that.

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