Sheriff’s Wisdom—On Respect and Boundaries

This is the Sheriff - WOW’s Chief Guru, Protector, and Fluffernutter. He is an important Guru in my life, and has very important healing duties he takes seriously. Let me make no bones about it—he is infinitely wiser than I could ever hope to be. He will be an important contributor to WOW. 

Today, Sheriff wants to address humans on behalf of Chow Chow’s everywhere, for his 1st human lesson. As bark translation technology, sadly only exists in the fictional and fabulous movie, UP, he accepts I must translate and type. So, here is Sheriff’s first post to WOW, enjoy! 

I am Sheriff, a Chow Chow, nice to meet you. I’d like to advocate for humans by advocating for my Chow brothers and sisters today. Not all of my spiritual siblings have masters who have bestowed what Chows require: respect, honor, exercise, socialization, kind touch and instruction. We are different and similar to other dogs, and humans struggle to understand how to meet our needs so that we can grow into the devoted, balanced, protective, caring dogs we naturally are. We were bred and originate from China, to guard the palace gates. Our lion like manes helped us focus all of our attention forward—guarding those gates, looking for trouble to alert and protect our masters and families with unbridled fierceness, only if necessary. We are protectors of those we love and would die for our masters. Loyalty runs in our blood. We think for ourselves so that no intruder or harm seeker can manipulate us with delicious meats or treats—we developed over centuries—always to protect our humans. We do like to bark at the door bell and the mailman because it’s a fun game. But if danger is afoot, we become catlike, making no sound at all as we approach the intruder. We are very smart. 

Some of us have been left in backyards, or locked in garages, chained, alone, or given no boundaries or direction, sense of family, no lessons in meeting new people. Some of us have been beaten, screamed at, kicked, and have had children pull our hair and poke our eyes or bottoms. We cannot speak human with our voices. We do the best we can but we are often reduced to communicating as the dogs we are, with our teeth. And then we are beaten or put to death for how we ‘talk’ with no human words available to us. As with people, those beings raised through disrespect, disregard, neglect, or cruelty often do what was done to them because it is all they know. Hurt people, hurt people. Hurt people, hurt dogs. Hurt dogs, hurt people. Hurt dogs, hurt dogs. Hurting is not a natural state for canine or human, and we must remember this.  

When we are raised with strong, loving guidance and values, we take anyone our master loves under our care and protection. We give patience to younger children, understanding their purity and innocence. We are aware of size and power and are often more wary of stronger, bigger, larger men, because we understand that threat is proportional to strength and power. We need larger people to meet us more slowly as we ascertain threat vs. safety. 

Many people rush us when meeting. We are regal and beautiful creatures, and humans have hands that like to touch fluffy softness. My momma calls me her ‘Fluffernutter,’ and I love to be petted and stroked and kissed between my eyes. For my first lesson for the humans of WOW, I’d like to advocate slowness, pacing, boundaries. I don’t think many people would expect a human to tolerate any stranger charging them to put their hands roughly or softly all over their body, and yet Chows are expected to allow this. Chow-human relations and human-human relations would improve greatly if we could all move a bit slower with one another. Touching another with respect requires 1st a request, ‘May I pet him?’ followed by an answer from master of yes or no or how to approach. As with humans, we do not always want to be touched, and that needs to be ok. These are very important lessons that can teach, empower and ultimately reduce boundary violations of violence and sexual assault in the world. We need our men and our women, our girls and our boys and our transgendered to know their bodies are not for forced touching. Respect and boundaries will heal and protect. 

Please take some time today to think about your relationship to boundaries, asking permission, and adjusting your impulses for a more mindful way to relate to others and improve relationships, the world over. These are principles everyone needs to practice. Thank you for listening today. I look forward to my next lesson. 

I’m ready for my treat now mom. No, not the bone. No, not the rope to play. Yes—the dried chicken cutlet. 

photography by Adrienne Battistella

photography by Adrienne Battistella

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