Feeling Like Piglet in a Pooh World

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A small black dog with a black moustache and wearing a blue coat looks to the camera. There is snow on her coat and snow in the air. Her attitude is one of long-suffering.
Snowing again? I don’t approve!

We received a foot of new snow the other night. The following morning, my husband shoveled a dog’s path from the dog door to the backyard’s open area. Garnet, our miniature schnauzer mix, is maybe 12” tall at the shoulder, a petite senior. She confidently trotted down the shoveled path and took a left turn at the usual place to begin her yard tour. This time, she stepped into a deep trough of snow over her head. She floundered for a moment, panicking before she jumped up onto the porch and beelined to the back door. Seeing she didn’t need a rescue, I let her in and dried her off. It was hours before she was willing to brave the snow again for an urgent potty call, careful not to leave the shoveled path.

A small black dog lays on a couple of stuffed animals that are as big as she is!
This is a good nap day with my favorite stuffed toys!

The next day, she walked out of the dog-door and surveyed the snow around her. As she sat, looking around, I saw a familiar emotion on her face: it’s scary to be a Piglet in a Pooh world.

Two small dogs approach a tiny creek. One is looking curious; the small black dog looks a bit scared.
Tribble looks interested in this minor water hazard. Garnet’s posture says she is uncertain and a bit scared.

My oldest child loved Winnie the Pooh cartoons. Pooh was the main character, good-natured and fitting perfectly in his world. His best friend, Piglet, though, was small and vulnerable. Everything was too large for him. For every step Pooh took, Piglet took two or three. In the episode Pooh and the Blustery Day, Piglet is blown around by a capricious wind. When I saw it, I knew that I’m a Piglet. I grew up in West Texas, where a stiff wind always seems to blow. Walking home from school as a youngster, I faced a stiff headwind every day; sometimes, I wasn’t sure I could make it home. I was so small, and the wind was so strong. I related to poor Piglet being blown hither and yon, with no control over his world.

A small black dog looks out over a large field of prairie grass and wildflowers.
It is a BIG world out there!

As a young adult, I often felt the same way. I’m only 5’1” tall, and all the adults in a room are taller than me. I worked in a predominantly male field for many years, and I was usually the only woman in the room. I often felt like Piglet in a Pooh world. Small, vulnerable, and inconsequential to the big Poohs around me. I was never going to be as tall as them or be equal (in their eyes) to their gender. Over a decade after college, I returned for more education, hoping to find my place in the world. The knowledge I gained in law school was good, but the confidence I earned with that J.D. was probably worth even more. I was still short, but I didn’t feel quite so vulnerable.

A standard poodle towers over a small black dog in an open field.
River is our Pooh: confidant, happy, and much bigger than Garnet.

Garnet was my emotional match. She had a difficult life before we took her in when she was around 2-3 years old. Her anxiety made her violently car-sick on the way to our home. She had never walked on a leash, and it freaked her out. She would slink away if we looked at her and run away if we called her. She felt small, vulnerable, and afraid in a world outside her control.

On the verge of the meadow, with nearby trees, two dogs are trotting. A black and tan dog leads the way; a small black dog follows her, head and tail up!
Tribble is Garnet’s daughter and best friend. Where Tribble goes, Garnet happily follows. Here, she is confidant and eager!

Ten years later, she looks a bit cocky as she prances around with a stuffed toy, and it fills my heart with joy. She earned that prance! But she still runs when we call her, fearing a beating that I suspect she always got in the home before ours. She’s no longer car-sick on a drive, but she’s still a bit anxious. She still feels vulnerable, and that tumble in the snow was another reminder that there are scary hazards everywhere. She feels secure in our home, but that’s about the only place. She’s still firmly on team Piglet.

Garnet's happy at home, where she feels safe and secure.
Our little homebody.

That’s okay; we love her dearly. We do our best to help her feel secure enough to gently stretch into new things. She finally walks comfortably on a leash, but she’s afraid of other people, dogs, or anything unexpected. She’ll never be a Pooh, and we hope that the love and security she experiences at home will someday allow her to be a cocky and jaunty Piglet, everywhere she goes.

A small black dog lays on a bed pillow with a stuffed yellow duck doll beside her. She looks relaxed and peaceful.
It’s nearing bedtime, here. Garnet loves to carry her stuffed animals with her everywhere. She’s respectful, never ripping them up or tearing out the stuffing!


    1. Working at home full-time has really helped Garnet be happier and more out-going. Plus, we got her pain more under control. Since the gabapentin has an anti-anxiety aspect to it, that helped, too. Luckily, I expect to work remotely a lot, even after the pandemic, so hopefully she’ll stay in a better place. I think having us gone at work so much had added to her anxiety. She is a real sweetheart to the few she lets in. We love her.

      Now I understand why Elsa isn’t a therapy dog. As a puppy mill rescue, she is not built for that.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Abused dogs are a lot like an onion, there are so many layers to peel to reach their core. Glad Miss Garnet has you around now to provide her emotional comfort.

        Elsa actually loves people (it’s dogs that wind her up) but she isn’t a therapy dog because of her epilepsy. The stress surrounding a hospital environment would likely trigger a seizure. It’s too bad, because she can be quite loving when someone is petting her.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. It is so sad, but luckily Sushi and Garnet have round understanding homes where they can rest, grow, and re-group. We hope everyone, animal or human, who had a difficult start finds a safe place to land.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Piglet was always my favorite character when I was a child, and now I realize why. I relate to him as well.
    Luke is like Garnet, still scared of many things, and he feels safest at home. So do I!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. We are so lucky to have safe spaces to offer our fearful pups. We have 3 rescue parrots, and they are in varying degrees of rehabilitation. Two have done exceptional Oly well in their safe space. One still struggles. Progress is slow, but coming along well. A safe space is sacred.


  2. So THE reepairman ‘changed a part’ on Frida fridge. Custodian does NOT know what was dun. Frida iss n storage room with a bowl of water in fridge part an a bowl in freezer…shee iss runnin. Monday shee will bee checked. Hopefullee water in fridge iss cold an water in freezer iss frozen….wee can hope rite??
    If not, then LadyMew will have to talk to ‘mousehead’…..

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Grate idea Miss Karel!! Ladymew can offer him sum coffee!! Mee NOT sharin mee precious Babybell Gouda with him even if hee ISS a ‘mousehead”…..Hee can get his own ;
        LadyMew meowed sumthin ’bout offerin a ‘guud swift kick’ butt mee thinkss that mite bee a bit OTT rite??

        Liked by 1 person

        1. The swift keck could be satisfying, but may hinder getting your stupid fixed, so coffee seems like the most productive approach! 😇


  3. Mee-yow Garnet you sure have come a furry long way!!! Iss so lovelee that you tooked Garnet innto yore home an heart Miss Karel.
    Mee iss happy Garnet has Tribbel an River are allso there to help Garnet feel safe!!!
    Wee hope efurryone iss guud there. Wee Okay here.
    **purrss** BellaDharma an ❤ LadyMew

    Liked by 1 person

    1. We are all good here! It sounds like you are much improved. Is your permanent refrigerator back, Yet? We’re getting snow tonight, but the dog weather report tells me that it is warm enough that we’re getting a bit of rain, first!


      1. HURRAH!!! Wee furry happy that efurryone iss doin guud there. Doggie weather iss more ccurate than Hu’man’ss weather that ISS fore sure 😉
        Wee still usin loaner fridge…..the Guy came inn an ssiiad nothin wrong with Frida but hee changed a part…WHAT THE CAT??? Sumthin’ had to bee wrong to reeplace a part…..
        Anyway, Frida has to run over weekend an then Custodian will check that water in fridge iss cold & freezer water iss frozen on Monday. LadyMew firugred if wee gotted Frida back shee wuud get sick over weekend an then wee have NO fridge!
        Oh an did mee mention mee an LadyMew are ‘Pigletss’ of a sort two!?!?
        **purrss** BellaDharma an ((huggiess)) LadyMew

        Liked by 1 person

  4. I’ve been thinking about your poor dog so horribly misused before you got her makes my heart hurt. BUT you are showing her real love and goodness and having a BFF helps. It sure did for Boomer when he came to live with us. Fuzzy was a huge help.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Her daughter/BFF has really given Garnet a greater level of confidence and security. ‘D like to think our love did it all, it I don’t think that’s true. Tribble’s love probably helped even more.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. There is a wonderful word we all need to know. It is “uitwaaien”, pronounced out-vane. It is the Dutch practice of jogging or walking into the wind, especially in the winter, for the purpose of feeling invigorated. (dictionary.com)

    For all of us who feel like Piglet sometimes, let’s uitwaaien!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Aw, poor baby. She’s a sweetie pie. I’m so glad she is in a home where she can just relax and be loved. I’m sad somebody, somewhere, found it necessary to turn her into a scared little pooch in the first place….

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I also feel bad that she could have been abused before. I suspect she was a puppy mill cast-out after several litters. When we got her, she was sad and knocked-up. It warms my heart to see her so much happier now!


  7. I had forgotten about Piglet tumbling in the wind but I do understand that. I was small too and trying to grow up in West Texas, where the wind was sometimes strong enough to knock a person down and frequently loaded with sand. I still don’t like wind. When I was fifteen and looking around at colleges, University of Chicago offered me a scholarship. I was flattered and thinking about it…..until I read somewhere that Chicago was known as the windy city. I immediately forgot all about Chicago and that scholarship. Smartest decision I ever made!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. People where I live now don’t understand that level of pervasive strong wind. Although we had a chinook wind one year that had a petit colleague started to literally blow away when she lost her footing. My husband and his co-worker caught her arms and kept her grounded. God knows what could have happened! It leaves small people feeling vulnerable, much like tiny little Garnet. Everything scares her, but I understand and can be patient with her. How could i not?


    1. I never related to Pooh or Tigger, but I loved the series and all the other characters! Store was a favorite, along with Roo, and Rabbit. But Piglet was my favorite!


    1. It has taken many years, but Garnet is still growing emotionally and becoming resilient slowly but surely. Having happy little Tribble here to love her and be her constant companion has helped a lot.

      Liked by 2 people

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