“Talk it out!”
Copyright ©Arlene R. Taylor, PhD
The two cocker spaniels sprawled comfortably on the sofa. They were not supposed to be on the furniture, you understand. Their place was on the rug in front of the fireplace. Since their owners were out shopping, however, the dogs figured they’d give it a whirl—oblivious to the security camera. The sofa was so much softer than the rug. Suddenly Pooh said, “I am so worried.”
“About what?” asked Pet, sitting up.
“Every time they leave, I‘m afraid they won’t return,” said Pooh.
“They have always returned,” was Pet’s retort. “Always.”
“True,” replied Pooh. “What if something goes wrong this time and they do not come back? What will we eat?”
Pet settled down again, chin on paws. “That is a possibility. A remote possibility.”
“We would starve, that’s what,” whined Pooh. “It’s enough to make anyone anxious!”
“Hold up a minute,” said Pet, shifting position. “You are allowing worry and anxiety to run away with you. No, we would not starve. We have never starved. Just look at that roll growing around your middle. That does not spell starving. No offense,” Pet said quickly. “I’m just pointing out that if something bad happened, someone would come to find out who else lived in this house. They would find us.”
“That may be true,” Pooh conceded. “However, we need water more than we need food. We need water every day. What about water? We might go a day or two without food, but we must have water!”
“Oh, for crying out loud,” said Pet, irritated now. “Put your thinking cap on for heaven’s sake. There are three toilets in this house, all filled with fresh water. Plus, the toilet seats are not bolted shut. Get a grip!”
Eventually Pooh said, “I suppose you’re right—about the water.”
“I know I’m right,” expostulated Pet. “You know it wouldn’t be the first time.”
“Right again,” said Pooh. “Besides, we know where the food is kept under the sink, and I’m quite sure we could get the door open.”
“No question,” said Pet. “We even know how to flush the toilet to get more fresh water on demand!”
“Why is it that you always have an answer for my every worry?” asked Pooh, not altogether kindly.
“I’ve had a lot of practice,” said Pet. “You often think of the worse-case scenario—then hang onto it. For every worry, there is always something you can do, even if it’s simply choosing to think about positive things that could happen instead of negative things. You’d think you your name was Doom or Gloom instead of Pooh.”
“Maybe they will bring us a treat when they come home,” said Pooh, ignoring the comment about her name.
“There you go. That’s good thinking. They often bring something, “said Pet.
“We need to be sitting on the rug in front of the fireplace when they arrive home. We’re not supposed to sleep on the sofa,” said Pooh.
“Oh, no,” said Pet. “We need to be at the kitchen door when they get home—like we always are. If they walk in and we are flopped calmly on the rug they will know we’ve been up to some mischief!”
“We can hear the garage door open,” said Pooh. “Plenty of time to get to the kitchen.”
“There you go. That’s it. Now, think about what type of treat you would like to have,” Pet said encouragingly.
“I like them all,” said Pooh, “so it doesn’t matter which one we get. Besides, if we do not get a treat today, we can think about getting one another time.”
“That’s the spirit, Pooh! You are thinking much more positively,” said Pet.
“Thanks. It helps to talk about worry and anxiety with a good friend—like you. Next time I will not wait so long,” replied Pooh.
“Better yet,” said Pet, “every time you think a negative thought, replace it with a positive one. You can do that!”
“Yes, I can do that,” said Pooh. “Hey! I hear the garage door. Hit the deck for the kitchen, Pet!”