Apollo and I spent a day with Felipe Trentini taking some photos in Gradec, an old part of Zagreb, Croatia. I have been living in Zagreb for a year and loving it. It is a beautiful city. It was so fun working with Felipe. He is great with dogs and he does magnificent shots.
Take a look at our photo album. I think you'll see why both Apollo and I love this gorgeous place.
"The 13th-century St Mark’s Church is one of Zagreb’s most emblematic buildings. Its colourful tiled roof, constructed in 1880, has the medieval coat of arms of Croatia, Dalmatia and Slavonia on the left side, and the emblem of Zagreb on the right. The Gothic portal, composed of 15 figures in shallow niches, was sculpted in the 14th century. The interior contains sculptures by Ivan Meštrović, though the church is open only at Mass times.
From late April to October there's a guard-changing ceremony outside the church every Saturday and Sunday at noon." - from The Lonely Planet
Apollo is a very good dog, but there was a time when he was not very obedient. It was for good reason, part of which was puberty, but most significantly: I WAS NOT A TRUSTWORTHY LEADER.
Because I had been accustomed to living my personal life without significant purpose (work is excluded here. I am SUPER purposeful with my work,) my days were unfolding inconsistently. I would awaken when I wanted. I went to bed when I wanted. I ate what I wanted. I spent as much money as I wanted, when I wanted to spend it. I popped off to where I wanted on a whim. In the last four months, I had been to Greece, Romania, France, and Costa Rica… and not just for a weekend. I was in CR for a month, in Romania for a week, and Greece for three weeks. France was a quickie, but I had time to visit friends, walk the entire city and polish off a bottle of champagne.
Bringing a dog into my life meant I needed to do more self-leadership. This has been the lesson that Apollo has taught me most powerfully. I really appreciate it.
Although I am a HUGE advocate of following one’s heart, I am also very aware that one’s feminine, heart-led nature must be shaped and directed by meaningful purpose. As I said, with my work, I am very purposeful. I know what I’m here to do and I offer no resistance to it. In my personal life, however, it wasn’t so clear. I was meandering through my life. I was raised to believe that my personal life doesn’t matter. Work matters. So boom—my personal life was purposeless—just a’wandering the world feeling my feels.
This is where Apollo comes in. Dogs have purpose. Their purpose is to follow their instinct and their nose. Their instinct is to survive, and to survive their instinct naturally follows a pecking order. Apollo and I are a two-dog pack. His natural instinct is to follow the pack leader—but the leader of us is NOT determined by size, intelligence or human-ness. Apollo and my purposeless self were in competition for leadership. I wanted to be the leader, but I had to earn that by actually leading, which I was not doing because my personal life had no stronger purpose other than comfort and meandering. Me meandering meant that the puppy was meandering. The two of us were a mess—he was going one way and I was going another.
A key factor in effective leadership is purpose. The most purposeful dog in the pack will naturally become the leader because purpose is a VERY strong magnetic force. It is a powerful driver of energy that pulls everything along with it—focus, energy, manifestations, emotions… all these follow purpose like ducks flying south for the winter.
Purpose is like a missile heading for a target. For example, in my neighborhood, the folks don’t fix their dogs. When a female dog is in heat, all the male dogs have one instinct and that becomes the dominant purpose that overrides all others: get it, boy! Even a strong alpha leader cannot control his pack when a bitch walks by.
My Apollo is still pretty young, but puberty is about 30 days away and I know that I need to establish the upper hand before my boy becomes a horny teenager. YIKES! As leader of our two-dog pack, my purpose needs to be strong enough to dominate his instinct at all times. My dog is MY responsibility and I must see the bigger picture and lead him with purpose. Please notice that I am not saying that I must dominate my dog with force. I am saying that my PURPOSE needs to be stronger and more compelling than his instinct so that I can own my role as leader in our pack. I am the leader—not the puppy.