Don’t Mess with Texas!

Texas is my dog… my other dog.

Lucy was such an inspiration to everyone I thought I would introduce you to the teachings of my other dog, Tex (for short), he is our Jack Russell Terrorist (no, not a misspelling).

I went to buy a cowboy hat before going into the rodeo in the stockyards of Fort Worth, Texas, (when in Rome!). Inside their makeshift booth they were also selling Jack Russell puppies. My wife and I had been looking for a sibling companion for Lucy. We knew nothing about Jack Russell Terriers, but the little spitfire captured our hearts and we fell in love on the spot.

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Tex has a Napoleon complex. He is only 14 pounds but portrays himself as if he were a 200-pound pit bull. I’ve had to rescue him from the jaws of a German Shepherd and a Rottweiler. Fights HE picked. Tex has bitten the UPS guy (two of them), a Jehovah’s Witness, the meter reader, my mother in-law and countless friends and neighbors. I know, don’t get all “Cesar Millan” on me. It’s my fault… I haven’t been the “pack leader” good enough. I get it.

At the same time, behind the rough, aggressive front, Tex is the softest most loving dog you will ever meet. If you hold him or pet him he will purr in delight. He will come up and sit so he is always touching you. He never leaves his mother’s sight and is always on call—for guard duty or love duty.

Here is the lesson… Have you ever met a jerk? You know that guy or gal who seems to go out of their way to be a brute? Or someone who comes off harsh or callous?

This is what Tex teaches me… 99.9% of the time (gotta leave that 0.1% for the Charles Mansons of the world), “meanies” are big softies behind their tough exteriors. Most of the time, their exteriors are just a front—a front that is a pendulum swing in equal extreme to the reality of what’s going on inside. It is their inferiority complex; their fear and feeling of weakness that make them portray the opposite to the world. The more extreme the jerk, usually the more fearful and inferior they really feel on the inside.

With this knowledge you can have empathy in response rather than angst. You will notice the truly confident person is always the most even keeled. They neither display boisterous confidence nor weakness. I’ve always known it as a “quiet confidence”. They have nothing to prove, nor a never-ending need to be heard.

Someone taught me long ago that people are always saying one of two things through their words and actions; either:
1) “I love you” or
2) “I need love”

Much of the jerk behavior you witness and experience are acts to gain attention, a solicitation for validation; displays of insecurity and fear of insignificance.

Most people aren’t bad, they are only hurting. When you know they are operating out of pain and fear, their growl has a lot less bite.

The next time you experience someone being a jerk, look past the exterior and see the little, frightened, soft and ultimately loving puppy inside. All they need is a pat on the head and a “good boy!” or “good girl!” recognition from you. Then they will likely be comfortable to show you their soft underbelly.



26 responses to “Don’t Mess with Texas!”

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  5. We have a Jack Russel, Buster, he is my door bell, home sercurity system and reference for peoples character. Will approach anyone or thing with a tremendous bark and appears to be mean but just mention his name in a nice calm fashion and he is your best friend. A Jack is a great example to use in your message. They also are very focused and determined when after something and never give up! We should all take some lessons from these little guys!

  6. Wow! thats an incredible insight and relative relation to how people behave and the real going on’s in there hearts, i can certainly identify with that greatly as i have been there. Hurt and broken hearted played tough for a longtime in coming before i allowed people in. Its wonderful what happens next after that, you learn to love and acccept yourself and others, better able to define yourself and your boundaries and people get to know you for who you really are.
    Excellent write up and advise to help people along in there relationships with themselves, others and their pets too.
    Thank you so very much its even encouraging me to keep on going, despite people still hurting, misunderstanding and misinterpreting your actions sometimes.
    Absolutely wonderful,thank you so very much.

  7. Wow Darren, that little bit of advice you gave Dee just hit home in more ways than one. That applies to people too. One must “research” and understand well the personality and behavior of partner they plan to spend the rest of their lives with . . . As someone looking to start over, this is awesome advice as well.

  8. I love this blog! I’m a Christian, and it reminds me of what the Bible says about how we should never pass judgment on others and to see others as God sees them, beautiful children that belong to Him. He urges us to look at people’s hearts, and often, people who are snarling and growling at us and keeping us at arm’s length are suffering from a broken heart and are desperate for someone to see that and love them. I’m also a CNA and I see this sometimes in my patients. All they need is someone to TRULY cares about them and their well-being, and the rough exterior disappears and they soften completely.

    Thanks so much for posting this!

  9. Thank you Darren for the blog about the hard persona that people (and dogs) project and they are really reaching out for affection and love. It is finding that side of them that is difficult at times; but once you have the breakthrough you normally have found a friend for life.

    Cesar Millan always treats the people before he treats the dogs; I have learned many life lessons watching that show.
    Keep them coming! Diana

  10. Darren,

    I love this! Knowing you work in Texas and are a free spirited Californian!
    Did you find Tex in Waco by chance?

    [DARREN HARDY] Hey Steve-O!! No found Tex in Ft. Worth outside the rodeo in the Stock Yards. Still got that cowboy hat too. I get all sorts of crazy looks wearing it on the beach in San Diego – Yeee…Hawww!

  11. Thank you for sharing the inspiration you get from your furry friends. I never thought of what our pets teach us until they are gone from our lives. The Springer Spaniel with the anxiety attacks who tried to dig her way into the family room is missed today and even the miniature dachshund who couldn’t house train, but worked his way into our hearts.
    I’ve known plenty of ‘little Napoleons’ in my husband’s line of work (he has been a minister for 25 years of our 29 year marriage.) Thanks for the insight!
    Damien is correct in saying that the blustery attitude of others is much more about them than you. I am learning not to take it all so personally. :o)

  12. Thank you thank you for both dog stories. We had a wonderful mutt for eleven years but recently lost her. I said that I could NEVER get another dog BUT after reading those 2 wonderful stories I will go to the nearest rescue society and find a new dog to adopt. I am sure that this is what our beloved late doggie would have wanted from us. God bless Dee

    [DARREN HARDY] Oh my goodness Dee… don’t make me responsible for another 10 years of slobbery goo and fur everywhere. Although there are lots of great companions that need rescuing! One word of advice – research the dog you are considering… it represents the personality and behavior you will live with for the next decade.

  13. What a precious little doggie! We have a 2 pound (intact) male TEACUP chihuahua who also wants to prove his manhood to much larger dogs. Gabbana is macho to the max, and will tackle pit bulls, german shepherds, and other large dogs. I love his fighting spirit – and I also love it when he lays on his back and begs for a tummy rub. Kathi

  14. Enjoyed both blogs re Lucy and Tex. I have 2 German Shepherds, Katrina and Roxy. Katrina has been with me since she was 8 weeks old and is my shadow, always knows when I need a loving slurp. Roxy was abused by people before she came to live with me. Yet, she shows no resentment towards people is loving and happy to please. This shows unconditional love as God teaches us. Thanks for the great stories and lessons that go with it. Blessings, Trixi Scantlin

  15. As a fellow owner of a Jack Russell, I love the lessons these little dogs give us. Mine was christened Rocky and has done nothing but live up to a reputation for never ever giving up. From finding extraordinary ways and taking big risks to get to a nearby farm to visit a girlfriend to simply persuading someone to take him for a walk, with his skills with people, focus, persistence and enthusiasm, wherever he goes, I always know he is chasing a dream! Thanks Lucy and Tex – and Rocky!

  16. Darren,
    This is an excellent blog. I find a whole lot of value in Your words. I too, choose to use words to empower as many as I can. I’m realizing now, that I need to find those looking for Empowerment, instead of trying to push it upon those who are in need of it. This blog gives me more insight into working with those who “don’t play well with others.”

    I’ll place this information into the hard drive of me, along with the valueable word’s and lessons of Dale Carnegie, in my “dealing with people folder”. I know one day we will meet, maybe at a symposium, or one day WHEN(not if) my dreams come true, You will interview me for the magazine. Or maybe I’ll work with you one day, and contribute to SUCCESS Magazine. If that’s God’s will, I know it’s mine too. Thank You again Darren, for Your commitment to excellence, and service towards Your fellow man.

    Sincerely Yours,
    Damien Balderrama

  17. Good word! Reminds me of a chapter title in John Maxwell’s book “Winning With People.” The title, “The Pain Principle: Hurting People Hurt People and Are Easily Hurt by Them,” points out the cyclical nature of such behavior. To break the cycle, someone has to be big enough to look beyond the surface and act with mercy, grace, kindness and confidence. Understand the blustery actions and attitudes of others are more about them than you.

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