25 January 2009

homework assignment

This is for a homework assignment that should be posted on Moodle, but I think there's been a technical difficulty. I'm typing it out here while it's on my mind.

Personal reflection for EDST 180

The discussion of Humanism reminded me of something that happened to me two years ago. There is sort of a lengthy backstory but I think it helps my point.

My family has always had dogs. When I was in high school, our elderly poodle died and we got a new terrier puppy, who we named Paddi. She was sweet and adorable and I really loved her. It was hard leaving her when I went to college, but I saw her every time I went home for break, and my family sent lots of pictures. During the spring of my sophomore year, however, she started getting very sick. She went days without eating and lost a lot of weight. My mom is a veterinarian, and knew that this was the beginning of the end for her -- the next time she stopped eating would be it; her kidneys were almost completely destroyed and she was suffering. One weekend, they brought her up to visit me because they knew I might not get another chance to see her. She was happy and energetic but I said goodbye.

About a week later I was getting ready for my morning class when the phone rang. It was my mom; she had intended to call her office to say she was bringing Paddi in to be put to sleep, but she pressed the wrong speed dial and got me instead. It was completely devastating; I knew I could not go to class that day. I e-mailed my professors and told them so.

(I wanted to tell this story in class, but I knew I couldn't do it without crying. It still hurts to think about that time, which was almost two years ago.)

The connection to Humanism goes like this: I thought of Maslow's hierarchy of needs, and how if one of the lower needs is not fulfilled, the higher ones are impossible. When Paddi died, my "love and belongingness" went all out of whack and I couldn't think about anything else, especially not academics.

Additionally, my professors all exhibited good humanistic traits. Everyone was very empathic to my situation, and understood completely that I needed to take time off and deal with it.

I guess the only way to wrap this up is with the silver lining of the story. Right after Paddi died, her breeder told us about another puppy who desperately needed a new home. A week later, Ripley came home and immediately started tearing the house apart. He has since learned some manners and our home has a dog again.

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