(This was an impromptu writing to fulfill a short assignment on metaphors for nursing theory.)
I’m sitting at my computer, gazing at my 10 year old arthritic black and tan female German Shepherd, Jala, who is sleeping three feet from me with her muzzle cradled on her right paw. A distant child’s voice from outdoors sparks her from slumber. Ears upright, a turn of the head, a quick glance towards me, and she lazily rolls onto her side. It’s only a child. No worry.
For ten years she has exercised faithful vigilance over the theoretical unknowns. New interpretive contexts fall somewhere between Jala’s creative independence and learned boundaries. Like letting babies crawl on her. Or assuming a sentry position outside doors of dreaming toddlers. Or testing new relationship constructs by “telling” me the cat need to go out. Or experimenting with new applications: Will she be allowed to take Vail’s place in bed while he is out of town?
We have not yet discovered any interpersonal environment to which she cannot adapt. Her concepts have stood the test of time. As an interdisciplinarian with Kuhnian tendencies, this 4-legged, 90 lb. holistic framework must perpetually assess the neighborhood for new evidence that might invoke a paradigm shift. The research continues to support Jala’s fundamental assumption that a healthy and safe environment is the criterion of community wellness.
Nursing theory is such a dog!