Last Saturday evening we had some friends over for dinner and they brought their darling thirteen month old bundle of joy along. We'll call her Grace. Well Grace is a boisterous little girl, embarking on toddler-hood full speed ahead with the joy of discovery just beyond her fingertips. As she teetered erratically around my small apartment we laughed at the mishaps a nowhere near childproof house provided as entertainment. I even dragged my mini-trampoline out and bounced her on it. Oh she sure liked me! But as all this is happening my own daughter was not behaving so well.
Porkie flew into full alpha-bitch mode moments after the young family walked in the door. Curious, she was also a snapping turtle anytime she got near Grace. It didn't take me long to realize my dog was worried this two foot tall human was going to usurp her place in the pack. So we did what people do, spent all night exhaustively trying to keep the snapping turtle away from the toddler. To say I was embarrassed was an understatement. But I didn't realize my full culpability until I was walking her on Monday and she went ballistic when she saw a Jack Russel Terrier she likes to get particularly riled up about when crossing paths. The snapping turtle returned and she wriggled around, flipping out of my hands like a fish out of water when I tried to contain her. Suddenly the scales fell from my eyes and a resounding This is your fault reverberated around my head. Surely if she got free she would attack this dog and what would become of her then?
So discipline mom roared to life and "train the dog" boot camp went into effect. Porkie is a rescue who came to us with past abuse and a terrible fear of people. She has made a lot of progress but along the way developed fear aggression that drives this violent behavior. We got her in June of 2010 and a month later I had the strokes. To say life has been an insane tailspin since then is an understatement. Her training went by the wayside in the wake of such severe catastrophe. Oh did I chastise myself, wondering how I justified such a terrible disservice to this little puppy as to not teach her manners. Then I took her on a walk and she wouldn't pee, for the life of her she just wouldn't. Within 30 seconds I remembered why I have not trained my dog to good behavior. Up until the last few months my stress-response was nonexistent. I simply didn't have the capacity to proactively engage in something that would frustrate me or make me angry. But my brain is getting it together and now I am ready, and embark on it with forgiveness towards myself. I see a lot of parents with Fibro who feel their children are shortchanged or life is unfair because of the parents illness. I can only imagine how painful that must be. But instead of fixating on the past that cannot be changed I am finding myself excited to figure out how to move positively into the future. The one place an attitude can be changed for a better tomorrow.
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