It’s nice having a dog to welcome you home. There’s nothing quite like seeing a big ole wiggle butt heading your way.
However, Mr. Bruno has started to get possessive of me, so we are nipping that in the butt right away. “Tough love” they call it. I need to become higher up on the chain of command, and show that I do not need protection (#independentwoman). No couch snuggles, no praise unless in training mode and he makes a good choice, no furniture, he has to work for his food (sit/stay). I tell people about this, and I get he look that means “You’re doing that to a dog you just rescued?”
Sounds mean – but it WORKS!
In two days, I’ve noticed a marked difference in our walks and his behavior in the house. He looks at me, he listens when I get him to sit/stay. He follows me with his eyes, but no longer needs to be in every single room with me wherever I go.
Progress is a wonderfully powerful motivator.
As for the cats… we’ve made many strides in the week he’s been at our house. Bruno has not yet accepted that the cats are higher up on the totem pole then he is… but he will. We’ve made strides thanks to my Mr. He did what I couldn’t – he started the integration. During the periods that we’re home, Bruno wears a leash so that if we need to grab for a correction, we can.
I feel terrible for quarantining my little furballs to cat prison the basement when we’re not home. I keep telling myself, it’s for their own safety. I know it is. In all actuality It’s a mostly finished basement, with their food, litterbox, two bedrooms and lots of cat toys to play with. So I know they most likely are not looking like this.
We need to teach him to ignore them. This will work.
I don’t need them to be best buds, I just need to him to learn that cats are not for eating or chasing. Bruno is still stressing out when they are near, and will always get up to look for them when they leave the room. He doesn’t trust them. They can be jerks, but I can’t wait for the moment when I can relax with all of my animals present. It may be a year… maybe 2, but I’m determined that it will happen.
BFW rescue has been fantastic, answered all of my questions tirelessly (and there have been many). What a bunch of gems.
Stay tuned for more on Bruno’s progress. Slow and steady…
Yes, I said tenth – refer to my “about” section to see my love of procrastination. This procrastination however, is a healthy one. I keep meaning to lend it out to friends who have just lost or are losing their canine companions. Maybe this book isn’t for you, but then again, maybe it is. I found it in the “Self-help” section of our Chapters. I don’t know why, but there is something about that particular section, when I walk through it, that makes me feel even more miserable and low then I already was feeling (cue ballcap and secret mustache disguise).
Katz discusses the difficult task of saying goodbye to furry friends. He further goes on to offer his support and opinions on comfort, grief, perspective and moving forward. I find grief (albeit healthy) can be like a sink hole (unhealthy) – only taking you down… and down. It’s hard to get out of. As I go through my own stages of grief, I find myself going back on this book and taking something different every time, slowly getting me out of the sink hole. I’ve met tons of you through this blog, many of you are going through your own grieving processes. I feel for each of you, wish you well, and I hope you can take some comfort in what I’m about to say.
As most of you all are aware, we lost our best friend Newton to Kidney Disease last Dec. I started writing about my process of losing him here.
The most important thing I’ve taken from his book, is this notion of something called “The Good Life”. It has helped me on those really dark days. You know the ones where you look out the back window and hundreds of great memories come flooding back to you – Overwhelming really.
I know I will always have them, and what I’ve come to realize – it’s not a bad thing. Although sad to remember what I lost, these moments make me happy he was ever ours in the first place.
In an interview done by Jon Katz two years ago for Reuters.com, he said “One idea that I advocate is the dealing with guilt directly. Acknowledge the good life, remember the good things you did with your pet — the places you took them, the affection you showed them. Remind those who have lost a pet that they generally gave their pets a good life and that’s a good thing, so don’t forget that.”
Katz further suggests that , if we can allow ourselves to grieve, we can also with time celebrate their lives. He asks the big questions – Did we give our pet a good life, were we there for them when they needed us most, did we make the best decisions when we needed to. He made me deal with these questions – head on – and it helped. It’s my personal opinion that in doing so, I’ve reached a point of reflection where I can now celebrate his life without tears every single time. Due to his faulty kidneys since birth he was only supposed to be with us a short time (still unfair). We were able to give Newton a good kick ass 2.5 years, and I’m proud that my fiance and I were able to.
I loved the idea of acknowledging the good life, not dwelling on the end (SO HARD) – but all the cheeseburgers, bellyrubs and adventures in between. It’s IMPOSSIBLE not be sad about the circumstances and guilt of saying goodbye to your fur-kid, but relish in those memories of all the in-between happy moments!
While I didn’t enjoy (or wasn’t ready) to take on certain perspectives from Jon Katz’s book, I loved this notion. Remembering the “Good Life” that has helped me tremendously. We gave Newton the best two and a half years we could have. Where we went, so did he. As my new blogger friend, MissHappyCreature, commented on my post – being with their humans is where dogs really want to be anyway (What a wonderful comment – thanks for that!). Newton was loved everyday (by many), had many adventures and experienced a wonderful life. I wish it had been longer, but isn’t this notion of the “good life” what we are all looking for?
As many of you have already heard of Newton’s life lessons – he has taught his humans to live better lives. The dogs I am now working with at our local SPCA also deserve this “good life”. It’s with great gratitude that Newton has taught us his life lessons, and now we’re able to share this with others.
Now, please don’t think I’m getting preachy on you all. I am not an expert. I just know what has worked so far with my process. Many of you have wrote to me and are feeling/experiencing the same thing. You’re lost. Unaware on how to go forward, more so – not wanting to. I believe you should grieve as you need to. We are all different.
With that being said, the oranges at the SPCA were all walked yesterday – how awesome for them!! So guess who I get to help socialize today 🙂
Hopefully these sessions will help them become little social butterflies and get the “Good Life” they deserve.
Not to be cliché:
“Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened.”