Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Reactivity - Part 2; Sometimes it's just hard

It's hard for me to remember just how far my dear Fanny has come since bringing her home from the humane society almost 8 years ago.  She was a reactive mess.  A lot of her reactivity stemmed from her uncertainty and fear of other dogs, of "scary" new people.  She definitely had the "I'm going to get you before you get me!" mentality that so many dogs exhibit and get punished for.

8 years is a long time for me to go back in time and remember where we started, where we are now and what we did to get where we are.  There is no doubt, she has made tremendous progress.  Thanks to my wonderful husband, I am finding myself reflecting how how much work I (actually, we) put into getting her to where she is today.  It was a lot of work...some days were good, some days were horrible.  With patience, understanding and firm, but fair leadership and lots of hot dogs(!) we made progress. 

Aaron and I are blessed that we have a great group of friends and family who have helped us along the way (a current "thank you" goes out to Kristin the "Chicken Tossin' Lady") by being amazingly understanding and willing to work with us.  You guys make the difference in helping our household move forward.

That said, it is still hard.  There are days were I have seriously thought about giving up the dogs (although I would never do it).  Days where I find myself daydreaming of a white-hair-free house and sleeping in past 7:30am on the weekends.  Days where I go home and almost cry when I see people taking advantage of the fact that they have the "perfect" dog who does not react to anything...they don't know how good they have it.  Days where I ask myself, "Why did you have to get a second dog?  Things were just fine with just Aaron, Laura and Fanny."  (sigh)

I'm sure 8 years from now my relationship with Oscar will sing a different tune.  It will no longer sound like the spaztic - goth punk rock jazz station on the radio.  It will mature into a nicely conducted, classical station that is on in the background on a lovely afternoon.  I am hopeful for the connection with Oscar, I really am.  I know we will get to a better place where he isn't such a butthead, such a complete lizard brain.  I know we will find the perfect harmony that I have seen glimpses of in the past couple months.  He is teaching me as much as I am teaching him...we are in this dance together, but we are just in that awkward, adolescent, stepping-on-each-others-toes phase.  We'll grow out of it, but it will take time, nurturing and patience.

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