Naturally, this caused major problems between Drew and me. He wanted this dog and fought me just as hard as I fought him. There were puh-LEN-ty of times that we nearly split up because of the dog.
To this day we still have problems - because the dog is his baby I feel that he is far too indulgent with her. Only now that her size is inconvenient for him is he interested in training her to behave - now that she's ten months old and bad behavior is that much more difficult to rehabilitate. I am absolutely resentful of that. I didn't feel he heard me when I told him I didn't want to walk her because she was pulling me around. But now that she's pulling HIM around, now we should look into training her. That is one bitter pill to swallow, I assure you. I tell him that rough playing shouldn't be encouraged because as she gets bigger and when there are children in the house, she won't understand "Okay, now you have to stop. Never mind that you've been behaving this way since you were born." However, since the admonishments come out of my mouth, I'm just trying to tell him what to do and boss him around. *rolls eyes*
The only positive thing about this is that these are very good training grounds for calm, adult discussions regarding child-rearing, because I can already tell that I'm going to have to be 'mean mommy' and he'll get to be 'nice daddy.' I'm nowhere near good at it because I can feel Drew's contempt for what I've learned through my research. Add that to his natural impatience when things don't go right the first time and I just get pissed off and I don't even want to talk anymore. You can't do that - not with dogs, kids, or your husband. No matter how frustrated you get, you have to find a way to keep lines of communication open. No matter what - you owe it to yourself and your family.
So, I haven't given up. Not on the dog or Drew and I decided to take down the wall of hate that I had toward the dog. I always fed her, kept her clean and warm, taught her a couple of tricks, but she never had my genuine affection and I think she knew it. Being an avid fan of The Dog Whisperer, I took to heart Cesar Millan's philosophy regarding energy and how dogs are super-sensitive to it and will react to energy sooner than anything else. It makes sense to me and I bought a couple of his books and set about changing my energy.
Maya and I had a breakthrough a couple of weeks ago. Actually, I let down some walls and let her come in. I was sitting on the couch, eating. I had taught her not to come near me when I was eating and she does really well with that. It took several tries but now she keeps a respectful distance from me when I'm eating on the sofa, even going so far as to ignore me when when I've got a plate of food in my hand. That night, I had finished my meal and as if on cue, she hopped up on the sofa and fell onto my lap between me and the arm of the sofa. She snuggled in and promptly fell asleep. We sat there, her sleeping, me petting her, and something happened.
I like to think our energies made an agreement. We connected and I didn't have that hate in my heart anymore. I took a picture of us with my phone and sent it to Drew but it didn't really capture the moment. She stirred, opened her eyes and changed position, and then fell back to sleep. Then she started snoring like a freight train - I laughed, but not too hard or loud so I wouldn't wake her. We sat like that for over an hour while I watched DVR episodes of Dancing With the Stars. It was a great moment and I needed it.
Drew and I had a moment as well. We were having an honest discussion about the dog where he admitted to me that he was in over his head. That he underestimated how much work a dog was. Hearing him say those words to me was such a relief, I felt that he finally understood why I was so upset. I felt I took the commitment of dog-ownership far more seriously than he did and I didn't even want the dog! I realized that there were times where he too was doubting and hearing him acknowledge that was so major to me.
We're doing better - we've gotten a harness for her that makes walking her fun, so now I don't shirk my duties. She's getting more training while we're gone over Christmas and I learn something new every day from my Cesar Millan books. I still don't like going on walks with Drew because our energies regarding the dog are still too different, but I have hope that one day soon we'll be able to walk as a happy, balanced 'pack.'
Sunday we had a really good day in the field near the house.
Strapped in on the car ride over. She's too big to sit on my lap anymore.
I'm telling myself that it's okay that her collar and harness don't match. Even though it really bothers me. I'm trying to refrain from running out and buying a red collar so I'll feel better.
Seeing Maya run full-out, jump in the puddles, chase the tennis balls and explore everything within sniffing distance was heartwarming. She was joy personified - that's why people love dogs. I get that.