Monthly Archives: April 2014

A Welcome Visit

Shortly after I got to work, the elevator opened and someone got off. On that same elevator was the professor who brings her two therapy dogs to campus. One of the dogs, Bonnie–a brown and white mini Aussie–stepped off the elevator so her owner and Tilly, a blue merle mini Aussie, also got off the elevator.

The library staff is always excited to see Tilly and Bonnie. We’ll stop whatever we’re doing and greet the dogs. Somehow the dogs always bring a smile to our faces. I’m glad that our school promotes therapy dogs and encourages the staff and faculty to bring their trained therapy dogs to campus. It really helps the students, especially the homesick ones.

Looking back on my first university that I attended, I think if the school had a therapy dog program I probably wouldn’t have been as homesick as I had been. There I was, hours away from my home. It was the first time I’d been away from my mom for longer than a week. I was scared and despite the fact that I had friends there, I was lonely. I cried a lot. I suffered from depression and wanted to die. I began cutting myself. 

I saw a psychologist while I was there. I never told him everything that was going on. I couldn’t. I didn’t want to bother him with my actual problems, so I pretended that everything was hunky-dory. I even convinced myself that everything was all right. I wonder, though, if the school had a therapy dog or two would I have been better off? Would I have been more willing to open up to the professor as I sat on the floor petting the dog? It’s not something I can answer, but I do think it would have helped me.

Later on this year, we’re having a speaker come do a therapy dog conference. I want to talk to her, ask her what I could do to help promote therapy dogs at universities. I want to go back to that little university in Texas and talk to the president and the psychology department and see if they would like to try the therapy dog program to see if it would benefit their students. I know there are probably a lot of hoops to jump through, and rolls of red tape, but if it saves one student from going through what I went through wouldn’t if be worth it?

I am definitely going to train my girls to be therapy dogs. They’ve already proven great with little children, tolerating being picked up and packed around. Two little girls who had previously cried whenever they saw my girls ended up sitting on the ground petting them. It made me feel good watching my dogs and the children interact. It’s something I was to see and feel again and again.

It’s a goal that I hope to fulfill.

Until next time, make sure your fragile human or humans know that you love them.


Confessions of a Control Freak

I am a control freak. I don’t want to be, but I am. In situations where there is an obvious leader who is taking care of things and everything runs smoothly, I’m content to sit back and follow. However, situations when there is no obvious leader or the leader can’t control things, then I chomp at the bit to take charge and put things back in order.

While in college and grad school, my control freakishness was kept in check. The teachers were obvious leaders and ran their classes well. I was kept busy with my tasks that I never felt the need to take charge. I was me…the true me.

I also didn’t have problems with my mom either. She gave birth to me and has always been there for me. When I was a teen I challenged her authority (but few teens don’t challenge their parents’ authority), but as an adult I respected my mom. If I smarted off to her it was from across the room so I had a good running head start. My mom and I are a lot alike so we butt heads from time to time, but ultimately I back down from her.

As for my dogs, well I made sure they mind. I don’t try to control them or dominate over them, but I wrote about how I train my dogs a couple posts ago.

Enter the husband. I love him dearly and I wouldn’t trade him for anyone–except Keanu Reeves, Jay Tavare, Nathan Chases His Horse, and maybe even Denzel Washington…or even Morgan Freeman, oh the sound of his voice! Actually, I wouldn’t even trade him for any of them (maybe give him Morgan Freeman’s voice) mostly because I know my husband; I know his limitations; I know what he’s done…where he’s going and so on.

That’s what drives my control freakishness crazy! I see what my husband is doing, how it’s hurting him; I know how to help him. I try to help, but I can’t.

When we first got married, we got into a lot of arguments because I was afraid to tell him the truth, when he hurt me, when he scared me, when I hated him, when I loved him. Finally, I was able to tell him the truth and I tell him the truth often (sometimes tactful, sometimes jokingly, and a few times after he’s pushed me to the limit). At the same time I started feeling comfortable with telling him the truth, he starting feeling uncomfortable with hearing the truth.

Like the other day when he was hurt because I told him that sometimes I felt that I needed to push him to do things in order for him to get it done. I didn’t say it to hurt him. It was more of a confession than anything. To me, it was an acknowledgement that I realized that I was being a nag and I was explaining why I did that. I was not defending my behavior, just explaining. I thought he understood that. He didn’t. Whoops, I did it again. I told him the truth.

Now I’m at a loss. Do I continue to tell him the truth or do I keep it bottled up inside? Which is worse, hurting him a little bit when neither of us is upset or erupting during an argument like I used to? I always thought the former was better than the latter. I know the ultimate thing is to not hurt another person at all, but that could only happen in a perfect world.

My latest technique is to just let my husband be. Even when he’s being annoying, stubborn, selfish, etc, I just sweep it off my shoulders and go about my business. It’s the only coping method that I have that prevents arguments and keeps my depression at bay. The only question: is this really beneficial to my marriage? Is it going to eventually lead to us gradually moving apart because we’re doing our own things?

Is there a secret to this marriage thing? If so, what does it cost to obtain this secret? Am I going to have to climb mountains? Fight off man-eating wild animals? Run with a pack of wolves? Sing the ABC’s backwards?

Sometimes I wonder, is it even worth the effort?

Okay, rant done. Next post will be back to your regularly scheduled doggy anecdotes. Until next time, I’m going to be practicing singing the ABC’s backwards.


Funny Story

Or at least it is funny to me. It also goes to show you that dogs don’t read our minds; not that they would want to.

My husband reheated some IHOP leftovers and took them into the living room. I was in the bathroom struggling to brush my teeth (I have tendinitis in my left wrist which happens to be the hand that I brush my teeth with; I’m right handed BTW) and he came into the bathroom to talk to/torment me. His plate wasn’t with him. I assumed he’d put his plate on the small dinner tables that we keep in the living room for that exact purpose. But…we know what happens when we assume. It makes a…yeah…out of you and I get to laugh about it. What? That’s not how it goes? Well that’s how this goes and I’m sure you know where this story is going.

I dismissed my husband from the bathroom because he was annoying me. Tendinitis+my husband+trying to brush my teeth with tendinitis=a cranky wife. He went back to the living room and started yelling at Haley because she was eating his food. I’m sure he hit her. She ran away chewing. He grabbed her by the scruff of the neck and told her to drop whatever she was eating.

While this was going on, I imagined Haley having jumped up in his chair and got the food off of the little table. I was both puzzled and in awe of my little dog performing such a feat to get food.

I asked him to verify that she had jumped up in the chair. What he told me was against all knowledge that a dog owner [should] have acquired by the time their dog is six months. He had put his plate of IHOP leftovers–biscuits & gravy and an omelet–on the little footstool that is in front of his chair. Translation, he put the food at eye level to my Shih Tzu WITHOUT telling her to leave it!

I tried not to laugh because my husband was clearly, and understandably, upset. He brooded for several minutes, calling the dogs (it was only one offender) stupid and refusing to listen to me telling him that he shouldn’t have put the food that close to the dogs. He said that Haley should know better. I replied that she wouldn’t know that something is wrong if he didn’t tell her. In Haley’s mind, he put the plate of food on the footstool for her. He brooded some more; the dogs got confined; and I couldn’t wait until morning to tell my mom the story.

This has happened to me before on several occasions. Every time I just laughed and shook my head. It was my fault for leaving the food unattended when I knew what the dog(s) was/were capable of. My mother and I have learned that these things happen when you live with dogs.

My husband, though, is new to the whole dog parent thing. He’s briefly had a dog or two in the past, but has always been a cat person, basking in the fact that cats are lower maintenance than dogs (HA! and again I say HA!). He doesn’t know that you shouldn’t leave your plate on a footstool because cats NEVER steal your food and even if they do, cats don’t KNOW any better, but dogs do. Ergo, I should be more understanding. Should be…but not necessarily will be.

I don’t mean to paint my husband in a bad way and I’m not just saying that because I know he’ll read this one day (that rhymed). He really is a good guy, he just needs to get with the dog parenthood program and lighten up when it comes to dogs. He should stop taking things so personally when the dogs do, or don’t do, what he wants. It’s not to spite him; they’re just dogs. Cats on the other hand…but we won’t get into that.

Until next time, if you steal your owners food blame it on the cat; blame everything on the cat. Just make sure you don’t have any cheese dangling from your lips.


Do I Have to Mom?

Yesterday evening, my husband was excited because Haley was listening to him. Her allergies have been acting up lately and sometimes it is more of a pain (to her) to listen to us than to just lay there looking at us like we’re stupid. She’s been on medication for the past three or four days and it has worked wonders for her health and possibly her selective hearing.

But I digress.

 

So my husband was happy (as I’ve said before). After I got home from work last night, my husband and I ate, and then we played Minecraft. Haley wanted out of the playpen and addressed her barks to me. I ignored her. My husband told her to be quiet. I made some remark about what she wanted and my husband told me to not speak because when I speak, Haley completely disregarded whatever he said. Haley barked. My husband told her to be quiet. Haley looked at me, “Mom, do I have to?” I ignored her and told my husband to do the same as that was the best way of getting her to quiet down. Eventually she laid back down and went to sleep.

I don’t know why my husband gets upset when Haley doesn’t listen to him. I know that sounds cruel, but in my (and her) defense she’s known me since she was eight weeks old. As for my husband–the intruder–Haley has only known him for a couple years and she viewed him as an intruder in her house, in her life, and made sure he knew it. Basically, for three years Haley has only had to answer to my mother and me. So she goes from only having to listen to my mother and myself (both of whom she’s known since puppyhood) to having to listen to an intruder. If that were me, I’d probably look toward the authority figure and say, “Do I have to listen to this guy?”

I think the biggest problem between them is my husband just doesn’t get dogs. Yes, another cruel statement. Or perhaps I should say, just doesn’t get the way Mother and I raised Haley (and our other dogs)

All of our dogs are doted on, but they’re raised with certain rules. If the dogs follow the rules, they get more freedom. If they don’t follow the rules, they get less freedom. Older, more well-behaved dogs, get more freedom than puppies who don’t know the rules. Older dogs are allowed to help reinforce the rules; puppies are encouraged to learn and imitate the older dogs.

Dogs are required to sit before getting anything; sitting up pretty is permissible and gets a praise (yes, I do encourage stupid pet tricks). Dogs are allowed to jump on the furniture, but are not allowed to jump on high beds for health reasons (due to their long backs, Shih Tzu can hurt themselves). If we want the dog on the bed, we pick the dog up. Dogs are allowed to “ask” us if we’ll put them on the bed, but that doesn’t guarantee that it will be granted. Dogs are expected to go to bed when told to do so. Begging can result in a reward, but it can also result in being ignored. Lately, the dogs will beg for a short while and if they don’t get any food will go play or sleep.

I don’t believe in the dominance theory, but I can’t say I am fully on the Positive Dog Training bandwagon. I raise my dogs like I was raised (and how wolves actually raise their cubs): parents are authority and thereby reserve the right to reward and punish depending on the circumstances.

All of that being said, my husband doesn’t always follow how the dogs were raised. He refuses to put the dogs on the bed; rather he insists that they jump on the bed themselves because putting them on the bed “spoils” them. It annoys him when they beg, even if they’re sitting/laying quietly at his feet, so he confines them.

Ultimately, our biggest problem is my husband has different expectations and rules when it comes to the dogs and they make no sense to the dogs (mainly Haley) so they look to me to see if I will enforce it.

Then again, it could be something much more basic than that. My husband usually addresses the dogs in a louder tone of voice than me, especially when he’s displeased with them. I only raise my voice if the dogs are really in trouble, or if they’re in danger. With my dogs I try to keep my interactions as upbeat as possible so that the dogs will want to listen to me. Sometimes I even get on the floor and act like a dog, or I dance around the house like a fool. My dogs love it…my husband thinks I’m weird.

Yeah…that was an incredibly long post. I hope it made sense. Do any of you have dogs that only listen to you (or to your significant other?). Let me know what you’ve done to remedy it…or even if you want to remedy it.

Until next time yes, yes you have to do what the intruder…oops your father said.


3 Years Huh?

I didn’t know that I’ve been on word press for 3 years. It seems longer…

HAPPY ANNIVERSARY BLOG!!!!