Posted on May 8, 2009
YOU CAN’T HURRY LOVE
This Sunday will mark three weeks since I brought Jordy home to live with me. In that time, he has grown literal leaps and bounds, coming out of his shell and displaying a unique personality all of his own. For a dog that I expected to have so many behavioral issues, he continues to surprise and amaze me in how well he has seemingly adapted.
Change, however, isn’t always a forward motion I have learned. Sometimes that kind of progress is two steps forward, one step back.
We have our usual morning routine: we get up and go outside so he can pee, he eats, I shower and then we go for a 20-minute walk before I leave for work. Jordy has always done his “business” on our walk, much like clockwork, for the past two weeks.
This morning I got out of the shower to find that he had done his “business” in five different spots on the living room carpet and peed on the leg of the freshly-washed jeans I had laid out to wear today. I was totally disheartened and had one of those “what have I gotten myself into” mommyhood moments of self-doubt as I fought back tears. Who was I kidding? Raising a dog on my own?
When I was in negotiations to adopt a rescue dog, the group’s director cautioned that I’d have a few months of hard work ahead of me. I think perhaps I have been getting comfortable in our life together, forgetting that Jordy is one-half of the equation and maybe he hasn’t caught up to me. Three out of the last four nights this week, I have gone out after work. I had planned to again tonight, but this morning’s events were a huge wake-up call.
While I have adjusted to life with a dog, Jordy hasn’t adjusted to life with mommy in a new apartment in a new city with new toys and new food. His behavior hasn’t otherwise changed, and he’s still the same lovable ball of energy he’s been from day one. What I have realized, however, is that it’s me that needs to take a step back.
Henry David Thoreau said “things do not change, we change.” My life isn’t just about me anymore and I was shown that in a rather obvious way just an hour ago. All my experience with dogs in the past is meaningless in some regards because no two dogs are alike, and Jordy has specific needs that only I can meet.
I think the best thing I can do involves a little bit of self-sacrifice, meaning sacrificing my weekday social life in evenings for the next month or so. I can’t provide a routine that Jordy can get used to without some consistency. Maybe only then can we start to dip our toes and paws into different streams.
Please tell me Jordy and I are not alone in this.