I’ve not always been a cat or dog person. It wasn’t that I hated animals, I just didn’t understand them. I certainly didn’t understand why owners got so attached to their furry friends. So when my family begged for a dog I gave them all the reasons why I would never own one.
- They smell!
- Malt fur everywhere!
- Lick your face, Yuck!
- Chew things to death!
- And you’ll have to clean up poop!
With the argument successfully won, we resumed back to normal family life.
As a child I loved my pets. I loved my many, many short term pets. All ironically named Lucky. Perhaps that’s what put me off the little critters?
In the end, my family won. We were given Bailey a stunning rag-doll kitten that needed a homed. At first, I wasn’t sure what I thought of him. He was cute, loved to attack my ankles and took my husbands undivided attention. Everyone one else, fell head-over heals for the fluff ball.
It wasn’t until he went AWOL, that when I realised I too loved him. I was devastated, sent out lost cat flyers and searched the streets at night. We found him in the neighbours garden with a lady friend, little tramp!
With my new found love of all things on 4 paws I declared to the family it was time for a dog. Not any dog, the right dog. One we could train to love Bailey bear. I did my research, picked the correct breed of dog for our lifestyle and thought, this will be great, wonderful, easy peasy.
Assumptions is the mother of all F**k ups!
For me having a puppy was worse than a newborn baby. I’ve never faced anything so stressful. I know! I sound melodramatic and ridiculous.
Your probably thinking; Try renovations, relationship break down, moving house or worse the death of a loved one… I have! This for me was far worse. I was driven to the brink by the worlds cutest creature. It was undoubtedly the last thing I expected.
In hind site (Oh bloody hind site) I should have used a dog crate or only allowed him access to one room for the first month. I should have given him dog boundaries, I should have realised he was a puppy not a toddler.
But he was defenceless; like a baby. My mothering instinct took over and I couldn’t be cruel to my tiny Dexter. Instead I watched him with hawk eyes, for the tell-tale ground sniffing showing he needed a pee. Two problems with this method, the first he literally peed every 5 minutes for the first 6 weeks. Second; he’s a hound, they constantly sniff!!! My house stank of white vinegar from all the wee patches I had to scrub.
Thankfully he slept a lot… little bugger would root me out, snuggle up on my lap and sleep on me. crafty on his part, as it made me bond with him. Increasing my internal struggle.
I’d stand outside for ages with him, in the middle of winter but as soon as he crossed the threshold into the house, he’d cock his leg and piddle. Little bugger! That wasn’t all, He wouldn’t go on walks! He would shiver by the front door, like monsters lurked outside. When I finally lured him past the front drive he would stand there and refuses to move.
At this point I broke down, crying hysterically to my husband (I’m not usually the weepy type). ‘I can’t keep him, he’s ruining my life… but I love him and someone else might treat him badly.’ My poor hubby replied. ‘He’s just a dog, not a baby.’ Half of me agreed with him while the other part thought. Stupid man, doesn’t he understand?
By the time he was four months old I had come to my senses (Only slightly at that point) and got him a large crate, more like a giant playpen. I would pop him in so I could cook dinner, have a shower, live a normal life… knowing he couldn’t pee on anything, which was usually everywhere; except outside!
Ultimately I persevered and gave us both some serious training. I taught him how to listen to commands and me how to give them. Now he’s my perfect companion. He keeps me company when I’m writing, I no longer feel lonely. It can get that way when your an author. He’s my muse, we walk together and each time he makes me smile and reboots my creativity. The initial stress has now become my stress reliever. He also helped me grieve for my much loved, Beautiful Bailey.
I wonder if I could use this experience as an example to an interview question? ‘Tell us about a time you encountered difficulties and how you overcome them.’
My answer would be: ‘I had a puppy, it was insanely stressful but I learnt with perseverance anything is achievable.’
I apply this method to any task I want to accomplish. As humans we are always evolving, always learning and always have the capabilities to achieve the impossible.
If at first you don’t succeed, try and try again.
Share with me the times you’ve struggled but battled through, conquered and come out stronger. No incident is too big or small, they all develop who we are.