So. I suck at this.
I actually think R has taught me a lot about loving another creature and navigating interpersonal (interspecies, technically, I suppose) boundaries and overall about patience and being gentle and calm when dealing with a creature that’s frustrating you BUT…
I still have a lot to learn.
I actually view R as kinda practice for if I ever have a small human creature enter my life and I have to say in a lot of ways there are similarities (Diarrhea at two am? Health insurance? Constant, crippling worry?) and I’ve definitely improved BUT…
So much still to work on.
My patience is so much better than it was when I first got R. I got him a few months before I went off to graduate school. Back then I was a little shit, frankly. I mean, R was kinda a shit too, so I guess we were well matched. But it only took me twenty minutes of him pulling on his leash on walks before I’d be pulling back rather more forcefully than I would now consider appropriate and I even alpha rolled him a few times when he was being super shitty, which I’ve since apologized for about a billion times. Eventually I learned that when I got frustrated it only wound R up tighter. The more “grrrrr” I got, the more crazy he got. And, not just expressing “grrrr” but any “grrr”, even if it was supposedly well-hidden on the inside. So I learned how to breathe deep and let out my frustrations with a long exhale and chill the f*** out.
I still have limits though. And one of my triggers for regressing to my former sharp temper is when R does something I’m worried might hurt him. So day two of recovery and I spoke sharply to him twice today. Which makes me feel like kinda a sh** again. Day two? That’s how long it takes me to lose my cool? He started to hop backward into the door to the yard today at one point because he really, really wanted to go back out and see the neighbor. And the outer door is a light touch so I was worried he’d fall through it onto the concrete step out back and really hurt himself. Sharp reprimand one. Then he was whapping me repeatedly with the plastic cone and trying to hop under the table to get ahold of his pill pockets a bit early and being under the table with all the chair legs to run into seemed like a minefield so. Sharp reprimand two.
I apologized. But I’m pretty sure dogs don’t actually understand apologies. Better if you can just not do the shitty things in the first place.
Ah, the continual quest for self-improvement.
Otherwise, day two went pretty well. Except that R is epically bored already. He seems to be healing well so far. The wound hasn’t bruised up almost at all and no swelling yet. We’ve been careful about staring our warm compresses today and we’ll keep doing that for the next week. I don’t want to drug R out of his little mind (I like his little mind!) but he wants to do too much too soon and I’m finding it hard to keep him happy without our usual run-around time. I mean, even with the bone tumor, R was still walking an average of a mile or so a day and playing fetch maybe twenty minute in the backyard. (Which was already a huge step down from the 3-mile, hour fetch days we started with in lockdown.) So NOTHING?! He’s going mad already.
This morning we tried to sprint after a rabbit in the backyard. (On leash so he only got six feet.) Then we tried to drag Momma to the fence to say ‘hi’ to the neighbor. Was not allowed. ‘Hi’ involves jumping both front feet to the top of the fence for frantic kissing. Then spent most of the afternoon staring forlornly at Momma sitting on the mattress in the living room and any time she so much as shivered, leaping up, ready to go anywhere, anywhere, anywhere she might want to go!
So. I upped the trazodone a little bit for the afternoon. But I don’t like how it makes him seem not like himself. And kinda anxious, I guess? Like he’s worried what’s up. I feel like he knows he’s not himself. (I’m anthropomorphizing. I hate how I feel on drugs. The very few times I’ve had to have real drugs for surgeries and whatnot I have hated the weird fuzzy I’m-not-me-or-in-control-of-me feeling. I’m attributing something similar to R. Probably making that up. But he’s not happy. For whatever reason.)
So… How do I keep my pup entertained in confinement? I was looking up brain games today but the only one that looked promising was food hidden under tennis balls in a muffin tin and that has the potential downside of R wanting to PLAY with the tennis balls. We’ll try it tomorrow, but a little worried that might backfire.
Also, gotta keep working on my own patience. Still a little bit of a little sh**, I guess. Self-knowledge sucks sometimes.
My new motto for the day?
“We don’t touch the bums. No bums, baby.”
We’re pretty profound.
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