Another day of revisiting this daily writing! LOL! I think it’s been 10 days since the last time I managed to write anything. But in my defence life happened and I got busy again.
I could talk about the steering committee with the big client that happened today. Or perhaps I could talk about the request for proposal from the supermarket that had me design a whole five year digital transformation in the space of five days.
But no, I feel like this evening I should take the time to sit with some feelings. Maybe years from now I’ll come back to this post and be curious as to exactly what I was thinking at this exact moment. For today, was the day, when the saga of pet ownership ended. I took the dog, formerly known as Zoe, back to the breeder.
From a cold, hard logical perspective, I don’t know what any of us were thinking. It seemed to me like no one really wanted a dog. Everybody had just a sort of “what can it hurt” approach.
I was an adamant that it was not going to be “my dog”. I did not want another thing depending upon me. I did not want another thing to love me more than I could love it only for one of us to grow old and die.
But that’s exactly what happened.
I have a low tolerance for a lot of behavioural stuff. I keep my kids on a pretty short lease. I have high standards for those on my teams. And there was no way that I was going to have a poorly behaved or a poorly trained dog.
What I had failed to consider was just how much time and effort goes into training animals. I had always known that positive reinforcement was more effective than negative but I had never fully realized just how futile negativity was with animals. At best they fear you, but more often they’re just confused and end up repeating much of the same behaviour in slightly different ways.
I suppose that wasn’t helped by my own stress and anger. Dependent upon my own tiredness and stress would mean that my own fuse and tolerance would vary greatly and mean that my own actions would wildly fluctuate.
But at least I feel like I tried. I gave it a good shot. I integrated her as best I could into my daily routine. She came with me to the school bus every morning and I’d try to get a walk in before needing to take the little one to daycare. Most mornings she now wouldn’t chew cables but would snooze on the bed beside my desk. When meetings allowed she would get a walk at lunch for 10 minutes. And again she’d get a walk somewhere after dinner, before the bedtime routine, but somewhere around the bath based upon the kids.
The truth is, as lovely as she was, no one liked her. The kids couldn’t play on the floor with her. The kids could barely sit on the sofa or walk in the door without her jumping on them. The little guy wasn’t keen, but I’m pretty convinced the big guy didn’t like her. He’d constantly scare her away and pretend to be a monster. I had watched the little guy wave one of his toys in her face and then throw it in her cage - as a sacrifice for slamming the door behind her.
I don’t think the wife ever got past the inability of the pup to use the toilet outside or ever forgave the lost rugs and carpets.
I mean she’s not wrong. With your own kids in diapers, there’s something about your brain and nose that tune it out fairly quickly. But there’s something just constantly horrific and acrid about cleaning up a dog’s mess. Or worse still watching her eat it and then try and lick you.
And of course given the times of day, I feel like I got most of the poop duties.
She could have had a life with us. But winters in this town are cruel. A lack of a garden meant it was always hard for her to run around like she needed. And maybe we’re just not pet people.
So she was taken back to her breeder with no real fanfare.
The little guy I don’t think even noticed this evening that anything was missing. He was just happy to go back to playing with his cars on the floor.
The big guy says that he’s sad. But he’s saying it with that tone, that he’s saying something because the adults expect him to. When I explained it to him yesterday that she gets lonely during the day, bless him, his solution was that we should get a second dog and then she’d always have a friend. I love the problem solving and his little engineer brain. But there’s more than meets the eye. When he got back from school he immediately said that he missed her today - not that he’s ever missed her at school before.
I myself, I had a slightly twinge of a heart string as I woke her up to put her leash on to go down to the car. But then as soon as we started moving she started howling as only dogs that hate cars can and I instantly resolved myself again.
After a 40 minute drive of howling, I opened the trunk to find that she’d peed and vomited all of her breakfast over the cage. And… I felt nothing. Not even disgust. Just a mental note that I was glad to put a tarp under the cage to avoid a full detail.
I took her inside to a Russian lady, that was kind and showed affection to my former dog and within 30 seconds her tail was up and she was off exploring. She had already mostly forgotten me. A small, polite, idle talk occurred for but a few minutes and with that I was on the road again.
I didn’t think about her again on the drive home.
And when I did get home, I quickly cleaned the cage and hid everything from view for when the kids got back.
Goodbye Zoe, I hardly knew you. I really wish you the best in your new life. You deserve so much better than I could ever give you.