Yesterday was not the best day I ever had with Tasha. When you are working hard to rehabilitate a reactive dog, the path to success is never, I repeat, never smooth. After months of steady progress toward non-reactivity, Tasha lost her cool yesterday when a very calm dog walked past the side of our house when we were outside enjoying the beautiful 70 degree weather (it’s October in Wisconsin so we have to celebrate the warmth). I mean, Tasha was barking incessantly, growling, clawing to get her way under the fence, and all in all not listening. She “saw red.” Nothing else on earth existed except getting to the dog and the obstacles in her way to do it. I was terrified that she might actually make it there.
So, after calming her down and letting her run around the yard for a little bit, I decided that I needed out of the house. While grocery shopping, I had a not-so-nice encounter with an employee at the local Piggly Wiggly and when I got back to the car, I melted down. All I could think was, “I am not strong enough to do this. We have to give her back to the rescue.” I have never truly given up on Tasha, because I know how amazing of a dog she can really be and how much she has to overcome. But, in that moment, with the tears streaming down my face, sitting in the car in at the local Pig, I nearly gave up on my abilities to help her.
Luckily for me, that’s when LD realized he needed to step up. In the past few months, he had stopped walking her, training her, and disciplining her in an effective manner. She became his little cuddlemiester, and as adorable as that is, I resented him for it. Here I was doing all of the hard work that comes with a dog who has problems, and he would come home and take a lot of the good things that come with dog ownership. I just didn’t realize how much I resented him for it, until I was sitting in that parking lot with the tears streaming down my face. It isn’t that I didn’t mention these feelings prior to the meltdown. I think they just didn’t they registered with LD. In marriage, oddly enough, communication gets worse.
However, LD has realized how much I need his help with Tasha. He even woke up early this morning to walk her before I even woke up. If that’s not love (for both the pup and me), I don’t know what is.