So, as you may have gathered, I haven’t been around on here much recently.
I was a bit burned out with blogging.
Having written a blog post most days over a few years, life became busier than it had been when I started out. It was getting more and more difficult carving out the time and space and energy to blog.
And when I did actually sit down to write, I felt like it had all been said before and I was just going through the motions. I just didn’t know what to say any more.
So I gave myself permission to stop.
Not forever. I fully intended to come back, hence no apologies and no tearful goodbyes.
I just needed to put my limited energies into making, for the time being, that and the other thing that takes up much of my time these days.
You may remember, it was back in August when we got a dog. It was the fulfilment of a long-held dream for lad and I. My parents always had dogs throughout my childhood; gentle, loving creatures that provided entertainment such as ball games, toe-licking and food-stealing; an excuse for a walk; a furry listening ear and a loving companion. Lad was desperate for a dog. And I was quite keen.
So I railroaded my other half, who had never had dogs and wasn’t actually much keen, into welcoming Lupin, our rescue dog.
She moved in, and we all got to know each other. So far, so happy ending.
Except it hasn’t been a happy ending at all.
Our dog is not, by any stretch of the imagination, the happy, placid, loving creature I envisaged sharing our lives with.
Lupin has turned out to be… challenging. Antsy, unsettled, unhappy. Fierce, barky and bitey. Sometimes downright scary.
Lupin is damaged goods. She has, we think, been mistreated at some point before coming to us. She does not like to be left alone, even for a moment. When she is alone she cries – and then she destroys stuff. Shutting her in anywhere results in splintered wood, bent metal, ripped fabric and chewed paper. The sound of fireworks, street noise or other dogs (our new neighbours have two) has her barking like a maniac.
She is distrustful of most men, apart from my other half and men with dogs. She is what is properly termed “reactive”. She barks, lunges at, and sometimes tries to bite men, joggers and some women and dogs when we are out and about with her. She is very strong and this is very scary.
Often, she does not like lad. She jumps up from her bed when he moves and rushes over to snap at him. She lurks sulkily beneath the kitchen table, growling and lunging at him. When we try to get her to come out, she bites.
Lad is very good with her, calm and committed. He feeds and fusses her. We work together on training: recall and sit and wait. All of which are entirely ignored as soon as Lupin leaves the house. She seems to be untrainable. Or rather, she knows all the commands, but chooses to ignore them – and us – utterly, whenever we are in any situation where they would be of any practical use.
Lad does everything asked of him regarding dog ownership, but he will not take her out for walks unaccompanied. For which I do not blame him. I walk her alone, often in tears, mostly avoiding other dog owners with their friendly, happy pets. I feel like an outcast, with a monster at the end of the lead.
None of this was foreseen. When we first got Lupin we would let her run free on the country park, marvelling at her speed and agility as she flew through the long grass, darting and dodging. But now she can’t be allowed this freedom since, oblivious to our calls, she heads for the nearest pedestrian to bark and nip. We do not know why.
Lupin seems truly happy only after a long, long walk, when she settles down to sleep peacefully for a couple of hours, before the cycle of pacing, barking, chewing and snapping begins anew.
So I walk her for hours each day, avoiding people where possible, distracting her with pocketfuls of treats, trying, not always successfully, to keep out of trouble. When we get home I stay with her in the kitchen, unable to go anywhere else, even in the house, without her. It is, of course, easier when my other half is around.
As a result I am fitter, but more time-limited, more tired – and much, much more sad, than I was before we got her.
Before Christmas, I rang the rescue where she came from, for advice. They had none to offer. They could take her back, if we wanted.
I believe that a dog is for life, but I was very close to taking them up on it. At times I actually hate her and would be glad to be rid of her. But it would’ve broken all our hearts.
So we soldier on.
For now. ♥