Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Attachment Disorder

I’ve grown attached to my dog. Literally. Even as I type, he is on a leash which is around my wrist. I’m forced to do this because it’s too cold for this dainty Min Pin to be outside for very long and as a result, he’s peeing all over my house. All. Over. My. House.

I am thrilled to say we shall imminently be acquiring a better kennel for him—at present we have only our old cat carrier and while Brubeck isn’t a big dog by any means, the cat carrier is barely large enough for him to turn around in and I feel awful keeping him in there for any significant period of time. But after today, any time he is not attached to either my arm or Dan’s, he will be in his new, improved kennel.

This is the latest in a string of difficulties with which Brubeck is forcing us to deal. We didn’t necessarily rush into dog ownership thinking it would be easy. But I was sort of hoping for a bigger, older more ‘plug and play’ type dog. That’s not what fell into our laps when we were ready to start looking. And as I have reached a point in my life where I really don’t believe in coincidences anymore, I couldn’t bring myself to declare this the wrong dog.

That and, of course, when we adopted him, he didn’t bark, didn’t pee in the house, wasn’t aggressive or protective and gee, golly he sure was cute. Now he’s been with us long enough to know this is his house, Dan and I are the alpha male and female, Perry is the ruler of the Moir Animal Kingdom, Eiledon and Gavin are just dogs in the pack (and highly unpredictable ones at that) and Jack-Jack is an evil demon who has undertaken it as his guiding mission in life to make the dog miserable. Brubeck has adjusted his behavior with all of us accordingly and the results have been quite frustrating, especially in regard to the sound of the doorbell, visits by friends and family, and any completely normal boisterous behavior by the resident eight-year-old.

Is it time to get rid of the dog?

Last night I thought so. It’s not like my kids are easy to begin with. Dan was out. No one was cooperating. I had the dog on a leash and Gavin went psycho so Brubeck started barking at him. That does wonders for the serenity of an emotionally challenged child (and his emotionally challenged mother). So the dog went into his kennel and into the downstairs bathroom so I could deal with the more important issues.

At bed time when things had settled, Eiledon missed the dog. I told her where he was and that I was not able to deal with him at the moment. I promised her that her dad would take care of his needs when he got home. But she cried because she wanted him in her bed. It was a good opportunity for yet another discussion of the realities of pet ownership, that pets aren’t stuffed animals, that if you want the cuddling, you have to do the walking, even in sub-zero temps.

It’s not like Eiledon isn’t helping. She and Dan are taking Brubeck to obedience classes which have been extremely helpful to date. She does walk the dog when asked (or forced) even in sub-zero temps, feeds him, and gives him attention. But that’s another problem, when you have a child with ADHD. She gives him attention when she’s supposed to be doing math.

In the end it was me who probably felt the worst about how the evening played out, even tho’ the dog didn’t have it that bad. But I felt awful that he was all by himself in another room because I didn’t have the wherewithal to deal with him at that moment. The sad truth of the matter is that I am attached to the dog. And not just by this stupid leash. He is a sweet, affectionate creature who’s idiosyncrasies sort of match the rest of ours. I want to make it work for him and our family it it’s at all possible. The requirement of patience is just more than I can do at times.

For the moment, he’s a literal ball and chain, but the good news is that Dan is home tonight so I won’t be quite so outnumbered. And when we get the new kennel, I’ll feel much better about simply removing him from the chaos for a while.

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