I like an orderly life. I like to make plans and have them occur as expected. Knowing the expectations and understanding “the rules” provides me with a sense of certainty and, by extension, some comfort. It’s a small joy when my coffee, newspaper, or pencil are right where I left them. And, truth be told, more than a little frustrating when they’re not.
And then there’s Dolly.
Dolly joined our household about two weeks ago. Dolly is loud, curious, and mischievous. My coffee never stood a chance. My newspaper is ruined, and I try not to think about what happened to that pencil. If I had to put every interruption into this reflection…
writing (put it down!)
wood (again?) wuud (really?) would (are you kidding me?)
look like this.
With her 60 pounds of instinct and impulsiveness, just keeping my feet under me is a success. In every waking moment Dolly is a vortex of chaos. Her life before joining mine is a mystery. She was abandoned, tagged with an expiration date, rescued, moved, then moved again, and moved one more time to a foster home before being adopted into my household. It’s no small leap to appreciate why she exists in a state of heightened anxiety.
But we don’t speak the same language. I can observe her acting out, being outrageous, and demolishing the norms of my household. I see all of these things and even understand them on an intellectual level. This full-blown explosion of my domestic tranquility feels like more than a “growing edge” for me; it feels more like a full-on challenge to my world. And yet, love is hard. Dolly is a part of my household, a member of my extended family who needs, deserves, and wants love. She may not understand that she is pushing the boundaries and breaking the very things that she needs, but she still has the need for stability and normalcy, and yes, love.
Dolly brings a test of commitment, resiliency, and effort with a near constant questioning of where do I correct and where do I accept? I accept that she does not experience the world in the way that I do. I can see that my world needs a bit more play in it. And, the household will not continue if we all just go about smashing things. So we work. Sometimes it’s a tug on the leash. Sometimes it’s a belly rub. There’s lots of treats offered in training. Occasionally there are loud words. And lots of ear woozies.
My pockets may smell of chicken and dried dog biscuits, my clothes may be covered in snot and spittle, but we are moving this tiny corner of the world forward. May it be so for all of us (well, with maybe a little less spittle).