Back in June we almost sold our dog Lucy. She had been driving us mad for over a year with her constant banging on the door during the night and I had grown to really dislike her.
In speaking to her, I called her ‘dog’ or ‘stupid dog’. Some days I would just look at her and say snarl ‘Gumtree’ in a menacing tone… I think she knew she wasn’t my favourite ‘person’. Eventually she played up enough that I was able to win the argument to move her on. However, when the time came to do it I was overcome with a deep sense that it was a wrong decision. It was one of those internal gut responses that I can’t easily articulate, but after making the decision and finding a new owner I woke up several times during the night disturbed and regretting it. If you believe like I do that God speaks into our world, then I would say ‘God was getting my attention.’
So I not only relented on selling her, I made a decision to love her and treat her well – to make sure she felt loved and part of the family. Its meant giving her much more attention than previously, speaking to her kindly and allowing her to be around us much more rather than locked outside.
Immediately after we made the decision to keep her she had a bad night – crashing and banging 3 or 4 times before I eventually had to tie her up. But since then she hasn’t misbehaved at all. She sleeps thru the night and doesn’t disturb us. She doesn’t get panicky and wired. She’s like a different dog.
Danelle tells me its because she now feels loved by the ‘head of the pack’ and as a result she feels secure. Maybe she’s right… maybe its as simple as that. And what’s interesting in all of this is that over the last few months I’ve started to like her again. I’ve looked forward to seeing her when I come home and I have enjoyed having her around.
Is it as simple as knowing you’re loved and feeling secure? Maybe it is…
That said I went out last week to drop the kids to school and left Danelle in bed. It was a cold morning so I left Lucy on her bed in the lounge room. When I came home I noticed the covers on the bed in the spare room had been well and truly ruffled up. I thought Danelle must have been sitting on it or been doing something in the room, but a brief discussion had us both realise that this dog now felt loved enough to make herself at home on the bed…
That’s still a bridge too far for me.