I had an epiphany today. Actually, I have been working up to it over the past week or so. I have been reflecting on why I worry so much about providing for Lexy. You all know about the time I called Donna because Lexy’s nose was too warm (my first experience of taking a dog’s temperature which I will never forget). I have called her several other times since worrying that we weren’t bonding, that as much as I love and want her, does she love being with me? Or, I don’t have a fenced in yard, is she getting enough exercise, stimulation? Or, I am at work 5 days a week, am I spending enough time with her? The list goes on and on. The last time we took a trip together I think I might have talked about how much Lexy loves children, and how I couldn’t give her that. (That ship has sailed, maybe not physically, but definitely mentally.) Donna looked at me trying not to smile and said “I am going to tell you now that you are the last person I worry about providing for their dog”. She went on to tell me I worried too much, which I of course argued that I didn’t. I lied to both of us.
I have been reflecting lately on why I do worry so much about providing for Lexy. What does that mean? What is at the core of this fear? Parents do not wait to have children until they know they can provide everything that child could possibly need. And do parents worry that they can’t provide a dog for their child as I worry about not being able to provide a child for my dog?
The answer is simple but complex. Is Lexy happy? She goes to doggie day care on the days that I work. There is a dog grooming shop about 100 yards away that butts up to the soon to be finished dog park. They have a good sized fenced yard and are only open M-F from 8:30 to 5 pm, and for a small fee, they allow me to use their fenced yard after 5pm during the week and anytime Saturday and Sunday. (The picture below is Lexy after an hour playing in this yard.) Every evening we come home, I change clothes, and we go play together, and spend some time going over what we are learning in our Sunday training class. We signed up for the package that includes beginner, intermediate, and advanced training classes. Every Sunday after class we walk over to Lowe’s to practice being with people and demonstrating good manners. On the weekends we go to the local park that has a fully fenced softball field and spend a couple of hours just being outside. On a windy day she entertains both of us chasing leaves, some days children come over wanting to play, when neither of those happen, she plays with me (grin).
During these days of reflecting, I remembered something my father said when I was in my teenage years. He and mom had a fight over me, as mom and I had similar personalities, and my dad often had to run interference for me (yes, I was that child). I went outside where he was cleaning the pool, and apologized to him for causing him trouble with mom. I will never forget that day. Dad put his hand on my shoulder and said “Honey, all I want in life is for my kids to be happy”. I realize that I am now the parent, and all I want in life is for my child to be happy.
Today when I picked Lexy up from doggie day care she came bounding out so excited she had the other people in the lobby laughing at us over her exuberance. We hit outside and the world was her oyster, and she forgot we were heading to the car. The lady loading her two dogs in the car next to me smiled and said “she sure is a happy dog, isn’t she?”
This was my epiphany. Lexy is happy. Without a fenced in yard or a large house or me being home more during the day, Lexy is happy. With all my worrying and fears, I have a happy dog. There is no amount of money or success or anything that could give me the pleasure these three sweet words give.
There is only one thing I can think of that would make Lexy happier. Her Disneyland would be a 20’x20’ area with chicken wire fencing about 10’ high, filled with crispy dead leaves, and a high velocity fan that blows them all around her so she can leap and catch them to her heart’s content (and in an area that doesn’t have Homeowner Association rules of course). While this isn’t doable today, this is definitely doable…