Even the best relationships go through rough times and require work. Take my relationship with Freddie, my dog.
It wasn’t love at first sight for either of us. I wasn’t sure he would fit into my household, but I was afraid he’d end up in “the pound” if I didn’t take him, so I did.
I know he prefers some of my friends to me, but I accept that because I try to be gracious.
When it comes to relationships of any kind, I’m no game-player. First off, that doesn’t come naturally to me. I don’t really understand it. Second off, I’m usually clueless when someone is playing a game with me, so I don’t know to respond.
I’ve picked up on it, though, when it comes to my dog.
Freddie sometimes expresses anxiety or fear by “expressing” himself on the floor. He’s done it at the vet and at the groomer.
Suddenly, he started expressing himself in my sunroom, too. I couldn’t understand why. He seems happy and healthy. He has the ability to go outside any time he desires, yet he had taken to staying inside to do his deed.
First, I thought it was because the grass had gotten too high in his bathroom. But when the grass was cut, the situation didn’t improve. After I was made aware of an abundance of crickets in the area, I though he might be afraid of them. But once the grass was cut, the cricket situation disappeared, but Freddie continued to “go” in the sunroom.
I’m not one to yell or blow my lid, but when he did it in the living room, it was the last straw.
I did yell at him, and included his name in my exclamations, more to teach him a lesson than to relieve my anger. I looked him right in the eye and shook the plastic bag containing the evidence against him. I shook my head, gave him a few “tsk tsks” and told him I was terribly disappointed.
It being a work day, I took my position behind the keyboard and paid him no mind. No occasional pats on the head or bottom. No sweet talk. No cuddles. I just ignored him, and at bedtime, I unceremoniously went to bed and, when he joined me later, pretended to be asleep and ignored him.
The next day, Freddie was worried about how his behavior affected our relationship. I think it might be the first time a man was ever concerned about the health of his relationship with me. There had been no “accidents” in the house. He was obedient, acting as though pleasing me was the only thing that mattered. Imagine that!
He was extra-loving, too, and when I stubbed my toe and made those agonizing sounds we make when we stub our toe, he took notice: That little mug was full of concern before he abandoned his plan to grab a toy to chew on in favor of checking on me by laying across my chest and looking me carefully in the face with his oversized bug eyes.
His good behavior continues and it feels to me as though our relationship is better than ever.
Too bad people aren’t this easy.
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