My Lucy just turned six months old, and I’ve decided we’re tenacious females because we’re both still alive and kickin’. As I write this week’s article and look forward to holiday festivities, I ask Lucy to forgive me for all my unkind thoughts and words.
This week we had a conversation. I said, “Lucy, I promised not to get so upset with you when you pee or poop on the floor. I will try to be more understanding about your puppy capabilities. Even though I am 312 dog years older than you, I will ramp up my patience, but I need you to try harder.”
She sat on the floor, looked up at me, and blinked her little black eyes.
I continued. “Lucy, this is not working for me. I thank you for sleeping all night and sometimes sitting with me, but I seem to be the only one house-trained. I need you, also, to be house-trained. Do you understand?”
She blinked again and wagged her little black tail.
I continued, “Lucy, I love you, I do. I would feel gloomy and lonesome if you weren’t here. But, finding you a younger mom with children is tempting. We’re lucky you’re so darn cute.”
Lucy continued to look up at me with those penetrating Shih Tzu eyes.
“Lucy, help me out here. I need you to do your part. It’s not okay for me to remember to take you outside every twenty minutes and then have you come back into the house to do your job. I need you to learn that ‘potty’ and ‘poop’ are for grass, rocks, and weeds, not for carpet and
hardwood. Do you understand?”
She blinked and cocked her head to the left.
“Lucy, you are a great listener, and you have many other skills: hiding your bones, chewing on table legs, scratching on the woodwork, distributing your toys around the house, running laps through the living room and down the hall, and escaping like a bullet when I don’t hold your leash tight.”
She remained attentive, with her gaze glued to my eyes.
We looked at each other for a few seconds. Lucy had no idea what I had just said, and I knew she would test my forgiveness. But I felt better for being honest and telling her what I needed. Communication, talking, plus listening is the foundation of any successful relationship. I’m a
talker, and Lucy’s a listener—I guess that’s working for us.
To close on a positive note, I softly said, “Lucy, thank you for making me laugh many times a day, teaching me to pay attention, and not barking when I leave you home alone. You’re a good girl!”
She wiggled and wagged her tail.
Despite Lucy’s one shortfall and my many, I feel love in my home this holiday season—what’s a little accident here and there?
Until the next time: Live while you live.
Jennifer Goble, Ph.D., LPC, is the author of “My Clients…My Teachers,” and the blogger and writer of Rural Women Stories: www.ruralwomenstories.com.
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