Tuesday, January 19, 2010

I am real

It hurts to be ignored. I'm a person. I don't just go away when you pretend I'm not there. The only thing that starts to go away is my trust and my self-worth. I am real. I have thoughts, and hopes, and feelings that don't just vanish with your lack of caring. It hurts to be forgotten and tossed aside as though I'm unimportant and disposable. I hate to assume the worst...that it happened intentionally with hopes that I would vanish until it's more convenient for you...but it's happened that way before, so it's hard not to think it's happening again. If I'm your friend then treat me like one, please.

Don't toss me aside as though I am meaningless because I have fought so hard for so long to convince myself that I have meaning. Don't ignore me as though I don't deserve better because I still fight to tell myself that I do...because I'm not so sure of it myself.

Please just be my friend and stand beside me. Please just be my friend and hold my hand when I'm unsure. Please just be my friend and hold me close when it hurts. Please just be my friend and think about me sometimes, and try not to hurt me. I have real feelings, and I cry real tears, because I'm a real person, and sometimes it hurts.

Thursday, January 7, 2010


For those who don't know, my Australian Shepherd, Gus, is very fearful, particularly of new people.  This makes for exciting times when we go on walks around the Marina, in our neighborhood...or really anywhere with people.  It also makes for quite a bit of barking and obnoxiousness any time we're in public.  It's fantastic, really...or not.  To make things even more interesting, Gus is an extremely handsome dog, if I do say so myself, and people cannot help but want to touch him.  And who can blame them...I mean, look at that face!

His fearful behavior is extremely frustrating for several reasons.  First, he's a dog!  Dogs should like people and want attention, but my dog is not your typical canine.  Secondly, it's embarrassing to have the dog at the end of your leash barking hysterically and pulling every which-way to try and escape the big scary person...but I know he can't help it, he's scared.  Not to mention the amount of extra work it is to manage a dog who is so terribly afraid of something that is everywhere.  It's difficult to tell everyone, "No, please do not touch my dog, he's not comfortable with people."  Then there's my favorite...the "Dogs Love Me" people.  I don't care how many dogs love you, or how great you are with dogs, or if you've never had a dog dislike you...my dog will not love you, like you, nor tolerate you...no matter how "great" you are with him.  Can't you see him backing away with his ears down?  Don't you see him trembling and his eyes darting back and forth, catching mine and pleading, "Can we go away now? Please, Mom, make this big scary thing go away"?  Please just leave my dog alone!

That being said, as frustrating as it is, I will do everything in my power to advocate for my frightened Fluff Butt because I love him.  For me, that means that I need to learn everything I can about fearful dogs and fear-based behaviors.  I have to know about triggers and thresholds, and I need to practice counter-conditioning and desensitization every time we walk out of the house.  The thing is that there is so much out there!  I am incredibly overwhelmed with the amount of information and the number of suggestions for working with fearful dogs.  It's a catch-22, I guess.  It's wonderful to have so much available, but I cannot devote eight hours a day to studying this...I have a career and a little bit of a life on occasion.  Beyond those facts there is also the big one for me...I'm not learning anything new.  I know what I'm reading (thank you, Jana!) because I have devoted quite a bit of time to becoming a knowledgeable advocate for my four-legged companion.  I have books on the topic, I've researched and questioned and practiced, yet I still have a dog that is scared and I feel as though I have done so little to help him.  I know that I've requested a magic wand for several circumstances in my life, but this is one that I really want one for...because it's not just for me.  I would like this wand to help my dog live a happy, fulfilling life...not one filled with fear and anxiety.  *sigh*

Friday, January 1, 2010

Happy New Year

Each new year I try to take a moment or two to reflect upon what has happened in my life, good and bad, and make some decisions for the coming year.  I don't like to use the "R" word...I hate lying to myself so blatantly...but in reality the decisions I make are quite synonymous to any resolutions I might make as well.

I think the best part of the new year is that each holds no more or less promise than the last; each year, much like each month, week, day, hour, minute or moment, is what you make of it.  2010 is a year unlike any other, there is no doubt about that, but I can make what I want out of it.  I want to be successful this year, so I need to make a conscious decision to do that.  I want to be less depressed this year, so, again, I must commit to that for my own gain.  There are many directions this year might turn, so I need to brace myself and hold on for what is sure to be an adventurous ride.

Bring it on, 2010! I think I'm ready for you...and if I'm not, then I'd better get myself prepared because it's coming at me, ready or not.