Mar 23, 2017

Jaina Chronicles: Slowing Down

The arrival of Jaina has brought all sorts of emotions I wasn't expecting. On one side, there's the positive: having more love for her than I thought possible. On the scary side, there's the abject terror at realizing I'm responsible for another living thing, whereas before I could just coast along by myself.

I almost had a breakdown Tuesday night before open mic. We were resting on the bed and she went into her mouthing mode where she tries to nibble on your hands. Being an unexperienced owner of a pit terrier, I saw this as an extremely negative development. She didn't seem to want to stop until I moved away, and the look in her eyes seemed aggressive to me. I freaked out inside. I saw visions of an aggressive dog that would attack others and not listen to me. It was my insecurities hitting me full force.

I teared up, and had to fight hard to stop them from rolling down my face. I walked away, and she followed as she normally does, thinking I might have some food in my possession. I couldn't look at her directly, if I did I would've cried uncontrollably. The wave wasn't passing. I had a heavy, sick feeling in my chest that I didn't have the skill or talent to do this, to raise a dog. I knew that her failure would only be a reflection of my own.

So I sat down at the keyboard and looked up mouthing. It's common. Natural. And that there are pretty straightforward methods when it comes to training them to always be gentle in this practice. Hell, I was bitten at least a half-dozen times by my Yorkie growing up, and he was extremely well-behaved overall. I calmed myself down quite a bit.

Since then, there have been mostly ups, but one down. She's no longer inhaling her food, and I can hear her chewing it. She's also beginning to understand the "sit" command.

On the down side, Matt came home late last night with another bombshell: his mother OD'd, purposefully. I know this fact doesn't really make sense here, but it's gotta go down. Jaina's at home with him right now (if he's at home), and I hope she is able to provide him some comfort, as she does me on a daily basis.