Today I let the dog out into the side yard. I was only planning to be gone an hour, but it stretched into two. When I came home, the gate was opened, and my dog was...right there. Sitting on the steps. Waiting for me.
Friends will recall our dog saga...the trouble it took just to get Coco to our home, and the absolute shock and let's face it, anger I felt, over opening my home to a dog that poops and pees on the carpet, tears into the garbage, eats dirty diapers and chews up all our favorite possessions, then darts out the door and across the busy street. I knew that dismissing him was not an option. Coco is a rescue dog and this is his third home. No, we were stuck with this dog, for better or for worse. But it seemed like it was always, always worse. We were all feeling resentful. Even when it seemed like he was doing better, he'd relapse, and I'd feel like having a puggle for dinner.
But we persisted. In reading. In asking for help and advice. And somehow, this dog has just acclimated to our family. He's lived with us for four months now, and I love him. He's a sweet, good dog, and we just had to learn each other. We learned to train him to do his business in the side yard, and to chew his toys (mostly.) We learned that if something is on the floor, he thinks it's his to destroy, or get this...TO POOP ON!
This baffled me until I realized dogs like to pee on bushes and grass. Coco wasn't seeing a pile of drawings...he was seeing a bush to pee on! And those scattered toys were practically begging to be pooped on...just like the tall grass! I told the kids and they have been much better about keeping stuff off the floor (It also helps that the dog ruined about 50% of what we own. Another reason to love him...he has really influenced us to concentrate on those that live and breathe instead of, you know, stuff.)
The kids love him too. After they begged me for a dog it bugged me how little attention they gave him, but they are coming around. They aren't scared of him anymore. Linus said when we went out of town he missed the dog as much as his dad. He's given us an extra way to love, to show compassion. He has expanded our hearts and our patience.
And he's increased our physical exercise! We've taken to going on family walks with the dog at night, which we hope to increase to morning and afternoon as well. Since regular exercise not only regulates weight but also stimulates the brain we figure this dog is our ticket to all of us being ultra-gorgeous brainiacs.
I look at Coco, and I feel like he represents all the wrongs we are making right. The house is still a mess, but less so. The baby still fusses, but not as much, and he's sleeping better. We are making more and more positive choices, constantly re-evaluating, putting one step in front of the other. When we are weary, it's genuine. Our life is far from perfect, but lately I feel like I can breathe. The chaos is gently subsiding, and we are rising up to face it and subdue it. All the decisions that I made that I thought were destroying us, maybe they have a good place after all! Maybe chaos has to just be embraced for a while before the positives begin to show themselves!
I saw my doggie, waiting for me so patiently on the steps, and I knew then. Everything will be ok.