Sunday, February 24, 2008

Nonstop Blog

I have no idea what I'm going to do for a blog post tonight, but it's Sunday and I want to put something up. I have a couple of prepared posts, but I think the Lord's telling me, "Not tonight." So what am I going to post?

How about I try a little nonstopping on the blog post and see what comes up? I'm tired. It's been a difficult four days. On Thursday my DH left for an annual camping trip that took him hundreds of miles away and out of even phone contact, leaving me home with ... Mr. Hyde. My lycanthropic dog (lycanthrope being the word Pastor used this morning in his message to describe many people; he didn't tell us what it meant though so we would look it up.) It's probably a bad metaphor to compare a dog to a man who's being compared to a wolf... or is Jekyll and Hyde more about the notion of the dramatic change in personality than lycanthropy? Hmm. Was Mr. Hyde really a werewolf, or just sort of like one? I can't recall.

Anyway, Quigley was very wearing. Or maybe it was just me wearing on my self with all my self-condemnation for my failures, my speculations about the distant future and worries about the near future in addition to never really knowning what was going to happen. Would he be sweet and semi cuddly? Or would he bite at my glasses or my ears? Would he prance jauntily at my side as we walked about the yard, or try to grab my leg in his latest behavior aberration, humping. (If I use that word does it make this blog an x-rated blog?) Actually from what I've read, humping at this age is somewhat normal, though perhaps not with the intensity that Quigley does it. On the other hand, he's an intense little animal. (I really believe he's an ADHD doggy)

It can just be playing, it can precipitate from getting too excited, it can be set off by allergies, even. I've seen connections to the playing and excitement. The cure is to take away everything that stimulates him to do it -- his bed, all his soft toys and now... me. Which is kind of cool. When he starts, I rip his bed out of his crate and throw it over the boards that block off the dining room. When he starts on me, I leave immediately. And don't return for some time -- which gives me time to go do some work on the book.

That seems to be working. Slowly, erratically, but... I think... maybe... it is working.

But that's today. On Thursday, it was terrible. And I was at home alone to deal with it. Well, not alone, since I had the Lord and knew that He had chosen all of it for my benefit and His glory. I just couldn't see much what the benefit was, other than forcing me to seek Him every five minutes.

Okay, let's not go there. I did a bunch of failing. It got very hard. Thursday was a disaster. Friday was good until evening when he went bonkers for a bit and we had issues going in and out, issues with the bed, barking issues... Saturday wasn't bad, until evening when my son came for a visit and out came Mr. Hyde. I think now that the solution is just to not go in with him when he's like that (Quigley, not my son) and ignore him until he calms down before giving him any attention at all. That is my current plan.

Because even when you give it all over to the Lord, you still have to do something. You have to feed the dog. You have to take him out to potty. You have to stop him if he's chewing a hole in the fence or digging up the old shingles and eating them... People come over to see him and you have to have some plan in place or you just repeat the terrible scenario you had the last time.

I have learned some things. About Quigley. About myself About what works and what doesn't. About life.

One thing I learned about myself is that when I have a good day, I assume the worst is over and all subsequent days will be good: a steady, upward path of improvement now awaits. Which makes the bad days all the more shocking and demoralizing. Then, on the bad days, I assume that the worst is yet to come and all subsequent days will be bad, a steady downward path into increasingly unpleasant relations with the dog.

Neither viewpoint is right. The fact is, we really don't know what kind of day we are going to have. And young dogs, like old dogs, like people, like life, are unpredictable. Growth is not a steady upward curve. It zigs and zags. You go forward, then regress. You hit plateaus and think things will never change. There are reversals, stutterings, wrong paths...

Hmmm. Sounds an awful lot like writing a novel... Or spiritual growth. The key in all of them is to just hold the line. And keep on plugging.

So we will.