This morning, Lady graciously celebrated the two week mark of living with us by taking a massive, pungent dump just to the side of the bed as I slept. All the blame goes to my husband, who thought it would be a good idea to not inform me that she had yet to poop in the A.M., and then let her roam freely in the bedroom while he went off to work. I won't soon forget the smell (compounded by the fact that I had thrown up my innards the night before thanks to eating something awful).
Anyway. Two weeks of living with Lady has taught me a lot of things: about Ace, and about me. Allow me to tell you how...
-- About Ace --
Ace has always been a very aloof dog. He only wags his tail for me and Ben when we've just returned from being away for hours. He's never given anyone a kiss, and he only tolerates being cuddled. Ace will never actively seek out lending us his company; he will always be close, but keep a safe distance from us. For the longest time, I thought I was doing something wrong. My previous experience with dogs told me that all of them enjoyed playing, toys, cuddling, and spending time with their humans. Ace seemed to go against all that. I don't know if he was always like this, or if it's a result of his spending his first four months of life mostly in the company of other dogs (living on a huge farm will do that), but it hurt to know that my dog was not one for humans.
Lady entered the picture and now I realize that Ace is just, well, special. The former loves attention, gives kisses to everyone everywhere, and she's always up for playing with a toy or just wrestling with a human or dog. Lady acts much closer to what I previously thought of as a "dog". It's comforting to know that I'm not some sort of horrible wizard-scientist who has made robots out of her dogs. Ace will always be loved on even if he wants to be anywhere other than in my arms, but it's nice to have a pet who reciprocates what you feel in a very visible manner.
-- About Me --
About myself, I have learned that I have made significant progress in being patient and keeping my cool. One year ago, I was in the midst of a meltdown after welcoming Ace to my home. Granted, I was not yet on medicine for my depression, but I definitely had fewer coping mechanisms at my disposal for the stress he brought. Lady entering my life has been much less tumultuous. Sure, it's aggravating when my husband forgets simple things like taking her to the bathroom in the morning and I have to clean up buckets of poop on the bedroom floor, but I know that had this happened a year ago, I would have been in no state to write about it just hours later. It is tough to live with depression, and even tougher when you forgot what being calm and happy is like. Every little thing that goes wrong feels like a sledgehammer being taken to a marble statue. Now that I have been on medication for close to a year, and have learned about myself along the way, I'm much more supple and I can bounce back so much faster from things going awry.
Lady is my (hopeful) dog-sports competition partner. I have so many dreams I want to accomplish with her (and Ace!) at my side. My dogs have shown me that I can have ambitions again, that I don't just hang on to every day by the seams. A while ago, I gave up thinking about the future. Everything was dismal and bleak, and I just felt a huge sense of "Why bother?". But things have changed since I opened my mind and let these furry critters change my opinions about things. I am so thankful for that.