My Shout: Year of the dog

Charlotte Guedry

I love my dog. I do, but I’ve got to say, the last (almost) year of mine and my husband’s lives has certainly been different.

Our precious, and precocious little Australian Cattle Hound, Rufus, turned one this week, and with it, came the realizations of how much my life has changed.

When Rufus was first adopted by the both of us, we worried about integrating him with our Maine Coon kitty Stella. Well, we needn’t have bothered about that. She’s pretty much shown him who’s boss from day one, and we’ve resigned ourselves to the fact that although friends, they will never completely see eye to eye.

When Rufus came into his new home, we tried the kennelling thing. It didn’t, now how do I say this without sounding like a complete failure, it really didn’t go too well. He cried and whined. The noise was piercing, the cries hurt my heart, and after only (dare I say it) three nights, he was sleeping with mum and dad, and has been ever since.

Potty training didn’t go too well. I worked from home for a while, and he seemed to be reaching a turning point. Praise was given, as well as treats, and things were, for a while at least, looking bright for ol’ Rufus and his toilet time. But then a new job beckoned, and with it, not as much time as there once was to nurture his proper training. Accidents happened (OFTEN), and still do from time to time, but the separation anxiety and fear he felt at being alone once again warmed the heart, and his being admonished was perhaps not as severe as it should be.

Furniture has been eaten. Couch cushions have been shredded into something resembling nothing like a couch cushion. On three separate occasions, I have come home to find myself standing in a living room that looks as though a snow storm has settled there, bringing with it the risk of avalanche at any moment. I’ve stood there with tears streaming down my face, as I swear if I ever get that dog to come out from under the table and stop cowering it’ll be the last thing he ever does.

But then Rufus comes out, and that big, dopey, lopside, sideways tongue lopping out his mouth, grin he gives me, and he worms his way into the heart strings once again, and just hold him as I finish my cry.

Just like a marriage, where we accept and love one another for better or worse, is the life of a dog owner.

So happy birthday, my friend. You are the thorn in my side. You are the bain of my existence. You make me angrier than I ever though possible, but I sure do love you.

There is not one thing I would change about our first year with our little “Buggy Boy.” God willing, there are so many years of fun, and maybe not so much fun, ahead. Whatever he may bring, I’ll love it all, regardless.

I just kind of hope the bathroom thing starts working out a bit better.