It's on: the alpha struggle. Hero has been diagnosed with 'dominance aggression', and hence it's our job to knock him down several pegs to the beta position or die trying. This following a particularly stressful visit to Mookie's where Hero drew blood (mine and Mookie's) on several occasions. Yesterday we had a lengthy vet visit and were told to "crack down" on the little monster. Tough love isn't easy for us (we're softies), but it's for Hero's own good - he's facing the unpleasant end of a euthanizing needle if we can't gain some semblance of control and lessen the liability. Tears have been shed, scars swell angrily on wrists and hands and fingers, and hope has seesawed time and time again. Now we get down to business.
Hubs and I are gentle people, so dominating a dog isn't really in our nature. But in order to save Hero's life we're channeling our inner alphas. Hero's been fitted with a Gentle Lead nose collar
Get it off! Get it off! It's an instrument of The Man! Get it off my head!!!!
that subdues him considerably; he's not allowed on any furniture (this was particularly heartbreaking when he jumped in bed with me this morning to snuggle and I had to refuse him); he gets hand fed only after earning each morsel; when he steals things, he gets forcibly restrained until he drops them. He's visibly depressed. Turns out he doesn't like being bottom dog on the totem pole. Oh well. We don't like his teeth (which I painstakingly brush daily - the irony!) sinking in to our flesh all that much either, so someone's got to be left disappointed at the end of any given day.
Recently I've decided that for one month, I'm going to look at everything that happens to me as part of the universe and/or God's plan. I read about a study that showed that spiritual people are generally happier, and I think this is part of the reason why. It's a "let go and let God" sort of thing - if it's always assumed there's a reason why, it's harder to get too upset when you encounter bumps in the road. So when snow kept me in Missouri a day longer than I'd anticipated, I tried to see what good came from that: maybe it was predetermined so that I could return to Mookie's gym and find my favorite comb that I'd lost in the locker room the day before; maybe it was all arranged to allow Mookie and I one final dinner out together, just the two of us. I was amazed by the sense of calm I felt imagining it was all playing out just as it was intended to.
The tricky thing is trying to fit Hero into my month's experiment. What good comes from the unfortunate twist of fate that brought a hyper-aggressive ball of fur into our lives when we'd been anticipating a baby, not a demon dog? What good comes from all the stress, the ups and downs, the emotional roller coaster of having a dog you can't trust with the simple task of not harming you!? I can see how this situation benefits Hero: I firmly believe less tolerant, less stubborn, or less devoted people would have put him down or worse, passed him on to some unsuspecting family by now. I see how we're important to his life. But I have to believe he's important to ours. He must be teaching us something. He must be here for a reason, or else it's just sh*t luck that we got such a nasty pet when we need a faithful companion more than ever right now.
Whatever the reason, I'm not one to give up easily. I'll fight for Hero with all I've got. We've already thrown endless amounts of money, time, and energy at this problem. What's a little more? Well, time and energy. Hero's burned through his 'bad dog fund' so there's nothing left of that (of course as I say this we're waiting on delivery of an exorbitantly expensive correction collar, so clearly dollars continue to get spent on his behalf).