In like a lion?

I have to say, March has not been my month. More to the point, this week in March has not been my week.

For starters, the weather has been so bleak and dreary that it's difficult to keep my spirits up - nothing but gloom and gray comes through the windows. Then there's Hero and hot on his stubby little tail the never-ending roller coaster of questions: do we keep him? Can we rehabilitate him? Is he too much stress for one already strained household to manage? Case in point: Hero got into a dumpster at the park and ate a huge chunk of steel wool (probably left over from scrubbing the open-to-the-public grills and thus positively seeping with old food nastiness), which resulted in much dog vomit and a $300 trip to the vet to insure that his insides were not ripped to shreds. Add to that the fact that both Hubs and I sustained some skin-breaking bites and all in all I'd say Hero added far more despair than joy to our lives this week.

We've abandoned the Dog Whisperer (and the vet's) recommended regimen in dealing with a dog with dominance aggression. We've decided to stop challenging him. We'll still enforce our alpha-ness in more run-of-the-mill daily routines, but when it comes to trying to take back stolen objects, we're no longer willing to send in the troops and sacrifice our men. Even though everyone tells us that comforting Hero and soothing him is the worst thing to do in that case, it's also the only thing that seems to work. For whatever reason, Hero can't handle it when the pressure mounts. That could be his dominance aggression and his refusal to be challenged or it could be that he starts the situation and sees no other way to finish it. Regardless, when we're calm, he's calm, and although technically that means he 'wins', right now we're just aiming for a harmonious living situation. At the end of the day we're around him 24/7 and we've studied him inside and out (not because we want to, but because we're forced to). So maybe we actually do know something the 'experts' don't about how best to handle him.

Aside from the Hero drama, I'm not sure what else to report. He's pretty all-consuming, which my friend C swears is my coping mechanism for dealing with the IF. She could be right. Most days I'd just as soon get rid of Hero and wallow in my own issues for a while, but maybe C sees something I don't in my own behavior. Maybe I use Hero to escape. He makes for a pretty crappy diversion, but I'm not above admitting that coping mechanisms - even my own - often make no good sense.

Speaking of IF, my lab results came back and all the hormone tests were 'normal'. I didn't see any actual #s, so I don't know which tests were run and what constitutes 'normal' according to my PCP. The labs will be sent over to the OB, so I'll probably get more answers from her.

So that's where I'm at right now. This weekend I'm going away on a spiritual retreat, which at the moment is the last thing I feel like doing but hopefully it'll be good for me. Either way, April will be a fresh start and hopefully a long-awaited turning point. Please please please let March go out like a lamb. Lambs are happy. And they don't bite. (As far as I know, which isn't actually all that far come to think...)



uncomplicateme said...

Ugh, sorry for your crappy week/month.

I'm quite confident that if someone came and studied our household they would say that Zoe is the leader of our pack. He's the most stubborn animal on the planet and it became too physically exhausting to try to "break" him of this. So when he barks at the squirrels, or jumps on the kitchen counter, or digs in the trashcan, or jumps on the couch in the middle of the night, or takes Jack's treats... we just calmly tell him to stop for the 4,392nd time that day and go on with our lives. Because if we didn't we'd spend every waking moment miserable. He'd be miserable. Life would suck. So he's relatively calm and in command. Not ideal, but it's the least exhausting.

Sorry you're in the IF trenches right now. :( I would ask nicely for the actual numbers if your OB doesn't give them to you. I've been down the "everything is fine" route once before and it obviously wasn't. And when I finally could see my results it turns out that while everything was in the "normal" range, all of the key markers were literally on edge of normal/abnormal.

Lots of luck and hugs. April is next week!

3:40 PM
Parenthood For Me said...

The weather is getting to me too. Have fun at your retreat.
Thanks for stopping by.

3:42 PM
~Jess said...

I'm sorry things aren't going easier. I honestly don't know what to recommend about Hero. It's hard, because you hate to just give up.

I hope your retreat does you some good and give you some time to yourself.

6:59 PM
Fertilized said...

I think Hero is lucky to have you has a Doggie Mom!

But I agree - Can we push March outta here already?

9:08 PM
Laura said...

That really sucks you are having so many problems with your dog. We have alot of problems with ours too and her dominance issues, but she's only 17 pounds, so its alot easier to put her in her place. I can't even imagine if she was as big as Hero! I hope you enjoy your retreat and come back feeling refreshed!

9:09 PM
just jamie said...

I could use a good April too. Cheers to that!

Why are dogs so damn difficult sometimes? Like men? ;)

11:03 PM
Scotty said...

Hero is white, kinda like a lamb :)

2:17 AM
michelle said...

Keep looking for a dog trainer that wil work with you in a way that you are comfortable with.

I have 2 dogs that were both from rescue and came with serious issues. You have to do something about it and you need help, but like a Dr. or therapist, you need someone you mesh with. It is worth it when you find that person and you get results.

and it keeps you busy.

10:24 AM
Vanessa said...

My March has been less than ideal including a broken ankle, lawsuit, and getting my car towed. I'm right there with you, please let this go out like a lamb!!!

12:03 PM
Bina said...

It sucks that you love this dog as much as you do and still you haven't been able to find the answers. I have to admit something, that I have told two people. I had a mixed breed that I got from a shelter. They never told me she was deaf. The whole time I had her (about two months) she chewed up every thing, including Christmas ornaments and her tongue and mouth would bleed. She pooped and threw up ALL THE TIME, and obviously, wouldn't listen. I could not take it any more. I just couldn't, but I didn't want any one else to suffer with this dog, talked to my vet and we put her to sleep.

NO! I'm not saying you should do that, but I'm saying I know how stressful it is to have a dog like this. No matter how much you love them, they just don't get it.

Yea for your lab results!

12:07 PM
Laura said...

This time of year in MN is a crappy time of year, that is true. I'm hoping that the sun starts to shine brightly soon. Good luck with the dog. It's kind of like when you have a child....they say to follow your instincts, and you seem to be doing that well. I hope he settles down soon. Animals can bring such joy. And congrats on the stellar test results!

3:32 PM
shopgirl said...

Hi there - I'm soooo sorry you're having trouble with your pooch -but I have to agree - Hero is the lucky one to have doggie parents like you. Hey, maybe the 'gloomy' weather is getting to him too - maybe when spring FINALLY gets there - he'll turn around. Stay strong - keep working with him.

As for the IF situation - I don't have much advice/etc. to offer except that I'm sorry you're going through it. One of my dear friends went through the same thing - there's not much to say other than I'll be here to listen/read your blogs! Take care of you!

Good luck and have fun on your retreat!!

1:43 PM
Gina said...

A spiritual retreat...that sounds interesting. Hope you come back refreshed and with blog-worthy stories!!

7:00 PM
Michelle said...

I gave you some love on my blog!

12:40 PM
shopgirl said...

Ok - one more comment - I forgot to tell you - I gave you an award!
Come on over to claim it!!

10:51 PM
~Virginia~ said...

here's hoping april brings better tidings than march! :)

4:53 PM
Trish said...

Yes spiritual retreats are a good way to end/begin a season - kind of cleans the slate.

Wishing you some peace in April :)

8:56 AM
Swishy said...

OK, good news: It's officially April! I hope this month is much, much better and brighter.

3:35 AM