My husband’s childhood friend passed away a few months ago. Afterwards, his cute nine-year-old female, black and white Border Collie-cross dog was left with no home. Mark and I already have an Olde English Bulldog but knew that if a situation came up like this, we would consider adopting again. So we brought ‘DayDay’ home.
Let’s just say our Bulldog, Quinn, and DayDay didn’t exactly become best friends immediately. Quinn, who is a 70 lb free-spirited (uncontrollable) orangutan went charging head first with love in her eyes, straight at 30 lb sweet DayDay. DayDay did not care for this and growled anytime Quinn came near. For days… for weeks…
I was completely disheartened and kept mentioning to Mark, “I just wish they would love each other and be best friends, right now.” Did I know this was naïve to think? Yes, absolutely. But I wanted it so bad for both of them. (Just as I so badly want to have deeper and easier connections with the kids at times.) I watched and waited for it to get better, but it started getting worse! Quinn was trying so hard to connect with DayDay in her overbearing desperate way.
A month or so later and she began getting frustrated and started imitating DayDay’s growling. Among other out-of- character behaviours, she actually snapped at another dog while on a walk. That was it.
“I’m bringing Quinn to daycare on Friday,” I said.
Doggie daycare is a complete luxury that I can’t justify the expense of, except to say it’s always been so useful for Quinn. She’s a dog that cannot be let off-leash since her recall is nearly non-existent. Seeing your 70 lb stubborn bulldog innocently—but dramatically—barreling down on a terrified little kid, with the intention of playing… well, let’s just say she doesn’t get much time to run free. Doggie daycare let’s her socialize in a contained environment. But it’s a rare treat. ($$)
When I picked her up after her day at “Doggie Disneyland”, she greeted me with her huge goofy refreshing smile. My heart swelled. I asked all of the employees how she acted and they said, “Great! We love having her here!” I told them about what was going on at home and that I was pleasantly surprised she was so good. As I was walking out, I turned back and said, “I had to bring her here to remind her who she is.”
Ka-Boom. It’s funny how you teach yourself lessons.
When I’m with Mark and the kids there are times that I get irritated and short with them. There are times I feel unappreciated and cranky. And just as Quinn snapped at a dog who didn’t deserve it, there are times I snap at my family. In those times, I just need to remember who I am.
Being a step-mom isn’t all I am. I’m a friend, a lover, a woman, a human being with many facets. I can’t always control what is going on with those I live with, but I can control my own behaviour. When I begin to get “Quinn cranky”, I need to remember to get out and do something that reminds me of who I am, so I can come back home with a big goofy refreshing grin.