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Lessons in Backsliding

Lessons in Backsliding

Lessons in Backsliding

Around the holidays, Gavin was struggling on walks again. He needs his routine, but he hates cold weather and dislikes all the new dogs who tend to walk through our park when people are on vacation. And, well, winter means fewer people to greet and pet Gavin and for him to follow while we make our way home.

Because change causes Gavin to eat grass which causes him to be derpy, which causes him to eat more grass, I altered his decompression spot. He didn’t like that at all, which meant he was back to wanting to eat sticks (which have mold on them) or, biting trees (which he’s broken teeth on, and it’s not friendly to mother nature).

After a few days of altering his pre-walk routine, our decompression time, his essential oils, and my plan of action for keeping him happy and relaxed on walks, I was feeling good. We even invented a new game by combining two phrases he knows well, “find treat” and “get your ball.” Gavin thrives on routine and watching him snuffle for his treat and pounce on his ball then proudly trot beside me, repeatedly made chuckle, repeatedly. 

Part of Gavin’s weekly routine is spending his entire Tuesday at my mom’s house while I’m at the kitchen. He loves spending the day with my mom, but it took time for him to adjust to leaving his own house, much earlier than he prefers to be awake.

As I get busier, I’m adding more kitchen days, and they’re far too long to leave Gavin alone so, he spent Thursday with my mom, snuggling, following her around while she did chores, and rolling around on his back, making Tasmanian devil sounds. Unfortunately, my pre and post-off-routine strategy weren’t enough for Gavin to adjust to the new plan, and he spent Friday a derpy mess. 

The poor guy threw up his entire breakfast on our walk, and while I was trying to clean it up, he was yanking every which way to eat more grass, which meant he would be more nauseous. So, I did the only thing that felt right to do for him. I brought him home. We sat together on my bed until he leaned into then fell asleep beside me, sound enough for me to feel comfortable catching up on Quickbooks. 

He was back to his usual silly, ridiculous self the next day, but it made me think about how we treat ourselves during times of stress. How often do we ask ourselves what we need to relax, feel good, and cope better? More often than not, when I’m overwhelmed, I check my email where there’s more for me to do. Or, I look at what needs my attention on social media, more information coming at me. Rarely do I make myself a cup of tea and enjoy it for 15 minutes. Boy, when I’ve been in a position where I can take a break, and I’ve done it, I’ve accomplished more and with ease. 

Life is short, and I think we’d all be much happier if we treat ourselves the way we treat our dogs. So, the next time I’m feeling overloaded, I’ll do my best to remember how I treat my dog when he’s struggling. I don’t pile more on him. I think about what helps him and makes him feel good, and I do everything I can to give him that. I hope you do the same for yourself. 

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