Thursday, August 31, 2006

It's 9 a.m., and I just got the dreaded phone call

I'm sitting in a Panera with a large mug of chai latte and a medium mug of coffee and a half-eaten spinach-artichoke souffle, ready to spend a few hours working while my dogs "interview" at camp.

I dropped them off at 8, hovered in the lobby watching their progress on web cams, then headed down the road to wait and hope.

I didn't really expect the phone to ring.

Evidently, B-dog (the gentle, playful fellow I wasn't worried about) attacked one of the "campers"--twice. Damn camper. Aaargh. So B-dog is out.

The report on P-dog is that she "wasn't thrilled but at least didn't go after anyone."

So I have to pick them up.

So much for my dream of "purchasing" improved socialization.

I'm only 5 minutes away from the place, so I'm going to sit here and at least finish my chai while I process this awful news.

What this means is that socialization is again squarely (and entirely) on my shoulders: back to carefully crafted play dates with precisely timed naps and interventions, back to highly structured training schedules and stickers on the fridge to keep track of the dogs' interactions with other dogs. And, so frustrating, it means I'll have to kennel the dogs while all the workmen are at the house. Days and days of kennelling instead of days and days of socialization.

It's not the end of the world. And it's nice to think (I'm just guessing here) that I can "test" our progress by requesting a re-interview in 6 months or so. I'll ask them about that. If the dogs can't behave in this facility I wouldn't feel comfortable placing them in a less vigilent one.

What makes me want to cry is that I'm feeling overwhelmed. I'm in the middle of a divorce and facing the need to coordinate things that would be much more manageable with a second human. Sadly, before I evicted the second human I still felt overwhelmed and under-assisted. But at least he was a wonderful doggy dad who would have been some help with this socialization mission, even though he would not have made a mission of it, which I think at this point is necessary. But at least we could have walked the dogs at the same time.

Basically, I've got two dogs that very rarely interact with other dogs and have become over-protective of me. I can either live with that or work very hard to fix it. When I adopted each dog I committed to making the best possible life for him/her. To follow through with that I've got to bring them into balance. And I can't help but believe that their imbalances are directly related to mine. I'm so sad. And so, so sorry.

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