"It's as if a great bird lives inside the stone of our days and since no sculptor can free it, it has to wait for the elements to wear us down, till it is free to fly." Mark Nepo

Monday, April 7, 2008

Toby Turns a Corner

I'm feeling a bit confused tonight.

 Today was the first day back to work after our annual spring break week off. We stayed home this year to be with Toby and to rest and to let life settle around us for a bit. Walt was sick. I worked on my book. Every day Toby got more attention than he's had since we first got him. 

He's sleeping regular and relatively long hours these days. He minds his mouth much better. Leash walks no longer threaten to dislocate my shoulder. He's growing up and turning into the sweet boy I thought we were getting with a Golden and wondered about my judgment  for the first two months we had him. 

He's still no angel by any means, as you can see here. I shot this picture through our dining room window.

The week home with him was fun and lovely. I've taught him to say, "Please!" to get a treat. It's really a bear-like growl that rolls out of his mouth like music. No barking is allowed. The cool thing is that now he does it for everything he wants. That sound makes me laugh every single time I hear it.

So far so good. 

I assumed all of that wonderful grown up dog behavior was because of all the attention and time he was getting. I was really worried about today. Both Walt and I had after-school things so Toby's day home alone was almost ten hours long. I felt guilty all day - or at least during those moments when my twenty-two human darlings weren't consuming my attention and energy.

Driving home tonight I anticipated torn chair cushions, dug-to-China craters in the lawn, huge clots of mud on the windows from his feet. I considered that I might find dead cats, Toby seriously hurt from trying to dig under the fence, or really angry neighbors from having to listen to him bark all day. Even if nothing was wrong, I knew without a doubt I would be met by a maniac mutt with more energy than could be contained without some serious discipline.

What I came home to was a calm dog who was happy to see me. He smiled and wiggled and wagged. He consumed all of his dinner, played tug, and gently mauled my arm. He chased one of the cats without any regard for the fact that I was standing right next to him with a leash ready to walk - the thing he loves more than almost anything else. I was almost relieved at this behavior that usually sends me over the edge because it was so familiar. When we went for our walk he didn't pull on the leash once. In fact it was slack so often I kept checking to see if he was hurt somehow.

I'm feeling a bit confused tonight.

All systems are working fine. He's so calm. And so happy. And so sweet. Why is it so hard to just accept that he's turned a corner and to be deeply grateful for the change? I am grateful. Truly. I'm just afraid that something's wrong. I recognize a life's pattern here. The waiting-for-the-other-shoe-to-drop pattern. I'm tired of it. I think I'll go snuggle with the tremendous gift that is our Toby and try to enjoy what is.


Carrie Wilson Link said...

Sounds like you've struck upon a core belief! I have that one too, forgot to put it on my list! "When things are going well, don't trust them, they won't last, they never do."

Let's both call TFBS to that core belief!

La La said...

I love that DOG! Your stories are great. You find such truths while raising him. Beautiful!

Thanks for your kind comments on my blog! I think I'm back in business!

Suzy said...

Hate to burst the bubble, but my two angels CONSTANTLY suprise me when I get home....

I never wait for the other shoe to drop..it's usually in their mouths being chewed.

Love you, LOVE Toby,


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Eileen said...

Trust it, enjoy it and snuggle with that big, beautiful, smart dog!

menopausaloldbag (MOB) said...

Loved your stories about Toby. They reminded me of my two dogs and when I first got them four years ago. I loved them as pups but they were hard work times 2!

You have a nice easy writing style. Great blog.

M said...

I loved the story but it saddened me a bit that there is something buried that doesn't allow you to just enjoy. It's those wounds that can't heal until they are revealed. Continue to love...and continue to share! You are blessing all of us.

kario said...

Damn that other shoe!

Thank you, Toby, for your gentle, loving, loyal kindness and the way you lead Deb to slowly understand that she deserves a good, safe life. A ruffle behind your ears from me.