It is 6:25am, and I have been awake for about two hours. We've had a couple of nights with middle-of-the-night interruptions and very early mornings, and that will likely be our routine for at least a little while longer. Tilda came home with us Friday and our first weekend with her was, overall, quite relaxed. We are enjoying her tremendously, and also incredibly grateful that she will not have to be left alone at all during these first many weeks with us. We are already putting training and discipline practices into her routine, and it is gratifying to see her figure things out bit by bit. Our go to book is The Art of Raising a Puppy by the Monks of New Skete, and what we like about the book is that their training methods are very gentle and focused on building our relationship with Tilda. This journey is as much about training us as it is her, and the goal of her training is to raise a happy dog, not a dog that does things at our convenience.
I haven't had a dog since I was in the eighth grade, and that experience ended quite miserably. Looking back, I can see all the things that went wrong, and how his discipline problems were created because of a lack of exercise, discipline and structure. This was long before the Dog Whisperer was a household name, and he was also growing up with us in the middle of the break-up of our family. Call it a combination of bad timing, bad upheavals, and no real training ~ no matter how I look at it, I only see the end result. Long story very short: We had to put him down, and he was only a few years old. As I type that and re-read it, I feel ashamed, even though I was only thirteen years old and wasn't even let in on the decision until it was over.
So let's just say I have been equal parts thrilled and terrified at the prospect of getting a dog, and this was a decision my husband and I came to after more than three years of talking about it. We are normally quite decisive as a couple, but we are both keenly aware of the responsibility this entails, and never wanted to take it lightly. Tilda is part of our family now, and that means our routines and habits are changed forever, or at least for the next decade or so. That's the deal.
I have had a couple of moments of panic over these past few days, feeling overwhelmed at the prospect of training this pup, caring for her, and managing the amount of attention she wants from us, which looks to be increasing each day. In those instances, I have pulled my thoughts squarely back into the present, reminding myself that expending any energy fretting in the middle of an opportunity to do something like lie still with my eyes closed ~ such a gift these days ~ is pointless. In that sense, she is already teaching me ~ reminding me to be here in the now, and to let go of anything else. That will all come soon enough. In the meantime, we get to enjoy moments like this: