Here's the background information. Work has been busy. We had to delay our opening due to some issues out of our control with the building. Though some of our clients have been a little upset with us and are eager for the facility to open, I still have a lot of work to do with powerpoints and documents. This is on top of the already more than dozen or so documents I've come up with since November for basic policies and procedures. Anyone doing this type of work knows that it is a time consuming process, and when it is just one person, it can feel overwhelming at times. We have another office person, but her tasks are different than mine.
So suffice to say, I think I have been a little stressed in general which just escalated any nuance of a problem. On Monday, we had our photos taken for the new website. I knew about this for a week, but was dreading it. Part of this was due to my face looking more round and chunkier. It also seemed that every time I looked in the mirror, a new zit popped up which left me with caking more cover up than usual.
The photo shoot itself went okay. The photographer is a client of my boss's whom she is very fond with. This was my first time meeting this guy, and I was not that impressed. I'm giving him the benefit of the doubt that I just need to know him better, but there is some hesitancy as my boss would like to bring him on board with us at the facility.
Afterwards, we let their two Aussies meet Tovah. Now, Tovah does great with dogs once she has met them. Over the last few months, she has become more barky and aroused when meeting other dogs. She doesn't do anything to them, but there is definitely an uncertainty. After several minutes, she settles, and either the dogs play, or they just kind of coexist on fine terms. I've begun working on this issue with her, but it still distresses me like any owner with a dog issue problem.
And it just seemed heightened with these two Aussies and this owner. One of the Aussies was very friendly, came to everyone. She is a certified therapy dog. The other Aussie was stand offish and the guy just kept showing off all his tricks with her. He made a comment that the dogs didn't know what to do with Tovah's barking and were uncomfortable.
I probably should not have but I took it a bit personal. Then, yesterday my boss (I think I've been calling her A.) wants to discuss a new policy we are placing when the doors open with a "no barking" policy. She's said this from the get go, so I knew she wanted to instill this (it's doable but can be difficult too), but again, I took it personal. Logically, I know it wasn't, and A. reiterated that, but I felt upset by it.
It's one of those issues where you have put a lot of worked and invested in a dog and you want them to be the best possible (not saying perfect here). I've tried to ensure that she was incredibly socialized to many different things, so this barking issue feels like a failure to me, like somehow I should have nipped it in the bud right when I saw it. Her barking is in no way horrible, I've seen much worse, it's just my standard in a sense that I would rather her not do this when meeting other dogs, especially if I want her to be able to do other social things in life where dogs are involved.
A. reminded me that if I had gotten Tovah yesterday, I'd see the issue differently, like this was a problem to work on and would have had a training plan in place already. While this is likely true, it feels different when it is a dog you have raised from puppyhood. There is a feeling of how can I not blame myself?
But that's just the thing. No matter how much you may have worked on raising and training a dog, doing everything to a T, it does not guarantee that something will arise to cause a problem. It's just like someone with an eating disorder history who has a child and has tried their darnest to prevent their child from developing an eating disorder. They may do all the right things in not talking about weight, physical appearance, not dieting, giving lots of positive feedback to their child for their achievements, help their child develop a strong sense of self-esteem and confidence and still their child may wind up with an eating disorder. There's a lot of factors there, both in genetics and environment (in this case outside forces). All we can do is our best in prevention and if an ED arises to address it and work through it.
I know this but have a hard time putting it together when it comes to my own dogs. A. told me that I was probably the only person she knew you took something personal so personal, meaning how much I self-criticized myself for it. She, herself, a percfectionist understands this.
Though I left logically knowing all this, I still felt lousy, cried in my car, etc. Parts of me feel really stupid that I'm upset over something like this, but just like I've told many people, including bloggers, I am human and have feelings and need to stop criticizing myself for that. It's always hard to follow your own advice though.
If you have not read Tovah's story, you can do so here and here. At some point, I''ll have links to tags, so it'll be easier to just click that link.