Thursday, March 6, 2014

Unwanted advice

The dog of the day, sitting in the middle of Lee's map
as he tries to plan a trip.
What do you do with unwanted, unsolicited advice?

I'll admit that it's taken me a while to acclimate to being a dog owner, but our little Shadow-dog is slowly winning me over with his puppy ways. Now that he's house-trained and we're learning, daily, how to fit into each others' lives, life with a dog is fine, mostly. True, I complain now and then about the fact that my daughters don't pull their weight at times when it comes to his care and maintenance, but my complaining phases are slowly phasing themselves out (I hope!) as we become reconciled to our newest family member's permanent status in our lives. At least, that's how it's feeling to me.

But yesterday, I had a conversation with a friend with whom I hadn't spoken in a while, and without my initiating the topic other than a brief mention that I was tired of nagging our girls to take the dog for a walk, my friend informed me that I'm really not a happy dog owner... to the point where it felt like she was belittling me and my misunderstandings about what dog ownership means. She then went on to rant about the fact that my complaints were minor (which, of course, they are, and I never said they aren't -- I have a happy life). "Sell the damn dog," she said, and I was so taken aback that I said I might just do that in an effort to end her endless tirade. (It felt endless!)

But of course I won't sell the dog unless something really drastic happens and we can't keep him for some unforeseen reason. Shadow is much less work than he used to be, he's a presence in the house that I enjoy, and I've never had such a regular walking partner. He's good for our family because he makes us laugh, takes us out for exercise, pulls our attention away from our own little worlds now and then, loves car rides and cuddles, and welcomes each one of us home with more enthusiasm than anyone else ever will. In other words, we may complain about him now and then, but he's alright. He's one of us now. Had my friend asked me if I was enjoying the dog at all, I might have had the opportunity to share these things!

So what do I do with unsolicited and unwanted advice? Well, this time, I let it fall, unheeded. I invite anyone else who is tired of hearing about the dog to simply say so. And I go take Shadow for a walk.

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