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Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Reading my Own Advice

In the interest of fairness here's a rebuttal to my "why can't he see it my way" rant of a few days ago.
When I signed up as a foster home for Collie Rescue I knew that there would be some inconveniences to our lives and I also knew that my husband would not want to do it, if given the choice. I went right ahead and did it anyway, without discussing it. My theory being that I would rather postpone the inevitable arguments, which I had no intention of listening to, so why bother?
There's Diplomacy in action for you; "a la George Bush"
After writing about what an unreasonable bully hubby was being and getting some comments, I wrote that the underlying problem in life is that we expect people to react as we would in a given situation, and then are shocked that they see things differently and are coming from a totally different point of view. Misunderstandings (and sometimes wars) ensue.
Something hubby said as we engaged in our Battle-Royal this weekend, festered in a corner of my mind. Did I really hear him say "You know I don't like dogs"? Maybe deep down I did know that, except I think it is closer to "You should know I'm a little afraid of dogs". Which served up an epiphany regarding several past situations.

I know hubby had a dog as a kid. He has often told of his English Setter which accompanied him around the hills and fields of his childhood. However, the dog lived outdoors and was not allowed in the house. It was a farming community.
When our daughter started campaigning for a dog she was nine. She had seen the French movie "Diva" about an Opera Singer and announced "when I get a dog, it will be a collie and I will name her Diva". It took three years of solid pestering against equally solid resistance from her Dad, who clearly expressed that he did not want a dog. I decided that a dog would be perfect for a twelfth birthday surprise and went ahead finding a puppy who would be available at the right time. Hubby was again not consulted. Then I set him up to have no recourse.
I asked him to meet me at the end of our block, on his way home. I pushed a cute, furry bundle into his arms and told him to drive the rest of the way home. I called our daughter from the car to come outside and see what her Papa had for her.
White picket fence, climbing roses, puppy kisses, daughter in floods of joyful tears. Sucker! No back-tracking possible there. Machiavelli's got nothing on me.
Over the years Diva has made friends with everyone she has met, whether two or four-footed. Hubby is no exception. She is an easy, gentle dog and she adores him. Unfortunately some of Diva's play-date buddies haven't been as well socialized. O.K. I admit that she has hung out with a couple of junk-yard rescuees who were always fine with me but hubby had to phone from outside the garden gate or he would be eaten alive upon entering his own home. I had them stay overnight a few times when their owners were hospitalized etc. I am seeing a bit of a pattern emerging here, that I could have noticed before.
One evening we were invited to some dog-owner friends' dinner party. They asked me to go early to show them my recipe for roast chicken. We all had a glass of wine, set the table and then hubby arrived. Max the dog was a pound-rescue, part German Shepherd and very protective of his space. His owners were always very careful and responsible about him. They held his collar as they answered the door. Next thing I see is my husband lunging into the house. It took a moment to see that he had a dog clamped onto his hand and was being dragged in, going with the flow, trying to avoid losing too big a chunk of flesh. Dinner was a little tense after that. That was one of those moments when it was better that I not translate what he was saying.
So last week, when hubby came home from his travels and forgetfully opened the door between house and garage, I shouldn't have laughed at how perturbed he was by an energetic cascade of unknown canines dancing all around him and barking with excitement.
No one likes to be afraid and few will admit that they are. I pride myself on my powers of observation and my interpersonal skills. I guess I pay more attention to clients and strangers than to family.
On Sunday, I took the time to introduce the dogs to hubby and we had a pleasant afternoon relaxing by the pool with Diva, Boomer and Darcy; although Boomer, at 85 lbs, doesn't leave much room on the chaise. What a couch potato!
The battle is over. Peace has been restored, until the next time that I steam-roller hubby into something.


  1. So glad a peaceful resolution.

  2. The phrase you have drilled into your head at couple counselling is
    "communication, communication, communication". Ring any bells?
    I adore dogs, btw, mine is big and bouncy,and no danger whatsoever, but there are still people who are afraid of him.
    Actually, from what I read between the lines, you and hubby seem to have a thoroughly enjoyable relationship. A ding-dong now and then, well, part of the show, isn't it?

  3. Well, I suppose that is the other side of the coin. I love dogs, but find myself terrified of Rottweilers. Unreasonably so I might add. They just terrify me for reasons I will never understand and I think they know it too!
    But who could resist those Collies? They are beautiful looking dogs and they all look like yu brish them twice a day! They look great!

  4. Something about walking a mile in another's shoes.
    Friko; my guy only communicates when painting. Art therapy, maybe?
    He once blamed me for his lack of inspiration because his life was momentarily too happy. He paints more when tortured. Talk about a loose, loose situation. Damned if I do and damned if I don't. (LOL)

  5. Interesting story about dogs and relationships.
    Bush diplomacy didn't work so well internationally, and I know from experience doesn't work with my husband!
    Glad you worked it out.

  6. I'm already a Boomer fan...what huge couch potato that is!!

  7. Janie, welcome. Yeah, that was my point, in retrospect.
    Trudi, Boomer is such a big baby. He comes over and rubs his head on your leg. He's a love-sponge. When he gets excited he clacks his jaws like a crocodile. He's much clumsier than his sister. I am pretty sure he's going to fall in the pool one day. I watch them carefully in that section of the garden.

  8. I had a feeling hubby would come around...or that you would bring him around.

    Bouncy, energetic dogs can be intimidating, especially when you don't know what their intentions are. I was once greeted a my boarding stable by a HUGE St. Bernard who insisted on taking me by the hand. Fortunately, he just wanted to lead me to the barn, but still....darn scary.

    Glad the collies have such winning personalities.

  9. Great resolution! I like how this shows how our experiences shape us and our relationships. Good stuff.

  10. give me big dogs any day....rather than obnoxious Jack Russells or [heaven forfend] Chihuahuas
    at least you can see where they are...

  11. You must be a real terror to behold at times ! :-D

    Not sure how I'd react if my wife brought a dog home without asking me ! And we've had the conversation many times, because although we have 2 cats already, the girls wanted a dog too... and as much as I love dogs, for a variety of practical reasons we couldn't rationalize to the point of saying yes...

    I wonder what your hubby would be saying if he had a blog ??? Maybe he does, and just hasn't told you ??? Hmmm, maybe I'll try Google searching for a blog name like "Tortured Hubby Seeking Solace in Blogging" ? LOL !?!

  12. BTW, your collie looks gorgeous and extremely huggable...

  13. How wonderful that you foster for Collie Rescue. We adopted our Old English Sheepdog, Abby, from Texas OES Rescue two years ago. I'll never forget the day she arrived via van here in Oregon. Love at first sight. She just had her ninth birthday last month and we love her with all our hearts.