I’m not proud of myself today. In fact, I’m actually feeling lower than I have felt in a long time.
What I’m about to write is not in hopes of getting comments to excuse my behavior. Nor is it to make myself feel better. Instead it’s to remember. To document and learn from this moment.
I could sit here and write up the whole background – the flurry of excuses – I was sick for a few days, high anxiety after not feeling baby girl kick for a day or so – exhaustion – the Husband working late every night and not helping around the house at all – cooped up in the house working from home for 13 hours straight – pouring cold rain that Bentley wouldn’t even step out to go to the bathroom in. It really doesn’t matter though. We all have bad days, but that doesn’t give us the excuse to mistreat others.
Around 7pm Bentley went into wacko mode. I’m talking he slept solidly from Wednesday night to Thursday morning then spent all Thursday day quietly laying with me while I worked on the couch. By 7pm he wanted nothing more than to play with me, grabbing toys and trying to entice me. I’ll be honest, I just wasn’t up for it. I kept saying no and nudging him away and he’d try again.
Next he went to more extreme tactics. One of his favorite things to do when he wants attention is to find something of ours in another room and come barreling in where we are with it in his mouth pretending to chew and throw it around. The comical thing is he doesn’t actually chew it – if he wanted to he’d hide with it – instead it’s strictly to get our attention. So a few times he grabbed things and I would get up and take them away and say no. Finally, he tried to grab my computer cord so I grabbed his collar, said no and told him to sit. He quickly sat, I think secretly hoping he’d done enough to engage me to play. I looked him in the eyes and just kept saying no and let go of his collar. Next he over excitedly leaped onto me and bopped his nose into my glasses.
I know it wasn’t malicious. The Husband and him play too often like this where he’ll have one of his toys and hold it above him and entice Bentley to jump on him and rough house but it’s a no-no with me.
I was set off. That pounce on my belly made my blood boil and I reacted. I screamed at him. I grabbed him by the collar and rushed him upstairs and into his crate, slamming the crate door closed.
For someone it sounds like nothing – I didn’t hit him or continuously scream at him. For others, I’m sure it sounds worse than I’m even thinking – I screamed and lost my temper with a dog who trusts me and was just trying to play.
Rather than just let him out, I knew I needed to calm down. I sat on my floor and I immediately began to cry. Out of shame mostly.
For the first time I realized there’s a meanness in me. I was cruel and mean to Bentley and I didn’t need to be. I reacted in a way that I am truly ashamed and embarrassed of, and most of all my heart hurts thinking about how he felt.
I think I cried harder last night than I have in a long, long time.
After about 5 -10 minutes I let him out quietly, and sat on the floor. At first he started to run back downstairs, but he stopped when I didn’t follow, and came over to me and just looked at me. One quick lick away of my tears, and a semi-snuggle against me before he tried to entice me to play again I hope means he hasn’t totally lost trust in me.
The truth is, would it have been that hard to play with him for 10 minutes? Would it have been that hard to grab his leash and take him on a quick walk around the block, rainy night and all?
We all make mistakes. No one can be the perfect parent (be it dog or human) ever. But at the same time, acting and responding in anger is something I truly don’t want to do. The way it makes me feel hours and even a day later hurts enough inside that I know it’s a priority for me to work on.
So today I will say I am not proud of myself and I’m ashamed of how I acted. But I promise myself, and Bentley, and my future daughter, that I will work on my patience and temper.