In a recent post about Cassie I wrote about how Cassie’s separation anxiety had returned and how her personality had changed as a result. Every time we would come home from leaving her alone she would cling to us, almost trying to climb in our laps (and she is not a lap dog). She wasn’t handling us being away well and I wasn’t handling her reactions when we came home again very well either.
It was a problem that needed handling and yet, well. I did nothing. I could have called the trainer or reread my dog books or posted on the dog forum but instead I made the very conscious choice to do nothing about it.
And by that I meant I did nothing to or for Cassie around the situation. When I left I didn’t say goodbye to her, I just walked out the door. When I came home I didn’t say hello to her, I just came in and went back to work. I didn’t pet her when she was upset. I didn’t talk to her. I just let her work through it on her own. We were a family but sometimes people were going to leave the house and she was going to have to stay home and stand guard. That’s her job. And she was going to have to get over whatever was bugging her or else choose to be miserable for the rest of her life every time she was left alone.
It really hasn’t been that long, a couple of months maybe, and the problem has disappeared. Oh she’d still much rather go with me than be left behind to guard the house but she seems to know when it’s one of those times she’s likely to be allowed to go with me and when she will be left behind. And on those times she knows she has to stay home she just lays down on her mat by the door and watches me leave.
I’ve been doing a lot of nothing too. Not blogging, not commenting on the many blogs I read, not posting about events that other writers are doing that I think are important, not doing Poetry Stretch or Poetry Friday, not interacting on Facebook and Twitter, but I think it’s because I’ve had to work some stuff out on my own. I don’t think I have it all worked out, not by a long shot, but I’m feeling more in control than I have for a while. Well at least about those things I can have any control over. And knowing what things I can’t control is important too.
Tomorrow is the beginning of National Poetry Month. I’ve been pondering what I plan to do to celebrate and how to get involved and I came up with what I think is a pretty good idea in the spill your guts and write with emotional honesty way that is true to me. It’s all part of my process. I’ll reveal more about that project and what is happening all over the kidlitosphere for Poetry Month a little later today.
I think sometimes we try to find the answers to problems too soon or we try to solve someone else’s problems for them when what we really need to do is let them figure things out on their own. It’s hard though, watching those we love suffer through something.
I don’t know what Cassie thinks when we leave now but I do know that coming home is no longer a time of stress for her.
I can’t pinpoint exactly what I’ve done this month that flipped some switches for me and helped me let go of what needed letting go. Maybe it was watching Cassie grow in confidence. Maybe it was the idea that spring is here.
Or maybe it all started with just doing nothing until the urge to do something new came along.