*In a Nut Shell

Dogs=Penance

My husband’s dream come true is the nightmare that I wake up to and live every single day.

Tobey.*

It has been a slow build up the past few days, but tonight while praying the rosary, it completely consumed me. I’m sorry to admit that I let something like Tobey stand in the way of my growing in holiness, but as my head was bowed and I happened to open my eyes I noticed myself totally covered in dog hair! I pretty much started steaming and could only think about all the trouble Tobey causes for me and how I can’t believe that this animal is living IN my house! The smell, the destruction, the hair, and there I was in the middle of everything that I swore I never wanted in my house. Even now, as I type, I am disgusted that I am covered in his hair-eeeewww! Anyway, I tried refocusing my mind to prayer, which I did successfully for about 2 minutes; long enough to get a “Please send us to San Diego so that creature can go OUTSIDE and never come in again!” into my intentions.

Tobey truly has brought out the worst in me this last week, and now, more than ever, I feel at my wits end with him. He is more of a handful than my three under three. We had a couple come to our house two weeks ago and show us how to “Speak Dog” since dogs can’t speak human. They taught us how to “think like a dog” so that we could get control over situations by making ourselves the “pack leader” because dogs travel in packs and there is only ever ONE leader. However, in our house, we have like a hierarchy. Lowell is top dog, no pun intended, and I’m a close second, and the girls are excellent about pushing him around and keeping him in check. It’s really quite impressive. We’ve noticed a great improvement with Tobey, but he is still a puppy and a pain. So, I have been trying to rise above; to not possess any ill feelings toward him. After all, he IS one of God’s creatures, so I try to *gulp* love him. I was talking to my friend, Clare, about it briefly yesterday and she wanted to know why I don’t just get rid of him. I told her I can’t get rid of him. I can’t get rid of him because Lowell and the girls absolutely adore the 80 pounds of fur that Tobey is. (Especially now that Tobey pulls the girls around in a sled in the snow. I wish I could post some pics for you to see!)

Then, tonight, it’s almost like Lowell could read my thoughts on the whole matter. Like he knew I was distracted in the rosary and have really been struggling this week. I really hate to talk to him about this because there is nothing he can do about it, really, it’s all on me to decide to happily live with it. Before he walked out the door for work, he told me he was sorry we had a dog. Well, not sorry, but sorry that he annoys me beyond all else. He said he wouldn’t be surprised if he came home one day and Tobey was gone. He admitted to his heart brokenness, but he wouldn’t be surprised. I told him that it was his being heart broken that has stopped me thus far from sending him (Tobey) on his way. Then, Lowell told me something that I REALLY wasn’t expecting. He told me that he has noticed a change in me with Tobey and it is the change of stepping up to the challenge of dealing with him. He said he can tell I want to win. He told me he is proud of me and very impressed at how level-headed I am staying about it all. (Little does he know how “level-headed” I’ve been this week – yikes!) I don’t feel like I’ve been on my best behavior in my dealings with Tobey, but Lowell is impressed by something that I’m doing, so it gives me hope that maybe I won’t go to hell because I strongly dislike my dog!

He (Lowell) is right, though, I don’t want to lose. I do not want to be bent out of sorts because of a dog. I don’t want to lose my temper 100 times a day because of a dog. I still don’t want to deal with him, his smell, OR his hair, either. But, I knew what I was getting myself into when I agreed to get a dog back in September. Sooo, I am on a new mission to not spend one second in purgatory because of Tobey, but am going to use him to shave time OFF of purgatory! I’m sure that it’s because of this new mission that Tobey is a whole new level of pain in my side. But, like Lowell said, I am up for the challenge. I don’t think his dream will ever become mine, at least not the dog part of his dream, but maybe things will improve to better than a living nightmare some day. I remain hopeful on that matter!

*for those of you who don’t know, it has been Lowell’s dream for YEARS to have a big dog, who lives in the house, to wrestle with, to pull his kids around on random things, to be a “guardian” for the family, playmate for the kids, etc. He has basically found that in his beloved Tobey, the ugliness and all. (Lowell also only has a thing for the ugly looking pooches for some strange reason :)

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