Love Lesson From The Dog

Last week, Bullygirl had a medical crisis.

Monday morning she had terrible muscle spasms which caused her to scream in agony.  Her regular vet gave her injections of painkillers and Valium, neither of which provided relief.  As Bullygirl writhed in pain, Dr. G and I agreed that it was necessary for her to see a specialist, ASAP.

The closest and most recommended neurologist with an MRI machine was two hours away.  Following a highly stressful car ride, we arrived and were happy to discover large dog beds and water bowls in the waiting room.  The staff audibly marveled at the cuteness of my little girl.  I breathed a short sigh of relief, knowing I had come to the right place.

Bullygirl’s MRI showed a severely herniated disk in her neck, and the staff was dedicated enough to operate immediately (which meant they worked way past their scheduled quitting time).  I camped out in the waiting room until 8pm when they wheeled her out of the OR and I could see her.

It was a rough couple days.  But…

From the upheaval of emotion and outflow of cash came an influx of inner peace and clarity.  I needed this.  I never would have asked for it, but I needed it.  I’d like to extend my humble thanks to The Universe.

It’s been eight days since I brought Bullygirl home and we are still adjusting to our revised lifestyle.  Read:  she hates me a little bit.  It’s no wonder, really- the doctor’s orders are that she must spend 99.9% of her time in her crate for the next several weeks.  She’s not allowed to romp, jump, play tug-of-war (her favorite game!) or use the stairs…ever again.

“It’s tough love,” the vet told me.  “But it’s for the best.  You don’t want her to have a re-rupture.”

I most definitely do not want to invite any further problems for Bullygirl.  In fact, I already blame myself for her predicament:  I never insisted that she walk nicely on her leash and for years, her neck has been stressed from all that pulling/jerking.  All of this has me thinking…

Love Means Discipline.

Obviously, this is something we all know on some level.  But sometimes we forget.  Sometimes we’re too selfish to perform the selfless act of loving another.  Sometimes, it’s easier to follow our momentary emotions, “go with the flow”, or ignore the present situation, than it is to consider the bigger picture and take a more responsible course of action.  At times, we’re all guilty of this.  While the topic is plaguing me, I thought I’d share some of my thoughts…

  • Love/Discipline means teaching a puppy to obey commands for his/her safety and your own sanity.
  • Love/Discipline means encouraging children of divorce to continue positive relationships with both parents.
  • Love/Discipline means maintaining one’s integrity in the relationship.
  • Love/Discipline means building a ramp instead of risking a re-rupture.
  • Love/Discipline means communicating, even when the subject matter is uncomfortable.
  • Love/Discipline means administering the yucky-tasting medication.
  • Love/Discipline means moving at the speed of the slowest person, so all stakeholders can appropriately adjust to changes in the family structure.
  • Love/Discipline means enforcing house rules even though you don’t see your children very often.
  • Love/Discipline means exhibiting respect for others, regardless of your relationship status.
  • Love/Discipline means taking little ones to the doctor (or the vet) for shots, despite their protests.
  • Love/Discipline means prioritizing.

“She’s so cute!” is never a good reason to do (or not do) anything.  I lacked the self-discipline to train Bullygirl for her own good.  I failed her and there was a price to pay for that.  I feel terrible.  Moving forward, I know better.  And I’m grateful for the opportunity to continue loving my four-legged companion.

Love means discipline.  I’ll add this to the list of other life/love lessons I’ve learned from my dogs… perhaps I’ll write about more of them another time.

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  1. Great post, Tara. I once wrote a list entitled “Things I’ve Learned from Sam.” Sam was my chocolate Lab. Your Love/Discipline items make me want to find that list and remind myself of those lessons my sweet dog taught me. He’s been gone for six years and I still miss him.

    I can see that your head is still on straight and I’m mightily impressed by your attitude. Keep it up, child. You’re doing great.

  2. I’m not a dog or any sort of pet lover but I can still appreciate this post. I would add to your list that Love/Discipline means being a parent, not a friend…

  3. Aww, poor pup! That is so sad, but glad she’s on the road to recovery. This is a great list, and I love Mandy’s add – I think that’s an important one!

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