Friday we hauled all 4 of the furry animals (meaning not the snake and turtle) to the vet's. We had 3 separate appointments and we used them to ease the staff into meeting our lovable crew.
Jada, our kitty, was first and in typical Jada fashion, she acted very upset and inconvenienced about the whole thing. After receiving her vaccine she turned her body away from us and positioned herself so she was facing the wall. When we brought her home she ran off and wouldn't grace us with her presence until she determined we were forgiven. Jada was easiest only because she's the lightest of the animals, but her attitude stinks.
Next was Lucy, who couldn't have made us prouder! She sat when offered a treat and took her vaccines and blood draw like a champ. I often describe Lucy as stubborn and unpredictable, but yesterday she was compliant and gentle. We did talk with the veterinarian and vet tech about Lucy's behavior around small children, which makes us nervous, because it looks like she wants to take them down. We were assured that this is normal behavior for a dog. Small children often know no boundaries and to a dog, that is very discomforting. It also seems that all that hugging I love to do with Lucy might not be her favorite thing in the world. WHAT?! The two humans in my family are not big huggers, now this? I'm going to go ahead and order that inflatable doll.
We saved the beasts, I mean best, for last. Percy and Winston were warmly greeted by another pet owner in the waiting room who commented on their dignified names. Oh yeah, my boys are dignified, so dignified that the garbage can had to be removed from the exam room because they couldn't get their faces out of it! Winston got his blood drawn and took his vaccines ok once we removed him from the same room as Percy, but the emphasis is on "ok." Winston, don't you know I tell everyone that you are the good dog?
Here comes the tough part, Percy. We suspected Percy had some vision loss and we were told by his vet in Utah that it was probably so, based on his behavior. This vet expanded on that and talked about Percy's attachment to Winston and his inappropriate behavior around other dogs. Percy does not look away when another dog makes eye contact, instead he stares straight ahead, because he can't help it. It seems Percy was born with the vision problem, but we have exacerbated things by keeping him so close to Winston. I felt like the bad parent, oh the shame...but wait, didn't they see how great Lucy was? Oh yeah, we got Lucy when she was 2 years old, the boys we've had from day 1, so there is nobody else to blame for their issues. We always found the boys' togetherness endearing, but it seems it might also be problematic.
I am not one to take criticism well and to me this was criticism. I take it very personally and can dwell on it for a very, very long time. However, I am trying to be a stronger person (trying, trying, trying) and see that one negative assessment does not mean I suck completely as a person (this is what I generally think). I am also learning that dwelling on the problem doesn't solve the problem, but this is tough when you are obsessive and prone to ruminating. Also, I took this criticism and applied it to my parenting skills of my human child and man, did that cause a downer. So I did what works for me and watched Kramer vs. Kramer, laughing at the scene in which Dustin Hoffman's character says, "I hate you, too" to his child after a spat over ice cream. Later in the film, in the courtroom, battling for custody, Hoffman points out that he's not perfect, but he's been a constant in his son's life. If you are present as a parent, you make mistakes, but if you keep showing up with good intentions, I think that fact overrides the damage you've done. We've got some work cut out for us, but we're present, we show up and that right there is half the battle.