My husband and I have done everything we can to make this transition as smooth as possible. We have the dog crate, fenced in part of our yard, got a doggie play pen, got dog toys and chews, baby gates and more cat furniture in strategic areas so the cats had escape routes when the dog wanted to investigate. We said prayers and left offerings to our house spirits, cat and dog friendly Gods and Goddesses, and set up new altars. We discussed training, pet insurance, doggie chores, traveling with the dog, having a cat’s only room, everything we could think of.
Last week we brought her home, and like expected, our cats went nuts. Then halfway through the week we discovered the puppy has separation anxiety, which increased the burden of training her to use the crate and puppy play pen. So long story short, my husband and I are riding out a storm of animal craziness right now.
I have recognized that this entire situation is a lesson. I have to trust in the preparations that we made for this dog. I have to trust in my knowledge of cats enough to know I did the right things for them to learn to accept their new sister easier, and I have to let time take its course.
In every endeavor you have to recognize that you can only do so much. You cannot control all the variables of a situation. You can only do what you know is the best course of action. Sometimes you might know exactly what to do (like I do with the cats) and sometimes you do what you know at the time (like we are doing with the puppy). And as my knowledge grows, I will change my course of action and take care of the puppy better.
Now just because you didn’t have the knowledge you needed to at the beginning doesn’t mean it’s time to beat yourself up. A great example is realizing that puppies need naps, and sometimes they get overtired like children, and don’t want to take that nap. This meant we’ve had to start implementing ‘down time’ for the puppy. I am not going to beat myself up for not knowing that. I just adjust the puppy’s schedule, and move on. When you know better, you do better.
These are hard lessons to follow all of the time. But they are the types of lessons that can be implemented into all facets of life, especially with spirituality. If you give a purposeful effort, and do everything you know to do, you will get a response. It may be a response of doing something different, and not the outcome you expect, but that is still a response. And after you adjust and continue working toward the goal, things will get better.
I don’t expect my cats will ever become 100% accepting of my dog. But today I watched one of them playfully swat at her because she was being annoying. No hiss, no claws extended, just a “go away you big thing” type of swat. There is progress, but also the sign of more work to do.