Friday, March 16, 2012

What have I done...

Why is that that things that are good for you can be so...brutal?

I forced Amos to go for a walk today.  I think that is a bit ludicrous that not only do I have to force myself to walk, but I have to force my puppy to walk as well.

The moment I reached for the leash, my shadow ran away from me.  He ran around until he half buried himself in the sofa cushions, tucking his front legs beneath him.  I had to pull them out in order to get the harness on Amos.  Even that process took several attempts, as Amos kept tucking each free leg back against his body until I wrestled him into the harness.

I tried to get him to walk to the door. I did.  I called and pleaded and crooned to him.  Then, I pulled and pulled until I afraid in pulling him off the couch he would hurt himself falling to the floor.  So, I picked him up and set him on the floor before trying to get him to walk to the door.  That did not work either...except there is a dust free path across the floor now.

After feeling like a horrible puppy momma, I gave up and carried Amos out to the sidewalk.  However, as I was standing back up after setting him on the ground, Amos scrambled onto my shoulders.  I think, were you there, you would have almost laughed at how difficult it was to get Amos back down.  He dug his nails deeply into my neck and back, trying to find enough purchase to resist my efforts.  Since I am not particularly strong, Amos almost got his wish.

Now, I had bolstered my nerves, calmed my anxiety, with Xanax.  Amos had but me to calm him.  So, he was left with my pitiful encouragement as I basically dragged up up the street.  I also called Bettina last minute and gave her no real choice about accompanying us.

Four blocks.  That was my goal.
We made it.
But I sort of wonder at what cost.

I was okay for the first block.  Then I felt the panic rise.  By the second block, all I wanted was someone to come rescue me.  Amos, well, he still has not stopped shaking.  Once home, I plopped down in the GREEN chair and Amos climbed up with me.  Amos climbed up with me, stuffed himself behind me, and has not stopped shaking ever since.  My poor, poor puppy.

He is only a dog.  An animal.  I cannot reason with him.  I cannot console him. I cannot let him know that I honestly would die protecting him.  I did that.  I made that choice this summer. I never let him go.  When the men trying to help me tried to get me to save myself by letting the pit bull have him, I refused.  And I did not feel half as much as I do about Amos then as I do now.  I couldn't let him go.  I couldn't just let him be butchered to death.

But I also couldn't bear the thought of losing my shadow.  My puppy dog.  Amos, though a mere animal, is a most perfect gift from my Good Shepherd, an amazing creation of my heavenly Father.  I honestly did not know that a puppy could give such comfort, be so perceptive about that which I crave, that which I need.

Amos, though, doesn't know that.  All he knows is that I tortured him tonight. I scared him.  I forced him to do something he didn't want to do.

And it clearly is not over for Amos.  Although I have found comfort being back safely inside, curled up with my puppy dog.  Amos has not.

This was not like shoving medication down Kashi's throat.  This was not like keeping the coat on Amos to keep him from licking at the gaping wound in his side.  This was brutal.

I feel horrible.

I am Yours, Lord.  Save me!


Mary Jack said...

Myrtle, you weren't brutal to Amos. His fear is brutal. And though he can't show you through his fear, I'm confident that he knows you love him and protect him. He's faced the brutality of the world. Every day you teach him that you are not brutal. You are good to Amos. You are very good to Amos, even when it does not feel so.

Myrtle said...

Thank you, Mary, for your gentle words. This remains so hard for me.

Until recently, I had not really thought about how much Amos startles even in the back yard. I was thinking about all the distractions that keep him from taking care of his business when all I want is for us to return inside where I can lie down or get warm or just...hide. However, a piece of trash that blows across the length of the fence, creating the tiniest rattling, sets his legs to trembling. ANY dog barking sends him scurrying back to my side. Children play in the next yard frightens him. He will bark at them, but if you look at his body, ripples of fear race up and down his legs, across his back.

He hates the leash and hates walking. On attempt #3, we ran into another pit bull. He was in a fenced yard, but the fence was an old wooden one and the dog threw his body at the fence repeatedly. As we scurried back home, just one block completed, all I could think about was whether or not the fence would hold.

I do not blame his fear. I understand it. Kashi and I were jumped by stray dogs several times, but never so viciously assaulted. Too many dog owners believe they have the right to ignore leash laws, certain they know what is best for all around them. Even if their dog does not attack, the owners give no thought for the fears of others.

I do care for Amos...and...well, spoil him, I guess, for all he does for me. But I see such confusion and something akin to betrayal in his eyes when I try to get him to walk. He doesn't understand why I am terrorizing him so.

Neither do I.

Telling me this is healthy, this is good for us both...well...that is hard to swallow, hard to grasp, and most decidedly hard to endure.

ftwayne96 said...

If I may make a comment here, the depth of your love for Amos, and the way you say that you would die to protect him from harm, is a picture of the greatness of your Good Shepherd's love for you. Read St. John 11 again.