Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Mr. Furious

Not long ago, it was considered perfectly reasonable to beat animals in this country.  And in most of the world, it still is.  When I got Mac the English Sheepdog (a.k.a. "Rocket Scientist"), my first dog aside from the one we had to leave in Moscow because he was too psycho, my uncle gave me a book about dog training that included tips like running leads from a car battery to a piece of raw meat and leaving it lying in the yard to teach the dog not to eat found objects off of the ground.  I never tried that, but I did use the very coercive (and effective) training methods from the book, which included meting out corporal punishment when Mac was bad.

When I got my next dog, Greta the Rottweiler (a.k.a Best Dog in the World), the conventional wisdom about dog training had changed.  I took her to obedience classes, and I read a series of books by the Monks of New Skete, who advocated a training method based on  pack dynamics.  There was no hitting involved, or even much coercion, but the answer for almost any challenge to the human's status in the pack was the "alpha roll," wherein you roll the dog on its back forcefully and hold it there until it realizes who is boss.  They also advocated a "chuck" under the chin to get a rowdy dog's attention.  Greta was an alpha bitch, who humped other dogs and lifted her leg to pee, so I had to roll her a few times when she got too big for her britches, and even chucked her chin once or twice.  She always got the message quickly though, and we went right back to being best buddies. 

The current preferred training methods are based on rewarding the dog with love and treats.  And that's what I have done with Stella.  This may be just as effective as the more heavy-handed approaches.  It may even be more effective, as the gurus claim.  But let me tell you, it's extremely difficult to use the light, happy, voice that you did in puppy kindergarten when your 120-lb. neurotic dog is seriously pissing you off.

I've had all kinds of problems with Stella, none of which are really her fault.  I mean, how can a dog, or anyone else, be blamed for her personality? I blame myself for getting a super-fancy boutique dog and for taking the first one that I was able to get my hands on.  I'm afraid that in many ways we're just not suited for each other, even though the breeder had an "expert" do temperament profiling on all the pups, and I had to fill out a ten-page questionnaire, which supposedly revealed that we were a perfect match.  So I guess I blame the breeder too.  I've said it before: Stella's great when she's outside pulling a cart or just running loose; but in the house the best thing we can do is keep our distance from one another.   

You have probably guessed that there's been another Stella incident.  Or an incident set in motion by Stella that turned into an angry Dad incident.  This time, thankfully, the kids were not around.

By the time I went out to take Stella for her nightly one-hour walk last night, I was already a tiny bit grumpy because I hadn't gotten many items checked off my to-do list and it looked like I would be up late.  And there were the usual half-dozen or so cosmic injustices gnawing at me as well.

Stella and I were walking through the park, as we do almost every night.  I always let Stella run off-lead at night.  Oh yeah.  There's another thing she's good at--not running away.  Don't say I never said anything nice about her.

So we're doing our usual loop, and she's stopping to nibble rabbit turds, as she sometimes does, and I figure that's kind of gross, but mostly harmless.  She lingers at a little stand of hardwoods and I wait, engrossed in a podcast of All Things Considered.

Something--probably the passage of a certain amount of time--tells me that she is up to no good there in the darkness.  I call her, and she eventually ambles over to me.  Sheepishly.

I see some debris hanging from her mouth, and suspect the worst.

I grab her under the jaw and smell her breath.

Yep.  Hobo shit*.

Stella cringed, sensing the gasket that was about to blow.  Not only was it disgusting at the moment: I could also look forward to being waken up at four in the morning when she had to go outside to vomit.  In fact, being waken up for the vomiting would be the best case scenario.  Waking up afterwards...well, you can imagine.

I cussed.  I yelled.

I kicked my dog.

That's right.  I kicked her.

Okay, if it were some kind of martial arts contest, I probably would not have scored any points for it.  It was more of a foot-nudge, really, thrown from a very awkward squatting position.  But it made her yelp.

Go ahead--report me to PETA.  I'll foot-nudge them right in the ass when they come to my door.

But seriously, I was beside myself with ineffectual rage.  I am fully aware that beating or yelling at a dog for something it did more than two seconds prior does nothing but confuse and scare the poor beast; especially one as sensitive to confusion as Stella.  But my reaction had nothing to do with logic.  I needed to release the furies lest they consume me from within.

The Monks of New Skete suggest that when a dog steps out of line, the owner might, after dealing with the immediate damage, hold a little training session, both to reinforce positive behaviors, and, of course, to remind the animal about the hierarchy in the home.

So I figured Stella and I would work on some "heeling" to get ourselves re-focused.  But Stella would have none of it.  She was so freaked out from my outburst that all she could do was cower and cringe.  Which just made me angrier.  For some reason, her all-encompassing fear offends me more than any of her other shortcomings.   I dragged her by the collar.  I shook her.  I cussed some more.  And even I was not surprised that this didn't help matters.

Finally I had to let her back off the leash and, once I had cooled off, use the cloying puppy-kindergarten voice to convince her to follow me home.

Now Stella is sleeping across the room from me.  There is no sign of hoboshitvomit.  I've cooled down enough that her presence does not offend me; but a nuzzling moratorium is in effect until further notice.

Although Stella and I will probably be all right--she's just a few feet away from me, and I'm not seething at all--this is the kind of incident that makes me worry a little about my kids.  There have been times when I have felt similarly frustrated with them, usually when they were screaming and wailing incessantly, apparently for no other reason than to torture me.  And there have been times that I have, in "comforting" them, jiggled a little more vigorously than I probably needed to, or squeezed their arms harder than was strictly necessary to get them to STAY AWAY FROM THAT DANGEROUS THING.

I don't think I'll ever kick (or foot-nudge) my children, or alpha roll them, or cuss them up one side and down the other as I did with Stella last night, but I can imagine making them flinch every once in a while.  And that's not the kind of parent I want to be.

I guess there are websites dedicated to demonstrating how likely men are, statistically, to physically abuse their families.  I've never visited one, but I've seen daddy bloggers rail against these "sexist" sites.  But I don't know. I suspect we are more given to anger and violence than women, for whatever reasons.  And that's why we need to be as vigilant about these impulses in ourselves as any gratuitous man-basher is.     



*I won't go into details about how I was able to identify the scat so readily: suffice it to say it was not the first time a dog of mine has gotten into that particular delicacy.


  1. without bashing you for kicking your dog, because it seems like you're beating yourself up enough for that, I will say this: my mom, not my dad, beat the shit out of me as a kid. my dad has a temper, to be sure. and PTSD from Vietnam. but he'll kick doors, couches, go outside and curse into the night. he never once hit me. I guess my point is that temper is temper and screw gender. if you don't want to hit or kick, channel it elsewhere. but being a man has nothing to do with it.

  2. *sigh*

    My husband always takes it personally when our kids yell and scream for no reason, too.

  3. Stella reminds me of my dog, Ash (RIP). I swear that animal brought out the worst in me sometimes. But then he did the sad puppy-dog face & I'd relent... until he peed on the rug again.

    As for the kids, it's like you said be vigilant: take a few deep breaths & count to ten when needed. Remember, they'll be teenagers someday. That's when you'll really have to keep your wits about you.

  4. When I find myself thinking about my potential parenting pitfalls (sorry about the alliteration), I end up calling my own mom. She usually says basically the same thing, but it always makes me feel better. So, I will say the same to you:
    The fact that you are aware of and thinking about it is a good thing, and probably means that you will be aware of it in the moment, if the time ever comes. Definitely a good sign, I say.

    Besides, my kid loves it when I kick her around the living's one of our favorite games. (No, seriously. She rolls up like a ball, and I kick her around the room. She calls it playing "soccer.")

  5. I can totally relate with yo on this. As the (usually) proud owner of a 1 year old Blue Nose (which, as I'm sure you know, is like the Dog version of a teenager) My patience and restraint with physical force is tested daily. Bonnie is a great dog. She always wants to please, but she's in a test-my-boundaries-all-the-fucking-time phase. She always needs a "nudge" or a firm (or shouting) voice to get her to stay in line. Usually it's a refusal to come when called which I have to say makes me a little jealous of Stella.

    But I think dogs give us some great rehearsal Especially kids. Since working with Bonnie I've found myself more self aware about my inner rage and I'm somehow able to calm it down better when I'm more aware.

    The fact is that this scenario obviously unnerved you a bit and I think that's the point. Men are prone to violence. Exhibit A: All of Human history. But we can't just ignore that proclivity or it wells up, we have to recognized and then learn to release it in different ways.

    Like punching hobos with a role of nickles or writing haiku.

  6. I totally understand your thoughts on worrying about your kids. I have been similarly frustrated with my two perfect angels. It's really hard not to just beat the living crap right out of them when they decide to do something that they have been repeatedly told not to. I have learned that by stepping back just one little step helps me. If I'm moving away from the situation, even just a little bit, I'm less apt to get more upset. It works for me, maybe it will help you, or anyone else out there.

  7. On the dog front, their dogs. You have to be a little physical with them sometimes. The Dog whisperer will tell you so. I have a 65 lb boxer who once pissed me off so badly a foot-shoved her down a half flight of stairs.

    2nd, i agree completely about vigilance in regards to violent impulses. We're so much stronger than our children and in the vast majority of cases, our wives. What might come across as an "oopsie, I lost my temper a little" to us could easily be read as a scary and painful by them.

  8. God, I know the feeling. Sometimes I want to boot dogs and toddlers, but somehow our conscious comes through, and we are good parents!

  9. Dude, next time just put her outside... or in the garage, i.e. if she's a wuss of the outdoors. Don't waste your energy on kicking her after all u may end up taking her to the vet for some sort of rib kick..
    1 hr. to walk her so that she can take a poop/pee? dang, one block should do it..or was this her exercise time? Take some advice and if the walking for exercise is past your priorities, her walk can wait another day.

  10. Oh I don't know about the sexist remark. Pretty sure both sexes can be pretty violent when it comes right down to it. Men just tend to be stronger with the whacks upside the head. I got my lickins from mom and grandma, dad and grandpa were always waiting after with a hug and lillipop! But any parent is going to feel the frustration of trying to explain that the stove is hot and it will hurt to a child who has never experienced it (nope don't think I really want her to at this age either! When she's 13 and an idiot then she can suffer!). and the fear makes us overreact! I think all parents have been're not alone beta dad!

  11. Hmm. That explains why my husband rolled me over on my back and forced me to stay like that back when I developed odd peeing habits.

    But seriously, I'm not so sure that men are more prone to violence or anger than women (obviously you haven't met my mother) I think women simply express their anger differently than the average man. And just the fact that you're aware of your level of rage with the pooch is probably already reducing the risks of being physically violent with your kids.

    Good post!

  12. The fact that you worry about going too far is the best assurance that you won't.

    I will tell you this, whether it be my dog or my kid, if they go outside and eat hobo sh!t, they can expect a little foot nudge or a high volume rant will be coming their way.

  13. I once smacked our dog Clyde in the PENIS (I was honestly aiming for his flank) when he emerged form his dog crate covered in diarrhea and chose that moment to run wildly away and straight into our bedroom. Effing dog. There was also the time that Bonnie went to take a nip out of our oldest when she was one. The dog found the backyard without benefit of her feet. Shit happens; we are all living together in great harmony today.

    As for kids, it's not just a dad impulse. It's the impulse of rational people when confronted with irrational kids. Deal with enough irrational behavior and it will rub you raw. It will cause you to say and do things with your kids you will deeply regret. I think the only option is to own the scary daddy/mommy moments and fight to avoid them. Try not to break laws. You're normal.

    Hoboshitvomit is now my new curse word for the indescribably gross.

  14. As a dad who has yelled, grabbed an arm too tightly when disiplining, or picked up a kid with more force than what was needed, i appreciate this post. not in an 'it's ok to do b/c beta dad does it,' but just in a 'let's get this uncomfortable stuff out there and address it' way.

    much, much appreciation.

  15. We all have come to that line where, if crossed we will totally lose it. But You chose not to cross it. Just the fact that you are worried about this makes you a good parent. I to, have had these moments. It makes you over analyse the situation, and doubt yourself. But its a normal reaction to have.
    Did I make sense?

  16. You know, it's weird -- before this I never would've pegged you a POWDER KEG OF MANIACAL RAGE.

    I know what it's like to make your kid cringe, though. I've never laid a hand on her, of course, but I've had occasion to yell every once in a great while. Sometimes... loudly. It freaks her out. Seeing her show such fear of me is deeply unsettling.

    Luckily, kids -- and dogs -- tend to bounce back quickly.

  17. I think any parent has been to the edge and looked deep into the darkness... It is those moments when it is really important to have someone else (be it your partner, a friend, family member, stranger noticing something odd) that can be the voice of reason.

    Fortunately for my wife and I, if one of us is going off the deep end, it seems to automatically prompt the other into a state of clam. It is pretty cool how that works.

  18. Wow, I'm constantly reminded how lucky I am with my dog. Granted, I don't have a huge temper, but I've yelled at her once that I can remember and have never been tempted to hit her. That said, there isn't even a remote chance I could roll her onto her back. She's well behaved but extremely strong willed.

    Oh, and I'm not judging you in the slightest. I see dogs every day where I think, There's no way in the world I could put up with that thing for even 10 minutes. I just got lucky.

  19. I would like to speak as the closest thing to a kid these comments have so far. (Okay, so I'm not officially a kid anymore, having passed the age of legality, but I'm still in the phase where doing stupid stuff is considered normal, and people still think about calling my parents. Yup: early 20's.)

    Sometimes, it's not so bad having your parent yell at you. You know you've done something that's not okay, and you know precisely what that something is. I've experienced the "silent treatment" more than once, and believe me, it's far, far worse trying to guess than having it spelled out for you.

    And I know it's not a stress alleviator, but the single most effective way to get a kid to never, NEVER do [fill-in-the-blank] again is to deliver the "I'm disappointed in you" speech. Shit, I still feel bad about the last one I had, and it wasn't last week, either.

    In the end, if your kids know you love them, that's what they'll take with them through (and all the way through) their teenaged years.

  20. You've got a great dog! She's trying to teach you patience & prepare you for the girl's teen years. Learn from her, but don't unquestionably trust her any further than you can throw er nudge her (the voice of experience talking here).

    Great post! Lots of good advice in comments. Find what works for you. It's positive that you care to wonder. A parent that didn't wouldn't give it all a second thought.

  21. 2 things.

    1. I foot nudged the SHIT out of a duck once. Cause it just stood there, daring me to do something. It straight up GRILLED me, dude. DISRESPECTED me.

    2. One time, my dogs ate my car. A cat was up in the motor and they tag teamed the hood, both fenders and the grill. My german shepard/akita mix actually managed to rip the bumper from the piece that held it to the car. He also put a nice pair of canine dents in one of the fenders.

    And the cat lived. I think if there would've been a cat, I wouldn't have been so upset.

    When I came out to see their theater of warfare, they knew it wasn't going to be good. They immediately cowered and I spanked them pretty good. My dogs are trained to come and go when I say and to be cool on their leashes. That's really it. I never thought I'd have to train them to not eat the sports car. I wish I could say the ass whupping made a difference. But it didn't. Just the other day, they ate some of the electrical wiring in the engine compartment of my dad's truck. I don't know if there was a cat down there or if a homeless person promised them food for copper.

    I think about the um... effervescent rage that can overtake me sometimes. But I don't think I'd ever go nuts on my kid unless he was way older (and started it by physically attempting to um "start some shit"). My son has peed in my face, spit up on my eye, drooled in my hair, knocked my Jesus phone to the ground. I mean, he'd have to set the house on fire, you know?

    I wouldn't worry about it. Your shit eating dog needed to be straightened out. And when your kids try to lick the electrical outlet they need to know it's not cool. As long as you're not doing WWE moves on them (SUPAFLY SNUKA!) you should be ok.

  22. Just need to add that I'll fork-give you if you fork-get.

  23. Christ, that's gross, even for a dog. Hopefully your girls have enough sense not to eat hobo shit.

    The good news, even if you do lose your temper once in awhile, your girls will still, in all likelihood, grow into fine young women. I was spanked as a toddler and you know what? I was the best-behaved teenager ever!


  24. I've had dogs most of my life.Luckily I can bring them to work with me.(It's my business)So I'm lucky that Sisko is always with people,so he's pretty chilled out.

    Something I forgot to add to your previous blog,have you tried Deaf karaoke?

  25. @Andygirl et al. regarding the gender and violence question: I used to be a total social constructivist and believe that gender differences were something we learned to perform. But, now I think it's pretty clear that there's more to it than that. In any case, it's true that women can be angry and violent too. I suspect that men are at least a little bit more prone to be violent, but I also think there's truth to the idea that when men get violent, there's more damage involved. It's kind of like what I have always said about Rottweilers and Pit Bulls--they probably don't bite more than other breeds, it's just that the repercussions are more serious. So men, like Pit Bulls, get a rap that's at least a little worse than they deserve.

    @Sarah P.--I know. It doesn't make any sense at all, but that's how I feel sometimes. I'm getting better about it though.

    @Vinny C--Sometimes when my nerves are frayed, I think about the teenage years and shudder.

    @PseudoWifey--Thanks for the advice. I've noticed that even when I feel like I'm losing it, I'm still conscious of everything I'm doing and thinking. So there's no excuse for losing control.

    @Peter--I like your perspective on dogs as practice for kids. Also, you should open a spa where you teach people relaxation techniques.

    @Denny--That sounds like a good technique. I'd try it if they would only let go of my leg hair so I could step back.

    @H-Man--Thanks. You know, I never get really angry at anything or anyone who exercises reason. Therefore I've never even gotten close to flying off the handle with my wife. Just dogs, broken cars, high school students, and other inanimate objects.

    @KBF--Usually the hour long walk is a nice bit of exercise for both of us, and something I appreciate even if I don't look forward to it after chasing kids around all day.

    @Amusing Crystal--Thanks for the words of support! See my response to Andygirl re: gender and violence.

    @Miss Nikki--Haha...I get alpha rolled a lot too. Thanks!

    @Nari--Yeah, eating hobo shit is pretty much inexcusable.

    @Nicole--There was a boxer in a neighborhood where I was working, and they had put one shock collar around his neck and one positioned so the transmitter rested on his junk. But he still busted through the invisible fence every day. I didn't think of hoboshitvomit as an interjection, but it *does* have a nice ring to it, if I do say so myself.

    @p to the b--Thanks, dude. I was hesitant to write about this stuff precisely because of the awkwardness and guilt, so I'm glad you appreciated it.

    @Alittlesprite--That made total sense. Thanks.

    @DiPi--Just don't get me angry. Etc., etc.

    @Inertia--Good point. So far we haven't had to bring each other back from the brink. Just having someone to help out prevents shitstorms from developing. Man, I can't imagine being a single parent.

    @Paul--Yeah, you did get lucky. I got lucky with my last couple dogs, and gave myself credit for their good natures (except of course Mac's hatred for other male dogs.)

    @Meagan--What a great comment! I really appreciate hearing reactions from you youngsters.

    @4dreamers--She definitely has taught me/is teaching me patience. Sometimes I think I'm not learning enough though.

    @Frank--Jeezus! Those are some of the worst dog stories I've heard. I've known guys who shot their dogs for much less.

    @Nicole--heh heh...

    @m--Tell me about it. You know what's sad though? Poor old Greta ate some hobo shit too, when we lived up north. Sad because we keep living in places where hobo shit is a peril of everyday life, and sad because we love such disgusting animals.

  26. @Jacksofbuxton--hilarious links! There's another Hyperole and a Half post simply called "dog" that's just as good as the latest one. My girls love that blog!

  27. If I were a therapist I'd open up a practice to help people fight that scourge known as dog rage.

  28. We just recently got a new dog, and it's been tough trying to train her. We had one dog, Roxy (aka Best Dog Ever RIP) that passed away, and my Mom decided we needed to get another 'friend' for our other dog, Rachel (yes, I know it's a stupid name for a dog... I had nothing to do with it...) so we got this new dog Rilee. Long story short, there have been plenty of days when my Dad and myself that have gone Mr. Furious on Rilee because she likes to whine when she's in the cage at night, jump on our furniture, and bark up a storm outside. We're waiting on the training and barking collar to arrive in the mail, but I'm guessing when that comes, we won't be going Mr. Furious every day like we have been. I know it may be mean to say, but sometimes I wish Roxy were still around. It's hard to replace the dog you considered "Best Ever."

  29. First off - I LOVE your blog banner- EXCELLENT!
    Secondly - don't be too hard on yourself. Dogs are like kids......every once in awhile they both need a swift kick.

  30. B.D. Have you ever thought of getting rid of the dog? If it isn't a good match perhaps it could be reasonable to think of this option. Besides this high pedigreed dog may not be that hard to place. I just wanted to know your reaction, if that brings relief pursue it or if your reaction is "cool your jets I love this dog" then your choice is clear. Sometimes the work of children and dogs is too much for many. Give yourself a break Beta Dad.

  31. Wow. I have no words other than, "bye bye." Part of being an adult is to ability to control our actions regardless of what crap has happened to us throughout the day. Justifying your kicking by saying it was just a "foot nudge" doesn't fly, especially when you admit that it made Stella yelp. In my opinion, Stella is not a good dog for you and she would be much better off with someone who accepts her insecurities and idiosyncrasies. Then again after reading how you react, I'm guessing no dog would be a good dog for you. Under no circumstances is it justifiable to hit, kick, slap, etc. a child or animal. Period.

  32. OMG - I love the story! Love how you write!! Reminds so much of our dog - I have foot-nudged her before...sometimes she just makes me so angry! And I know it's not her is me...but you can't always control yourself, right!!
    As for the kids...sometimes you just lose your temper...come on...we're human beings here...we make mistakes! Nobody's perfect! You will always know what is the right thing to do!

    Nice blog you got here!!
    Made me laugh a lot today - thank you!!

  33. Kudos for the honesty, hi-five for the controversial topic, and a glass of scotch for anger management (because anger + drinking = ALWAYS a good idea, amirite?)

    I'll start reading your blog twice a day to make up for your lost reader,kk?

  34. Kudos for the honesty, hi-five for the controversial topic, and a glass of scotch for anger management (because anger + drinking = ALWAYS a good idea, amirite?)

    I'll start reading your blog twice a day to make up for your lost reader,kk?

  35. Kudos for the honesty, hi-five for the controversial topic, and a glass of scotch for anger management (because anger + drinking = ALWAYS a good idea, amirite?)

    I'll start reading your blog twice a day to make up for your lost reader,kk?

  36. Kudos for the honesty, hi-five for the controversial topic, and a glass of scotch for anger management (because anger + drinking = ALWAYS a good idea, amirite?)

    I'll start reading your blog twice a day to make up for your lost reader,kk?

  37. My younger dog is the sweetest thing on the face of the earth but he eats shit ALL THE TIME! It's a poop buffet out there. Luckily we live on 10 secluded acres and to my knowledge there are no hobos pooping in the bushes. I can't say that for sure about my husband though.

    So I guess other animal poop is better than hobo shit. And I would like to know how you knew it was a hobo's?

    Oh, and have you heard of the delicacy known as Poopscicle's? They are coming into season in the northeast.

  38. Sorry to the reader who can't forgive my transgression even though I'm clearly remorseful.

    I have thought about getting rid of Stella, and I don't think it would be that tough. The breeder said she would take her back anytime. It's tempting sometimes, but right now everything is great between us.

    @Chrissy--Thanks so much for your kind words!

    @Ferabeth--the extra reads, the repeated comments--they will all help mend my broken heart. But most of all, you should make with the facebook sharing and liking and re-tweetering and printing and sending to your Aunt Fanny, etc.

  39. andygirl's saying rules my world.

    Nice writing . "hoboshitsmell" is a funny word :))

  40. @Vapid--I have heard of poopsicles. We don't get them in SoCal though. Unless a hobo craps in your freezer.

    So, if you must know, I could tell it was hobo shit by process of elimination (so to speak hahahahahahahaha...oh man that's rich). It was too stinky and soft to be from woodland creatures. It could have been dogshit, but Stella does not care for that particular flavor. Finally, the placement of the turd, in a small copse of shade trees which is a popular hangout for good-for-nothing teenage stoners and grizzled canyon-dwellers clinched it.

  41. Most of us have been right there. I know I have on more than one occasion. You feel like shit afterwards for sure, even if it is harmless. You worry about your ability to be calm with kids. but It's different with the kids though. There is a barrier that can not be crossed.

    Kudos to you for discussing it.

  42. Sometimes we can control our thoughts and feelings, but often we can NOT. However, generally we CAN control our actions (which interestingly can determine our thoughts and feelings). i.e. "I kicked the family goldfish in the nads, I'm a bad person."

    It is completely normal for a individual in distress to "displace" on an individual or an object in order to release this sensation both psychologically and physiologically.

    Since we generally can control our behavior (much more than our thoughts and feelings) we can choose to "displace" our anger on inanimate objects, or by releasing with muscle contraction with or without vocal sounding off (yell, scream, growl), etc.

    Emotions and feelings are temporary... they pass like a storm. Often our actions have much more lasting effects.

    BTW: You're ok. May I suggest that in the future that you write that you almost kicked the dog or that you wanted to kick the dog's teeth in, but..... you didn't. LOL

  43. For those not familiar with domestic animals, many dogs (and cats) eat shit---human or animal. I read an article explaining why; they basically view it as a form of food, and mothers sometimes do it for some reason I've forgotten.

    That said, not all dogs do it. My dog has never shown any interest in it and also won't roll in stinky things. But she also spends a couple hours a day grooming herself, much like a cat. She hates water, but because she never smells she gets a bath (literally) once a year. No complaints here!

    I also did a lot of research into various breeds and wanted one that was low maintenance in terms of shedding and grooming, well behaved, protective (but disinclined to bark), smart, and sweet. She's a Rhodesian Ridgeback and has proven to be all those things and much more. It's very hard for me to imagine getting another dog after her.

  44. Just started reading your blog. I love it! Very insightful and funny. As a teacher, I have had that impulse that makes you want to 'shake the silly' out of kids, but thankfully I have never acted upon it. As for dogs, man we have all felt that crushing frustration and anger when our dogs do something bad. I have growled at them, but never hit them. Ever. I do the roll over and pin them down when you have to assert your dominance though. I'm lucky though; our dogs are fantastic.
    I can understand your fan's strong reaction to your actions, however, I am not so much into judging other people :)

  45. I haven't read all of the comments, so maybe this was already addressed, but as a mother and pacifist, I think your reaction to your dog AND your children has nothing to do with you being a man. I have felt that way about both my animals AND my children. I think it's very honest of you to write this. I don't think I would EVER hit or abuse my children or animals, but I have absolutely gotten to the point where I WANT to slap a child across the face for purposely making my already chaotic life that much more difficult. I like to think the restraint I use to not carry out this act, to merely erupt vocally and take deep breaths for 10 seconds and then have an extra glass of wine that night is what makes me a good parent. But I'm also human and my patience has it's limits. It's good to recognize this about ourselves.

  46. Thanks for this. Meet my dog:


Don't hold back.


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