As many of you may already know, my book Positive Changes: A Self-Kick Book came to be following a life changing blow in my life. Even without this particular event, I have still had more than my fair share of curveballs and life lessons which would make for a melodramatic book. I have been through so much and miraculously have lived to tell the tale. Although, technically speaking, I have not told the tale to date, but suspect I will go on to share as I allow myself to be more authentic and vulnerable. In the meantime, I want to share with you a mini curveball. Or a fur ball to be more precise. Despite my gradual build up of resilience over the years, I was caught somewhat off guard this week, when a eight week old cockapoo puppy came to join the Knight family.
Now before you judge and comment, yes, we did look into hundreds of breeds of dogs to fully research which one would be best suited to our family home, our children and our lifestyle.. skip to the end, she’s a cockapoo. However, it is now quite apparent that a cockapoo puppy is significantly different in temperament and bodily functions to that of the alleged adult version which is calm, loving, and intelligent. Those people who cannot decide between getting a puppy or commencing a family, seriously, take the family option. Fur babies do not wear nappies so your home will come to look like someone has made an autumnal coloured wholesome soup but left the lid off the blender whilst making it. Yellow and brown specks of colour will frequent your floors, walls, and even your nightmares. Which hinges on whether you can actually get to freaking sleep with the whining.
These pebble dashing, sleep stealing, cardigan chewing, fear inducing puppies are not like the docile photogenic furry faces that frequent Instagram. Oooooh no, Missus, these puppies are a whole new brand of crazy. In the calmer, and more placid moments, I managed to capture some Instagram worthy snap shots of the sleeping beauty. In a moment of silence, with a photograph taken, and my pent up urine finally released (I went in the toilet rather than all over the hallway; take note mutt), I sent the photos to my Mum so not to totally lose all forms of communication with her until the dog settles down. My Mum, totally unaware of the havoc frequenting my family life, does the usual mother thing of psychoanalysing each photographic image and declaring the puppy looks unwell and falls just short of asking if it is actually dead in the photos. Mother suggests that the puppy should be bouncing all over the place and so this sleeping puppy does not look right. Lord, give me strength. Seriously, it is not the puppy’s health I am concerned about, it is my own health, particularly my mental health. Who knew that puppies could be so bad for your mental health?
When our family first met this puppy (who we have now named Honey, amongst other more colourful words) it was so emotive, I was so drawn to her, and I thought I loved her. When it was unclear about collection times and arrangements from the seller, I cried and was worried she would not come to fruition. I am not even kidding when I share that when I started to worry that she may not come to be, it took me back to miscarriages; thinking something is a given, and then it does not come to be. This puppy had triggered deep down wounds that I thought I had healed. This did me no favours, as I was then pinning all hope on this dog bringing about healing, connection, and companionship for our family, you know, because we had researched the A-Z of dog breeds and knew that this was possible with a cockapoo. For the first day, it felt like this was still a beautiful opportunity for us all. Then, as Honey started to settle and find security in our home…she turned into this loud and leaky fur ball. I kid you not when I tell you of the emotional health decline I experienced, and all over a puppy.
On day two, I was trying to take a business call with her whining, the kind of unnecessary whining where she could see and hear me, but just couldn’t chew or urinate on me. The poor Tesco delivery man nearly urinated on himself when the pup suddenly barked and made him jump. And whilst we are on the subject of urine, the kids have been close to leakage due to fear of being intercepted by a biting pup en route to the bathroom. It certainly has not been the first time in my life when I have question if I have done the right thing or made the right choice, and this puppy lark was one of these questioning moments. The irony of how we fulfilled this long time promise to our kids as believed it would offer something to each of our children and their mental health, and here I was, Mother Dear, feeling it was costing me my own mental health. We had finally just reached a place of calm again following a life changing event last year, and now I realised that whilst trauma is often something created without our choosing or control, with this puppy, I had actually created my own upheaval and upset.
You may be wondering why on earth I am writing a ranting blog about a puppy rather than my usual observation of life or parenting style. Well, dear reader, it is due to this. Writing is a form of therapy for me; better out than in, and all that malarkey. Plus, I came to realise the fragility of our mental health, even for us believed to be resilient folks. One simple act, one given moment, can turn your whole world upside down, and we find ourselves lost, overwhelmed, and questioning. I have written an actual book on positive mindset, and here I was crying over a crazy, leaky and nipping puppy.
When we wake up each moment and automatically commence another sacred day in a default mode, we take so much for granted, when actually, our whole day, mindset, or life, can change from the simplest adjustment to our norm. I am a resilient soul, and always endeavour to take time to create time for wellness so that I do not have to lose time to illness, but even I am susceptible to the fragility of life and the unknown.
So, to end these negative words and this negative chapter, I will reassure you that I did take a leaf from my own book and created positive change in my life. No, I did not sell her (but the jury is still out on this one), but I did put boundaries in places. I claimed back our family lounge where the kids love to play board games, or dance to pop music, or cuddle up for a movie night. After a rejig of furniture and an emergency purchase of a travel stair gate, Honey is happily ruling only the tiled rooms of the house, and is now also happier now she has all of her stuff in one place. Oh, and she has discovered the wonders of the outside world in our garden, so she no longer has cabin fever either. And so we all lived happily ever after… so far…