We had been together for almost 7 years and things were just fine, there was peace, there was understanding and there was love.
Then along came these little ones, not babies for me to get used to and to grow with, but two little people who appeared one day from nowhere. I was used to guests, in fact I rather liked the guests as they usually gave me even more attention, but this time it was different, very different – these two were clearly here to stay.
They paid attention to me, but in a different way – not when I needed it, but when it suited them. Sometimes the attention could be unpleasant, it could be a bit too rough and on a few occasions – like the times I got locked in rooms/cupboards alone for long periods or the time I got pushed down the stairs – not nice at all.
They didn’t seem to like me getting the affection or the attention that I was used to and it felt like they were competing for it – and winning. It felt like they were trying to push me out.
Life at home had changed, the quiet relaxed atmosphere that I was comfortable with was replaced with lots of shouting and screaming. The harmony that I had lived under became chaos: more bodies, more noise, more stuff – SO much more stuff – the floors that were always clear suddenly became an obstacle course of shoes and coats and toys and books for me to navigate around and I got shouted at if I unavoidably stood on things or knocked things over.
Suddenly I got into trouble for doing things that I had always done, like running around excited or playing with the toys left for me on the floor.
Life got confusing and I found it easier to take myself away. I still needed their love, their attention, but I learnt that when their voices were raised and sounding distressed – when I wanted to go to them, to sooth them, to make them feel better – it was in fact best for me to go and hide. Otherwise the shouting was directed at me – and I didn’t understand why.
It’s been over three years since the little ones moved in and in fact they are not even that little anymore. Things are calming down, there is less shouting, less anger, less frustration, less despair – yes, at times I could sense despair and it is good to see that it has just about gone from our lives.
The attention I get has changed too, it’s clear to see that they have stopped seeing me as a threat and they seem to have learnt what I need and are more willing to give it. They want to play with me now, to run with me and sometimes just to sit with me – and that’s nice.
Life is different to how it was before they came, it is good again now. In fact I can see that life is better – better for the little ones who are settled and so clearly happier than when they first arrived, better for the big ones who have grown and changed as their life changed around them and consequently better for me.
It took some time, but now I know that it has all been worth it. Now I am not just a pampered pet, but a proper family dog.
I am one of a bigger pack, I know my place again and I’m enjoying that.