It’s been a week since Mako became my roommate. We’ve gone through our routines and our temperament. I still can’t get him to respond to his name – or the the name the breeder gave him (I’m not sure if the latter should give me some consolation.) It’s been a week and I have noted some changes.
1. Dealing with expectations. I can feel the pressure of people’s expectations on what the puppy can do like respond to his name or do the tricks we all see in our newsfeeds. One can get defensive about it but then again, that wouldn’t be helpful. Instead getting anxious about the things I haven’t managed to train Mako, I try to get people’s (mostly the sisters’) inputs on what worked for them and their pets.
2. Patience and tolerance (Things I seriously need to work on). Nine-week old Mako can be quite a handful during his active hours – early morning and late afternoon.
It’s not advisable to walk the puppy before his rabies shots so I need to come up with activities for him to use all that energy JRT’s are known for. So far, 10-20 minutes of brown paper fight and running after the bone treat keeps him busy and drains him enough to lull him to sleep. Thankfully, he sleeps for hours allowing me to get back to work or to sleep in peace.
His boredom is usually expressed in all that biting and chewing and in greater levels of boredom – barking. This pup sees my hands as his chew bone as well as my slippers and feet 😐 My shoes are safe at least – until I wear them at the office. There have been several tips from pet owners on how to discourage this behavior. Most tips boil down to redirecting all that chewing to other objects.
I’m easily irritated and I have low tolerance for a lot of things. I also have been used to living alone so I’m not that used to adjusting to another’s routine/temperament at home. So far, I haven’t had a breakdown, which is good I think (?). I feel like I’m also under the sisters’ observation. I think they’re quite curious on how I’d deal with having a living companion 😀
3. Initiating the talking. I’m not one to initiate a conversation – or even voice thoughts to anyone or anything. I think this is one of the things that I am changing. I would need to talk to Mako – more often. JRTs (or any pet) thrive on praise and encouragement and that requires talking – as well as his training.
4. Regularly cleaning the apartment. In my six years here, the apartment has never been more clean and disinfected as it is this week. Early morning routine involves cleaning the cage, sweeping and disinfecting the floor, feeding Mako, and then my old routine.
As I prepared the apartment for Mako’s arrival, one of the apartment caretakers thought I was moving out because of all the junk I was getting out of the apartment. I have to admit, it was the first major apartment clean up since I moved in at the apartment 😀 I could see color images from the kitchen window! The window view used to be almost set in grayscale from all the dust that settle from my five years 😐 I can feel the breeze pass through the apartment after I cleaned the windows. I used to blame the two-storey apartment building which stand in front the unit I occupy for not having enough ventilation.
5. Rethinking spending habits. I now view prices based on dog food, vitamins, and vet consultations. A Php 150 meal would be like Mako’s one-week dog food or a month’s supply of supplements. The Php 650 family size pizza for an entire day’s meal is like two deworming sessions with the vet or grooming sessions. I realized that I spend money for food as an incentive/motivation and to make me feel better. I have less need for that now. I find greater utils for money saved for Mako’s vaccinations and vet visits. There’s also heightened awareness on the need to have an emergency fund (emergencies now exclude seat sales as well as a shoe sale) ready for Mako. I never considered this for my case 😐
6. Making time for non-work activities. Mako’s a living reminder of my resolve to invest more time for non-work related activities. Financial advisers encourage people to diversify their investments so when one/some of their investments take a loss, they can still reduce/recover their loss other types of investment. This is also true for investing one’s time.
Work used to dominate my day with very little time for family and non-work related matters. That was why when things weren’t going so well at work, I’d be losing sleep on it thinking about my inability to meet deadlines. The lack of sleep and the disappointment on my work performance made me irritable and anxious. It increased my tendency for sarcasm and made a living source of negativity out of me. In such state, cases of snapping at friends and family became more frequent. I just happened to be blessed to have great family and friends. It wasn’t the person I knew I was and it definitely was not the person I wanted to be.
A week after bringing Mako home, I can’t say I’m completely changed. That would take a while. I’m just happy to spend more time with the family. Since the eldest sister and the third sister have dogs, I constantly seek their advice on puppy care. I could say it increased out common field of interest/experience. I noticed that I called more often this week and I also received more calls from the family. Then again, that may just be because we there were several family activities this week. My greatest achievement would be being were the family gathering was even before it started. In the past, I usually used work as an excuse to not attend a family gathering or arrive late. I still have a lot to work on but this week has been a good one.
I have yet to see how I’d handle caring for Mako when work is at one of its most intense and the deadlines pile. I’m just relieved that I have a month to make the arrangement and hopefully adjust to the increasing work load.
While I aim to spend less time for work, that does not mean I would be performing poorly. I would deliver the outputs and work on the duties assigned to me. Easier said than done, I know. I need to go back to that article on working I may need to place that previous sentence on the work table as a reminder, just in case. Also, I would not want people seeing Mako as a reason for a decline in my work performance.
For the first week, everything did not go well – as expected. I’ve learned many things though. I think that’s what matters more. I feel better. Yes, I’m still anxious about some things but Mako’s play time helps me deal with it. Is this how it feels like to be in therapy? I wouldn’t know.
I know things will not be easy and I also have doubts on how well I’d manage to adjust this coming semester. I’ll be getting more scratch marks and dog barks, I’ll be put in way more awkward situations, I will not be able to meet a lot of pet training expectations, and I will be clueless on a lot of things about dog care no matter how much I research on it. I will continue to try to do better though – as I would do with work and family. That is what would make this work.