Thinking of Cody…

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I have been spending a lot of time lately really working with Oscar to try to understand his separation anxiety and his weirdness towards strangers in general. Both my husband and I spend an inordinate amount of time analyzing and over analyzing his behavior. He is so awesome with us… happy and playful and warm and loving… just normal and seemingly well adjusted. But get him in a situation with other people, like at the Vet, or at a store, restaurant… and he is a raging mess. He shakes, he hides, whines, barks, and will not let anyone near him or us. The other thing that he does is he reacts incredibly odd if we are talking loud in the house or if one of us yells at him or corrects him, like when he has been destructive. He COWERS. Like… unbelievably so. He hunches down, ears are back, tail between his legs, and he shakes in fear. Like a leaf.

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This dog has never ever been hit. We got him when he was 3 months old and he has always been a whiner, but we have never hit him, or even really corrected him in any loud or aggressive way. AT ALL. He totally acts like a dog who has been beaten severely. In fact people who have seen him react this way have said, because he is a rescue that he must have been beaten.

Nope.

That is why it is so perplexing. It completely confounds me. One theory we were postulating  this weekend as we ran him through the park for 2 hours each morning watching him and wearing him out, is the pack leader thing. Maybe he is insecure with who is pack leader and asserting himself in that role, and if there is a “threat” of other people he gets super protective. If one of us were solid in that role he could relax and follow along in a secure manner. He does try to pull and walk in front of us constantly. But Cody did that too and he was never like this. It seems to me this may in fact be the key here. The question is how do we, one of us and most likely my husband since Oscar listens to him more, become pack leader? I know it is all about consistency and keeping him in check, but it is not easy. Oscar cannot be allowed to walk out the door in front of us, he cannot lead on the leash, he cannot run ahead off leash unless we release him to do it… among other things. And he CANNOT charge the front door. That is a huge one… he loses his mind when someone knocks or comes over and it takes a good ten minutes to get him out of that mindset.

He is still a work in progress for sure, but this is a situation we need to get under control. It totally inhibits where we can take him publicly. I would love to be able to take him to restaurants with us. Florida is starting to become a lot more dog friendly and the weather is great for outdoor eating and libations. It is a goal.

So while I was hanging with Oscar all weekend, I could not help thinking about Cody. I am not sure what is triggering this so intensely lately but it has been a constant for about a week now where i cannot get him out of my head. I have been on a 15 day juice cleanse (today is day 10) and that may be what is doing it, it triggers emotions as well as releasing toxins, it all about release. I have also had a couple people in my world pass suddenly this holiday season which doesn’t help the reflective thoughts. But I seem to continuously have him on my mind. And a lot of it is the difficult parts of his illness I keep reliving. Especially the moment of his passing. I keep seeing his eyes when Doc gave him the first shot of heavy tranquilizer. He never liked being doped up, it is really the only time I ever heard him whimper and whine. He was laying there with total labored breath, complete renal failure, and I was laying on the floor with him, my head next to his and kissing his forehead, and as soon as the shot went in his veins, his eyes opened wide. I just cannot get it out of my head………………………

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On the lighter side of Cody thoughts and reflection are the comparisons I cannot help to make with Oscar. When I would take Cody running with the Chuck-it and the tennis ball, we would walk across the street and he would of course be excited and pull a bit, but as soon as we got to the spot he would sit as I unleashed him. And he would stay seated. He would not take off like lightning as soon as he heard the click of the hook fastener like Oscar does.  Cody was all about interaction with me. If I was not playing and engaged he was laying down waiting for my attention. Oscar is all about just running around in circles and finding anything stinky to eat or roll in in the grass. Oscar has no real interest in a tennis ball or interactive games, Cody as you all know was OBSESSED.

I was laying in bed with a bit of insomnia last night, which never happens to me… I am really good at sleeping! haha! But I remembered that I think I have some old Cody pics on a CD that I forgot I had! Sometime this week I will need to dig that out and see what I have. I remember it was approximately 2006, I was DJing for XM and had a band staying at my house, and two members were in my foyer playing mandolin and guitar, and Cody, being very young and adolescent was in there with them. He was fascinated, pacing and looking out the front window on his hind legs all tippy toed. I need to see if I can find those pics and I will edit this post and put them in.

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He was such a great dog… I miss him every day. And again, I am not sure why these feelings are so intense right now but they are undeniable. As much as I love Oscar and feel that he is a huge part of my life, filling that void in many ways… I really miss Cody. He was just getting into his stride and becoming what I worked so hard to make him… and he really was robbed of a great life. CANCER SUCKS!!!

Anyway, it may be the juice cleanse… it may be that it has taken me this long to really process all of that crazy battle and the catalyst is the cleanse… whatever it is I am allowing these feelings to come to me and really allowing myself to process them. I am not trying to distract myself from them or push them aside, I am owning them and feeling them and thinking them through. They deserve that and I think it is cathartic. It’s part of healing.

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And I think Oscar is amazing in his differences. I very consciously try not to compare the two. They are definitely two completely different animals. And the one thing I am very excited about with Oscar that Cody never got to try, is kayaking. Oscar is really good in the boat!!! So among the things we need to work on with him, he is really awesome in the kayak and that is something I love because we can take him on trips with us instead of leaving him home like we had to do with Cody because of his illness.  I love that Oscar can be a part of the fun.

I will post that picture of Cody when I find it… maybe I will uncover some more gems. I love looking at old pics, you remember things, little details you forgot about and it refreshes memories you may not have wanted to forget.

Cheers!

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~ by Michelle Sammartino-Zeto on January 13, 2014.

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