We were visiting my in-laws three states away. It was Saturday afternoon and we were wrapping up preparations for my daughter’s graduation party with family the next day. Even though our new puppy was getting plenty of exercise chasing Grandma’s new puppy, I felt like I was neglecting her. So I decided to take Zoe for a walk.
I put her on a retractable leash and headed out the front door with a quick shout to my husband where I would be. We sauntered along, taking our time, smelling every bush and pole. Up to that point, we had made this walk a total of three times in this new-to-Zoe neighborhood.
As I approached the second country block of our walk, I noticed a garage door was open, but I didn’t really give it much thought. Until just as we reached the edge of that yard, a little white dog half Zoe’s size came running out of the garage. He didn’t see Zoe at first, and I heard the owner calling. I remember hoping that the owner would get the dog back in. Then the growling started.
That’s just about the last clear memory I have of the next fifteen minutes.
Our little Zoe freaked out. She weighed just under 35 pounds at the time, and she was terrified of that little 15-pound dog. So she took off toward home. I turned around to try and get control and tighten up the long leash, but in the process I tripped somehow, and fell. I remember the relief I felt realizing I still had the leash as I raised up partially and saw her sitting still about ten feet away.
That relief was short lived.
Little White Dog started growling again, and Zoe took off like a shot, pulling me back down and ripping the retractable leash handle out of my hand. When I got up the second time, I was holding a very hurt right hand. As I limped with scraped knees toward our home-away-from-home, I saw Zoe sitting at the end of the driveway waiting for me.
At least she ran straight back to Grandma’s house!
As it turns out, I had fractured my thumb ligament. It’s called skier’s thumb. In the E.R. they put me in a temporary thumb spica and I wore that for two weeks before getting a permanent cast this past Friday. I’ll have a permanent cast for four more weeks, and then 4-6 weeks of physical therapy.
All because my dog hasn’t been properly leash trained and socialized. Ouch.
I realize that training a puppy and raising kids is not really a direct comparison, but I’ll ask you this anyway. Have you ever gotten into a situation where you wish your children had gotten a little more training before that very moment? Like if you could go back in time, you would do this parenting thing differently?
I have. And the moment you realize your parenting could use some improvement is not a happy place to be. But it’s a good place. A place where growth is about to happen. Change is coming.
Changing your parenting can change the entire trajectory of your family.
Change is hard, but it is so much a blessing when others come alongside you to help.
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