Fooling Around or Not

Many months ago, A Bad Thing Happened to me, Morty, a neighbor and her dog. I cringe thinking about it. Long story short, which usually ain’t my style, I put all four of us in a dangerous situation in our kibbutz dog park by bringing Morty’s favorite ball into the park. OY!VAY!OY!VAY! The Traumatic Event involved kicking, screaming, growling, jumping, running, crying, blaming, yelling, biting, whining and guilt. I will not clarify who did what, only that it was messy.

My go-to plan after a fiasco of my own doing is always the same: Leave the country. 

I chose to remain in my petite corner of the universe and called around to find a trainer to help me. I felt like I was living with a monster. Unlike geckos, birds or lizards, I couldn’t toss Morty out into the wilderness and wish him good luck on his own. I knew something had to change and my hunch was that Morty wasn’t going to initiate any follow up.

I found Bobbi and things have changed radically.

The first time we met with Bobbi, Morty barked the entire hour. We were sitting about seven feet away from her. Bobbi pointed out, in the nicest possible way, that Morty was obviously running the show, I was a wreck and that the dynamic needed to change. It’s all true – he was in charge and I was tense, irritable and overwhelmed by all things Morty. It had gotten to the point where the love I felt no longer outweighed the challenges of my life with Morty.

Bobbi has spent the last several months working with me on relaxing, calming down and setting boundaries with the MortyMoo. She has worked on my behavior. Lo and behold, my changes affect Morty, who is still quite articulate, overly protective of me and um, spirited, is a polite way of describing him. Bobbi says he can be a punk and a bully too. She also says that Morty is a good pup who had a bad puppyhood. And let’s be honest, it’s not like I showed up sans baggage.

The work I am doing with Bobbi is about breathing and communicating what I want and expect from Morty. At first, I was cranky and resentful about having to spend so much time schlepping out to Bobbi’s place (in Kishinev) and how after all the time I’d spent on training Morty the first year and a half, things had gotten so out of control, and the dynamic between us was so cockeyed.

Carolyn Forché, one of my favorite poets, used to have a sign in her kitchen that read, “Whatever keeps you from doing your work has become your work.”

Silly, naïve me – I thought I would get a dog, take it on walks and the rest of my life would carry on as before, buh buh buh. The Universe was not fooling around when it sent Morty into my home and my heart. My relationship with Morty has become my work, which involves learning how to breathe when I feel tense, being present, setting intentions, walking with confidence and acting like a leader in charge.

Here we are.

Morty still drives me crazy sometimes and every so often I long for a quiet, easy puppy. I’m pretty sure he is writing about wanting a Mama who jogs and doesn’t blow her nose so loud when she cries. But then Morty will jaunt over to help me find the right lid for a container or jump on and off the bed in the morning like a joyous mountain goat or sit on my lap in the art room to sniff my latest project and I am smitten all over again.

Oh so mortally yours,

Jodi