Wednesday, October 5, 2011
Blessing our Dog at Church...
Soon after we got her for Christmas. Several "know it all" told us Natalia wouldn't keep her red hair as most of it would turn to black...Well, see below.
Resting she still keeps a watchful eye-as I do given my Bronx roots.
Playing outside : )
I attended Mass yesterday seeking some guidance from God and Mary. In addition to my Heavenly Father, I have looked to the Blessed Mother as another Mom from the time I was a child. I always feel better about life after I attend a Mass and connect with their message.
This week it was a surprise when the Monsignor announced he would be "blessing" all pets during an outdoor ceremony later in the day; I knew I had to change my schedule to attend. I later read the weekly church bulletin and thought it was a great idea to also include stuffed animals in the blessing. I took a few from our stash and put them in my purse to attend the ceremony too.
Everyone else in my home was busy, so I took Natalia myself to the church parking lot, filled with at least 100 dogs, all shapes and sizes-- barking, going potty and even howling. My dog is certainly not used to this type of surrounding and looked quite frightened. But I continued to pet her and stay close, so she felt more comfortable. I wanted to especially bring her to this ceremony so she could socialize with more dogs, something we haven't been able to do.When our family went away this past summer on vacation, prior to our trip, at the suggestion of several of my neighbors whose dogs attend, we took Natalia to a kindergarten for dogs to help her get acclimated and become more socialized. This way we'd have a place to leave her and feel she was in good hands (or paws--lol) while we were away.
I was so excited for Natalia to have some dogie pals. She absolutely LOVES people but is only fond of a few dogs in the neighborhood. The others who she barks at are bigger so I think she's scared and pretends to be tough. Anyway, after an in-depth interview with the director at the kindergarten, my younger son and I watched Natalia, from a camera in the main lobby, as she was brought into the room with a few dogs and then soon transferred into the larger group. We did this for several days, and contrary to a few of my neighbor's experiences, our dog was miserable. She even cried the third day when we arrived at the kindergarten. She hid in the corner while all the other, mostly larger, dogs played. I could tell she was overwhelmed and frightened. I truly felt as I did when I was leaving my boys at nursery school, and I started to tear-up. I went to one of the workers and asked if my dog could be acclimated for a few hours with only a few dogs, which I thought would ease the transition. The worker told me that wasn't the policy, and if they did this, it would make the other dogs jealous. I should mention this kindergarten is very expensive as well.
Hence, I did what I did in looking for the "appropriate" nursery school. I took Natalia out of this environment and have discovered from many pet owners that there are pet schools which will work with our dog and with us to make a much more pleasant experience.We don't want her to be away from us a lot, just in case we have an emergency or a summer vacation.
Interestingly, the owner of the school never contacted me after I left with tears in my eyes : ( However, when I wrote a negative review on their facebook page, she called me many times, even leaving her cell phone number. I finally called her back and she advised that our dog is "shy" and may only be a "people dog." Well, maybe that's true. Time will tell...
But when I took Natalia to the church parking lot and she started barking and seemed scared, I held her leash tight and calmly told her I was with her. God was with her. Soon, she was relaxed and was happily walking with the other dogs. Yes, there were a few little mishaps. Still, I felt the same inner calm I did when I followed my instincts with my kids, regardless of what the so called "experts" told me. My dog Natalia and I have a mother daughter bond, and I will follow that like she follows the scent of beef-flavored raw hide--in making life decisions for our newest family member!