’08 Aug 19 I’ve thought of writing about this before but haven’t until now. A couple of months ago Marian mentioned that she was getting a dog (standard poodle). She had a couple of dogs and cats before and had to get rid of them as she couldn’t look after them, as sometimes she is barely able to look after herself. I told her that a having a dog was a lot of work, not like a cat, that is more independent. She said that she was a lot better now and also insinuated that I was here to help her look after the dog. I told her that if she wanted a dog, that it was “her” dog and that “she” would have to look after it, feed it, clean up after it, train and bathe it, etc, etc. and that it was not my dog or my responsibility. She confidently and with a bit of sarcasm relied, “no problem, I can do it mysself.”
So she got the pup when it was 6 weeks old and has since, basically done all the work with the dog including getting up early in the morning (8:00 am is early for her as she usually got out of bed around 10:30 – 11:00 am) and going downstairs and cleaning up the mess, and then walks and feeds the dog. Well now the dog is about 12 weeks old and weights almost 15 lbs and is beginning to get house trained.
So now back to my original point I was going to make. Marian wanting the dog and trying to involve me, reminded me of our marriage and Marian wanting children. Back then, I also wanted children so I agreed, but it ended up being that I was the major care giver for them, especial with our second child as she would be sick, tired or whatever when it came to children and housework, but was OK for shopping for clothes or getting her hair done.
What I’m also noticing with the dog is that while she is providing the food, shelter and walks to train the dog to do her business outside, that is basically the limit of her contact with the dog. Her demonstration of affection to the dog is a doggie treat as a reward for doing her business outside, along with a couple of pats on the head.
All day long she doesn’t play with the dog or communicate with it in any form of loving physical play or contact and that struck a cord in me as I realized that that was also what she did with me and the children. Any so-called loving attention we got was out of a sense of duty and responsibility and not because she cared. The only other time that she shows any affection to the dog is when the dog is being praised by others or when it has pleased her, which was another thing that she did with the children and me, presentation aftection.
Humm. That also reminds me of my mother as she “acted” the same way. The only time my mother showed any affection to us was when we did what she wanted, or we were noticed by others in a positive way, and she could take credit for our actions. It was my father that would play with us, even if it was a rough-housing and wrestling which was the only from of physical contact that men are only supposed to show.
I don't ignore the dog as I play and talk to her. I get down on the floor to her level and she responds to me with a wagging tail and is glad to see me, where as she looks to Marian for food, and now when she is being trained, to go out for her bathroom walks.
While I say I don’t look after the dog (whose name is Maggie) I do to a point if Marian is out and I can see that the dog wants and needs to go out to do her business, I take her out then and pick up after her, but that’s as far as it goes and when the dog is trained, I’ll be stopping that.
It’s interesting that this dog issues is also bringing up my marriage issues as well as issues in my childhood. I don’t know where this is all going or if there is more, but I’m sure that I’ll find out in due course.
As I was finishing writing, I also realized that she does the same with her plants, she wants plants, but doesn’t look after them and they usually die of lack of water. It’s also interesting that she is more than attentive to her car, and that it has to have its oil changed every two months, whether she has driven a lot or not.. She wants “it” to last and look new. She doesn’t care about anything else except herself, her clothes, hair, nails and skin and of course, in numbing any feelings and emotions that she still has left.