Fear of Intimacy
Things have been an bit upside down this week and as you know I am a Tibbie who loves his routine and like most dogs, I feel reassured when things are the same.
Things are definitely not the same at the moment.
Team Leader is in hospital. For those of you who don’t know or who have forgotten, Team Leader is Beloved’s Father. He is amazing. He is the one who first introduced me to sausages and from then on I have been his slave. It is the best time when Team Leader comes over for dinner with us because he recognises that I am a very hungry Tibbie and despite Beloved’s orders he sometimes slips me tasty things under the table.
I love Beloved and I understand she is my pack leader but Team Leader is a bit like her pack leader and he is very special.
We dogs love him. Even Zena who doesn’t like sausages (sometimes I wonder if she can really be of my blood), loves Team Leader and recognizes his importance.
Devon is a lucky dog because he gets to live with Team Leader all the time, except when Team Leader is in hospital and then he gets to live with us.
Devon is a funny dog. Really. He is a Shih-Tzu and when you look at him the last thing you think of is ‘wolf’. Now I realise that that may be a case of the pot calling the kettle black, but he is this tiny ball of grey and white fur with some of the shortest legs I’ve ever seen.
He barks at people coming to the door, which I think is weird. I subscribe to the view that a stranger is the friend you haven’t met yet. But Beloved praises him when he does this and gives me a look as if to indicate that he is right! I still think it is rude.
Although he barks at the doorbell he doesn’t seem to take any notice about what could come in via the television and doesn’t bark at that at all. We are very different.
He tolerates us which I find a bit rich considering it is our house. Beloved has put a third bed in our kitchen and as his legs are too short for him to get on the settee he sleeps on the bed in the middle of the room. Not the one next to us.
He is happy enough to line up for treats with us but if we accidentally touch him he behaves as if we have an infectious disease. He leaps back with this kind of disgusted look on his face and removes his precious person.
He prefers Zena to me. He will sometimes sniff her and when she was younger he did used to chase her around the room barking, but when Bella, his pal died, he stopped playing.
I feel sorry for him. It is as if he doesn’t really know how to be a dog and yet he really would quite like to be one. Despite all his funny behaviour he really enjoys coming to see us.
When he first arrives he always barks and barks with excitement. If we get too close he snarls a bit but we know he wouldn’t bite, he just doesn’t like us to touch him. He likes to keep us at a distance but know we’re there.
He thinks living with Team Leader is the best too. He was living somewhere else for the first few years of his life which is why he doesn’t really know how to be a proper dog. I try and teach him a few things but his shakes at thunder and doesn’t chase the possums outside so I think I shall have to give him up as a lost cause.
Some people are like that. They don’t want to invite others in to their lives so they keep them on the outskirts. They want the company but don’t want the intimacy.
Devon did love Bella, my standard poodle cousin. From the very beginning when Team Leader brought him home he loved her. I always say it was because he thought she was a racehorse not a dog. She must have seemed huge to him.
I guess at that point he was so confused that to see a fellow animal who was gentle and kind was such a relief to him he latched onto her. He allowed himself to love her. It happened before he could control it. Love at first sight I think they call it. They would play together, sleep together, sometimes in the same bed. They were never apart.
Bella was very good. She didn’t seem to mind suddenly having this little thing with her all the time but then Devon is quieter than The Princess and accepted Bella’s lead in everything. The Princess is always arguing with me saying things like:
‘Why are we going here?’
‘Shouldn’t we check over there?’
‘Why aren’t we running?’……. You get the picture.
Knowing what we now know about Devon we are amazed that he loved Bella so completely and so quickly, but she was beautiful. Then of course Bella was taken away and it must have been devastating for him.
I know he still looks for her whenever Team Leader takes him out to their usual places. There is a tree they both liked to spend a long time sniffing around and leave messages at. Devon still goes there hoping to find a fresh message from Bella. Hoping to see her strolling towards him from the distance.
We’ve told him she’s gone and he understands, but he still hopes.
I am a tolerant Tibbie and I’m very easy going. I have offered to send The Princess home with Devon (Prissy Paws) so that he would have company again but Beloved doesn’t seem to have worked out that that could be the ultimate solution to all our problems – yet. I haven’t given up.
For a little dog so afraid of intimacy with other dogs he fell big time for Bella. He trusted and loved her. She was a exceptional dog so I understand. Having lost her, it makes it even harder now for him to allow himself to be close to us. He just won’t let us in.
When Bella died a little spark that was coming to life in him died too.
We can sleep in the same room, but not near his bed. We can eat in the same house, but not next to him. We can sit next to each other for the treats, but we mustn’t make physical contact. If we do he freezes, then looks at us as if we were beneath him. Sometimes that annoys me, but on the whole I am a sensible Tibbie and I know he is just being defensive.
I think by now he will not allow himself to get close to us because he knows that in this life their are no assurances. Hurt happens. Pain comes and although we hope it doesn’t happen to us, it often does. Devon is trying to protect himself but in the long run, he is the one who is miserable and isolated.
But I will continue to be polite and understanding to this rather confused little dog because I am a good natured Tibbie and I know that is what Team Leader would want me to do.
I have told him Team Leader is in hospital and he should come home again, but I understand that Devon has had many changes and losses and he does not trust me or have faith. And after all I cannot make promises about something out of my control.
Me, I am a very trusting Tibbie. Beloved always says she would not leave me alone in a public place because the first person with a sausage (or some other treat) to come along, I would follow them anywhere. I think it is good to trust, you get more treats that way.
Devon does like Beloved and her beloved. He does enjoy sitting on her beloved, it makes him feel special and safe.
He’d like him less if he realised that because he is the same colouring as my Big Dog toy he has nearly been kicked out of the way by him a couple of times!
So we have this uninvited, confused little guest at the moment. Uninvited by The Princess and I anyway. And we have to do the entertaining which I think is a bit rude. If Beloved brought him over she should take him out into the garden and stroll around with him.
One good thing is that we get cool treats when Devon comes to stay. Because he turns his fussy little nose up at our dog treats his pack send him with bits of ham and chicken and other things to tempt his delicate appetite. That means we get some too and as you know I am a Tibbie with a very important tummy which enjoys treats.
Get well soon Team Leader, we need you, Devon needs you and I think when you get back it would be a really good time to celebrate with a sausage.
Now I suppose I shall have to give up my window spot to Devon and go and have a nap under Beloved’s desk. Sigh……… Being a good host involves sacrifice.