The new us.

There have been some realizations in the past three weeks.  One is that, Jake and I are out of sync. Even though we are both mourning the same thing, our needs are very different. Jake is lost during the day, whereas I am sad at night. I try to come up with new things to do with him during the day but he usually seeks out space alone. I’d love for Jake to snuggle, or hang out with me (say int the office during the day), but he doesn’t want to do either.  Despite not seeking me out, he does not want me to leave the house, he is having some pretty severe separation anxiety when I go.

I think our current differences make us each miss Melvin even more. When he won’t come into the office with me, I miss Melvin. When I try to snuggle with him, he is more like a cinder block than a dog. I’m not his brother. Melvin followed and loved on me. Jake followed and loved on Melvin.  I love them both, very much, but without the Melvin puzzle piece, he doesn’t seem to see the bigger picture of our family. It’s a lot like when you are in traffic behind a big truck and you have no idea what is in front of the big truck.  Melvin was Jake’s big truck.  I don’t think he noticed I was in front.

When our trainer (who has worked with Jake before) asked me what I wanted to achieve. Some of it was about his prey drive, which has kicked into overdrive since Melvin died. Some of it was how to get him to learn to focus on me (lack of focus combined with his prey drive is a challenge).  But when I answered her out loud I said: I need you to help Jake and I communicate.  Our translator died.

I was surprised I said that but it was true.  I love Jake, completely and unconditionally and beautifully. There are just some dogs that would rather be with another dog than a person (Jake). There are other dogs who want to be with their person over any dog (Melvin).  I know that Jake can’t go too long without another dog in the house, for one just out of sheer loneliness but also, he will slip quickly back to old, grumpy, lash-out-at-my-siblings Jake. No one wants that!  Since I’m not ready yet, for now, we train and we figure out how to re-connect without our shared, soulful glue.

And I pray he learns to like snuggling!  For cripes sake, I shower! This is the sleeping stance of a dog that does not want to hug:IMG_3953Ahhhhhh, but I love this monkey so of course I’ll keep trying!

29 thoughts on “The new us.

  1. Ugh. I’m sorry. I feel like that’s all I can say, and it in no way helps your hurting hearts. I do definitely agree. There are some dogs that only care about dog companionship, and other’s who only care about human companionship, and then still other’s who crave both. Could your trainer bring a dog friend during sessions? Maybe that would help Jake continue socializing, and get him to focus a little more.? Or maybe a local rescue group has a laid back submissive dog, who’d be willing to just hang out with Jake from time to time? It’d be a good way for him to get some doggy loving, until you’re ready to add a permadog to your life. I look forward to hearing more of this new adventure. Hang in there. I know eventually you both will find a new rhythm together, with Melvin still in your hearts. xoxo

    • Aw thanks! I’ve been trying to figure out what to do. Even though Jake craves dog companionship, he does not like most dogs (why is he so odd???!). I went really slow with him and Melvin and it was successful because Melvin was so kind and patient and would never have hurt Jake. So it’s not as easy as a play date, but I have been thinking that fostering might be good. It just has to be a dog that can see Jake for the tortured soul he is!

  2. Tracey, I am happy to bring Lola over for you and you could even borrow her for a little!!! I know your house is every dogs dream!!!! Text me

    • That would be awesome! I would even take just five minutes of him being able to talk so we could just put the issues on the table and I could let him know that no matter what, it is going to be OK.

  3. Bless you both. Maybe Jake will surprise you and come around. Maybe he just needs an extra extra amount of time to mourn and adjust. I mean he is Jake right? But in the meantime the loneliness for both of you is heartbreaking and my heart goes out to both of you.

  4. I love your honesty. While I haven’t had that struggle with one of my “own” dogs, I had a foster for almost 8 months that I never truly felt in sync with. She was hilarious and ridiculous and adorable, but we were off in so many ways. Because she was a foster, I probably didn’t put as much effort into our relationship as I would have if she were our forever pup. I’m excited to read about how the training helps and what techniques you’re using.

    • I’m excited too! I think Jake just needs to be shown there is a big world out there and being to set in one way can be snoozeville. It has def been a challenge since both Max and Melvin preferred people over dogs. Jake and I get to learn together.

    • I do love the little nugget and it’s funny cause it’s a nurturing love even though the vibe he throws off is ‘tough guy’. Time is our friend.

  5. I’m so sure you’ll both “get there” that I’m just having fun mentally picturing Jake’s wheels quite literally spinning and kicking up dust as he chases prey. (Kind of like the Roadrunner’s dust cloud meets the Tazmanian Devil in a wheelchair.)

  6. I feel for you, we have a non-snuggler too, most of the time he walks around to the tune of his own drummer. Not that he doesn’t love me, or miss me when I’m gone, he just prefers people not to touch him about 90% of the time, it’s frustrating especially when I’m sad (my dad recently passed away) and want to love on him. He will get up and leave the room and go lay else where rather than be snuggled by me. Occasionally he will allow it, but it’s very rare. We have him and we have an aggressive snuggler, who thinks head bonks, paws in the face and biting noses is love. I have a knack for having not normal dogs I guess.

  7. I had the very same realization after we lost Charlie and Duey (5 months apart). We we’re left with Ace, the 3rd dog, and the only one that has never been an only dog. We’ve worked through some separation anxiety and with the help of a calm diffuser and a thundershirt we are making some progress and it has been a joy to learn who he is now, as an only dog. I hope Jake learns to snuggle, even if just to make you smile!

    • I look at it the same way – I mean obviously we both wish it wasn’t so, that our dogs are now only dogs, but it’s a rediscovery period for him (and for me) and I’m excited to see how he emerges once the anxiety part eases. Jake is much calmer without Melvin (or maybe less exuberant) which is funny because I always thought Jake was a spaz. He can take all the times he needs. Thanks for the comment, It helps to to hear that others go through the same challenges.

  8. The “translating” part probably matters so much, too. It really seems like Jake has never really listened to a word you say. He didn’t need to. Melvin knew all the things and Jake did a “doggy see, doggy do” kind of thing. Now he has no idea what you want or why you want it. It’s got to be incredibly frustrating for him, and might make him pretty withdrawn.

    • It’s so true, and I can sense his frustration and confusion. And also, I know what happened to Melvin. We let him see Melvin after he died, but it has not stopped him from searching for him. It takes time, we will get there together.

  9. This is sad but not hopeless, you have the right attitude and the right motivation, that is love. You are both a little unmoored without Melvin, Jake more so as he cant fully understand, though he might have an intuition of the change in circumstances. I’m sure youĺl get there.

  10. I know I’m a week behind, so you might address this further on (I’m binge-reading your posts today!) but… maybe don’t shower? 🙂 I feel like Emmett cuddles me more when I’m stinky. All kidding aside, I’m really sorry that you’re hurting on top of the grief you’re already feeling. The vast majority of the time I’m very grateful that my dogs can’t talk, but there are sometimes… moments… when I wish I could just have a second to explain things to them in simple, non-dog-training terms. To speed up the communication process. It sounds like you’re working toward that with your trainer. I’m confident that the two of you will figure out your partnership so very soon. I’m sure it will look and feel different from what you two had before, but it’ll be authentic to the two of you. Sending you big hugs, always!

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