Lessons Learned

It’s a new year and we’ve had a dismally disappointing winter here at mushbaby HQ. As it stands, we have no snow but a lot of ice on the ground thanks to a few days of rain followed by a deep, deep freeze. Last year around this time I was so frustrated with the lack of snow (skiing) that I bought a fat tire bike I call the Tantrum Bike (which gives you an idea of how frustrated I was), and this year we can hardly even bike because… so much ice. Even trying to go around the ice is fraught with peril:

That’s not really what brought me back to the blog, though. This time of year, FB memories graces me with a plethora of puppy Toast pictures which makes me feel a lot of feelings. A friend not too long ago said of me something like “mushbaby really likes to be competent in everything she does” and seeing these pictures are a huge reminder of one of my biggest incompetencies and sources of shame and embarrassment. I love that dog so much, but I also failed him so badly. I raised him like Squash and expected him to be like Squash – who is a much, much softer dog with no serious fallout from my mistakes. I wasn’t able to see what I was doing at the time, and wasn’t able to adapt until I had created problems in my household too big for me to fix.

He’s in a great home now and thriving with someone who understands him better than I ever could have. Seeing updates is bittersweet, it’s wonderful to see him happy and an opportunity to be grateful for the enormous lessons I learned from him. But depending on my headspace it can also be a painful reminder of my incompetence.

I aspire to focus on the positives but my brain doesn’t always let me. In retrospect I learned so much, things that have helped me become a better dog owner in general, taught me what kinds of dogs suit me best, and allowed me to be much better at my job. No one is a better teacher than experience, after all. I’d like to think that if I had a second chance I would do better, with some time and clarity and not making the same kinds of mistakes bringing Aspen into our household (who although he is also a softer dog, not as soft as Squash).

Anyway, this has just been on my mind lately and I guess I just needed to get it out so it stopped eating me alive. But also… it’s easy to tell yourself and others that failure is how we learn, those who have succeeded have failed more than the rest of us have even tried, and so on. And intellectually it all makes sense but if you’re not feeling it, please know you’re not alone. At least one other person gets it, and struggles with feeling it too.

 

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