So for those of you that are following because you like to see the nice posts and the adventures (Can’t blame you), this one might not be for you. It’s a bit heavy. I will try to make this coherent.
I have been contemplating starting a second blog to help me deal with my anxiety and depression; but then I realised that my life isn’t full of problems, there are infinite good times too, so writing a blog soley for the bad times is in itself very depressing. So I’m afraid occassionally I may have to vent my feelings even though I know this blog was started to be my outlet for dog crazy. On this occassion my dogs do play a role anyway so it’s all linked up. Let me set the scene:
As I have mentioned already I’ve been struggling to keep it together lately. I’ve been feeling overly uncomfortable in social situations since my last panic attack. I’ve been feeling quite anxious over nothing and I’ve been really down over I guess trivial things in the long run. Anyway, feeling pants and then I’ve got the added stress of starting an MSc degree last week which will take 2 years. I’ve also been finding some people at work very difficult lately.
On top of that: I occassionally go down to the dog park that is 2 minutes walk from my house. It’s not very big but it’s a space that is safe for Zeph to be off lead to play. Unfortunately, there is a woman that walks a small terrier in the same ground. The rule is that only one person and their dogs are in the fenced bit at a time. There are two small fields next to and around the dog park as well. Anyway, her little dog has taken a disliking to Zeph and the two of them are actually trying to kill each other through the fence. Unfortunately for all involved, If Zeph got a hold of that little dog it would actually just be dead. It’s the only dog in the neighbourhood that has a problem and the owner I think, is picking on me because I have a Rotti. She insists on walking her dog right along the fence line in a ploy to make me leave. I am only ever in the park for 20 minutes tops. Anyway, last week she made me feel uncomfortable so I left early to let her in the fenced bit.
Tonight, I went down to the park for the first time in a week to let the boys play, we’ve done a lot of walking lately so they seem quite tired out. I was in the park for 12 minutes before she came up to the fence (I’m holding Zeph back at this point because he is going balistic), I’m going to write the convo out here:
She says: “How long are you going to be?”
Me: I’ve only been in here for 10 minutes.
Her: Well how long are you going to be, I’m not waiting around for much longer.
Me: Probably only another 10 minutes
Her: You can’t hog the dog park. You can’t stop me coming in.
At this point I’m starting to well up because my dog is stressed out, and she’s starting to be quite aggressive herself.
Me: I’m not trying to stop you coming in. You can come in if you like. I only want to exercise my dogs. I’m in here for 2o minutes tops and then I’m away again. I’m only here a few times a week.
Her: If you don’t get out I’ll be coming back with the police. It’s a public resource. I only want in for 5 minutes.
Me: (holiding Zeph by the scruff now, because he’s freaking out), I know it’s a public resource, I’m not saying you can’t use it. I just want to exercise my dogs.
Her: Well, I’ll just keep walking along the fence until you get out.
Me: The longer you do that, the longer I have to hold the dog, therefore he’s not getting exercised, which means I’ll be here longer?
Her: I have a right to go in the park.
I finally gave up, as angry as I was I could feel I was going to have a panic attack. The problem I have as well is that once Zeph is up at 100mph, if Echo steps in front of him he gets the attack. So I ‘m trying to protect my dogs at this point and not give the woman the satisfaction that I’m struggling. My odd reply was: “I have been here for 2 years and tried to be part of this community but I give up. I just want to exercise my dogs without being hassled and you can’t even give me that. Have the park. I will just have to walk my dogs elsewhere.”
Her: Can’t you just let him off out here to play fetch? (i.e she wants me to play outside the dog park where the dogs can reach roads, children etc and Zeph has no recall).
I then politely asked her to move up the path a little as Zeph needed space to exit the park. By this point I’m annoyingly having a wee cry. She says:Can’t you just come back later, I’m only going to be 5 minutes.
In the 2 minutes it takes me to get home, I am crying and I can’t breathe. my chest was all tight. I could feel the panic. I managed to get into the house and it was all I could do to keep going. I just concentrated on the dogs. I had to get their harnesses off. I had to feed them. I cooked them some beef so that kept my brain busy. All the while I’m crying but managing to breath. It made me realise that wihout the dogs I’d be a wreck. I mean how rediculous was that conversation! I wasn’t stopping her having a turn in the park. She seems to think it was hers. And threatening me with the police!? For what, using the services as they were intended. My problem with that threat is if the police turned up when she had that dog there he might be seen as a ‘dangerous’ dog. As much as I know I was in the right, I’m not going to put his wellbeing at risk. It is people like that that make me wonder why I work in the health service. Why do I stress myself out and work long hours and take on extra shifts to cover a service that helps people like that?! Mostly because I know not everyone is like that. And because I hate confrontation and I like to be helpful. I managed to stay polite and I didn’t swear at her or shout or anything. My parents brought me up to be polite so I was trying to be, and at the same de escalate the odd confrontation. Anyway, I’m over thinking again.
I love my dogs though. Although this particular incident happened “because of them”, incidents like this make me love them so much. Having to think about their welfare really makes me push away the feelings of despair. Concentrating on making their dinner, making sure they are happy helps me calm down and when I’m crying they are very cuddly. At the moment Zeph is lying on my feet. He hasn’t left me alone since we got home. He is so good at looking after me. It’s also what gets him in trouble. He’s protecting me. I feel like I’m the root of his problems but I can’t change that really because I’m a bit of a wreck at the moment. I am actually contemplating going back to the GP and finally talking about my problems. We’ll see.
Until then, the walks with the boys are really helping (as long as I don’t meet horrible people!). The beach is my favourite place to go in the mornings although the tide is now in at the time I go down. I’ll stick the pics and walk update in the next post.