After a weekend at The Viceroy Hotel it is to be expected that I would experience some sort of emotional let down when I returned home and what could be better to lift the spirits than driving eight hours in one day to pick up our new puppy, Muki? I’ll tell you in a nanosecond!
Enter Muki, a fifteen week old white fur ball with paws as soft and cushy as sea sponge, chocolate markings and green eyes that my nephew Devon says resemble the inside of a blueberry. She is intelligent, sweet and lives to please and we can tell that if we put our time and effort into it she will be an easy study, but there is one enormous psychologically draining glitch that we did not anticipate, Muki appears to be a “Velcro” dog. Ask me how I skipped that description on the Spanish Water Dog website? I went back to read all of the information at 2:00am when I couldn’t sleep because I was so distraught that Muki had no desire to bond with anybody but me. This is what I read:
“Spanish Water Dogs are very intelligent, faithful, energetic and happy dogs. Sometimes they are known as “velcro” dogs and usually stick very close to their owners.”
Note to self: When doing research don’t get blind-sided by words like “intelligent” and read more thoroughly.
After three days I called the breeder in a panic telling them of Muki’s behavior, “She completely ignores the boys, growls and runs away from Baddy whenever he comes into the room, and ferociously barks and lunges after other dogs when on walks,” I said choking back my tears. The man who chose Muki for us told me that he was a horse whisperer and that I just didn’t understand dogs. That I needed to be patient. That Muki would come round. Years later I found out that other families in Aspen found new families for their dogs that they got from the same breeder because they were too aggressive. I sense that the dogs are overbred.
When I called my mother ridden with concern, she suggested that we get another puppy, one for the kids and one for me. She also told me to let the puppy sleep in the bed with the boys for the bonding. Problems solved! I said, “Just as I will always be like you, spontaneous, optimistic and often impulsive, Muki will always be like her mother, on the extreme side of shy and nervous and a one person dog,” character traits that were revealed to me the day before she was flying to us.
On Thursday I decided that it would be a good idea to leave the family alone with Muki for a short period of time and so I hopped on my bike and took off. Twenty minutes into the ride Thumper called me sobbing so hard that I could barely understand what he was saying. He had been working so hard with Muki in these past few days, they all had, showering her with gentle love, feeding her, walking her on the leash, trying to train her and play with her but she was not responding.
I told Thumper to listen to what I had to say and when I finished I asked him to repeat to me what resonated with him most, “you said something about a dog whisperer and that because I am like a dog I should practice being the Alpha-leader and that I need to calm down and drink some water,” he said between sobs.
There is no question that our family is receiving valuable lessons as we work through this extremely emotional time and I firmly believe that this dog has come into our lives for a reason. Thumper is showing me perseverance:
Photo Courtesy of Cathy Miller
As for Baddy? He is once again showing his true colors. Where any other husband would turn his back and say, “I told you so,” Baddy is convincing me, as Muki bares her teeth at him, that we cannot give up so quickly and that we have to try and make it work.
Each day brings progress and greater insight into our family as a whole and I am hoping that I will not forever rue the day that I chose to pick up Muki without bringing the boys.
In the meantime, we will, “explore the deeper dimensions present in a relationship with a dog,” as stated in the highly recommended book, “Raising Your Dog with the Monks of New Skete,” and do our best to create a family bond with Muki and to detach the prongs that cling her to me so aggressively.