The Two Packs
When we developed into two packs, I felt rushed to immediately integrate. When I found that wasn't going to happen I struggled with many inner demons for all the things I had done wrong and the reasons why the dogs could not combine. If I wasn't being judged by others, I was doing it to myself. I took on the impression that not having the dogs living as one happy pack was just wrong. I have hung my head in shame many a time when asked if the dogs were together yet and almost three years later they are not. I was a failure to myself and my dogs and few understood.
So now what?
Hire a trainer, fix the problem. Seems easy enough. Until you take in account our resources for help were very limited. A bad experience with the only behaviorist for miles and a trainer on the phone who automatically claimed our situation hopeless and deemed getting rid of one or more dogs was our only solution.
These were our "options."
So we did the best we could, with what we knew, with the circumstances we were given.
Countless times I have beaten myself over because we had two packs of dogs and not being able to change the past. For those first few years, I was in a panic about fixing what I thought was a problem and wanted to change everything that was wrong with it. We "had" to. As if it were part of some unbreakable law. There was a must, an urgency that the dogs needed to come together, or else. There was an internal pressure of pushing an imaginary deadline over my head, as I tried to force things in my mind to come up with a solution that I could never find. All the while managing the best I could while my husband worked to feed our two packs and so we could have a place to sleep.
About six months ago, I noticed a settling down of the dogs. After all of the uproar of changes that occurred over such a short period of time, things had finally plateaued and begun to even out. As this shift took place, I found myself breathing again. We had made it through the worst of all the changes and problems and I suddenly found myself comfortable with our home and the living arrangements of the dogs. I found for the first time, that I was OK with having two packs and felt secure in our reasons for it. I was content with the progress that was happening within each of the packs and was enjoying it. Most importantly, I found I was happy with our arrangement and that I loved the diversity and uniqueness of it. The dogs were really beginning to thrive and I realized that having two packs of dogs was a pretty cool set up.
And if I had it all over to do again? I would make the same choices but with a clear conscious.
So why we may never fit in at the kennel club, we found our solution for our six dogs and have found a way to have a happy and healthy home. Every choice we made has been based on their well being and out of love for them. What I thought was so awful and shameful, has turned out to be a gift that I appreciate and enjoy. By letting go of all of the things I thought "should" be, I have been given a chance to revel and marvel in the life of having two packs of dogs, guilt free, and that my friends is a wonderful blessing I treasure.