Marital Martial Arts… and Dogs
“Tripping over My Own Damn Dog!”
The first year of our marriage we lived in New York City, the winter a duet of bitter cold and heavy, slate-gray slush. I pestered my husband in whiny tones about getting a puppy. When Christmas came and went without a puppy (in a box, with a bow on it), I switched my strategy. We moved to Miami Beach. My husband, without the excuse of not wanting to walk a dog in the freezing cold, switched his strategy as well. It wasn’t the right time. We were both working long hours away from home. He was right. Christmas came and went and there was no puppy (in a box, with a bow).
I switched up my strategy again and began working more often from home. He worked longer hours and ignored my comments, my plea to have something, someone we could pour our love into. My rhetoric changed, “I want a dog” became “I am getting a dog.” My puppy-in-a-box fantasy now dissolved, my resolve was strident. I hoped, I told my husband, that you two will get along and went back to the PetFinder page online. That Christmas, I agreed to care for Stella, a Portuguese Water Dog belonging to a co-worker – for three weeks.
I did not consult my husband. Stella took her place in the middle of our living room, she was good natured, funny and always in the way. My husband, not fleet of foot, tripped over her constantly. While she was un-phased, he was routinely nearly killed. Our last night together, January 1st, my husband and Stella collided again, he barely had time to save the dinner plate he was carrying, the other hand found a sideboard that stopped his fall. He turned to me, eyes bright with near-death adrenalin, his nostrils flaring, “You know what I’m looking forward to?” I stayed very still, Stella licked herself, my mind raced past a handful of options, not the least of which was being rid of Stella. “No, babe, what are you looking forward to?” He steadied himself, took a firm hold of his dinner plate, looked down at Stella with some disdain, “Tripping over my own damn dog!” And while the fantasy of a puppy in a box, with a bow, tucked under the Christmas tree never came to life, our Goldendoodle rescue named Rumpole did.
Come back tomorrow to learn the lessons Rumpole has taught Betsy.
Betsy Cox is a writer and Board Certified Health Coach and Holistic Nutritionist living in Miami Beach with her husband and their 9-year-old dog, Rumpole. For more from Betsy, visit her website, Betsy Cox Health.