Sweet, sensitive Perri has made her cause known.
The schedule is off. Wrong! Molly is coming and going, returning with shaved patches and strange smells. She is not coming to training classes. She is not coming to trials. I have a theory and maybe I am a Crazy Poodle Lady, but I think Perri is struggling from some depression and anxiety from what is going on with Molly. And what is going on with me.
I am stressed. I am worrying about Molly, juggling my work schedule, cram-learning about lymphoma and chemotherapy and cancer. And I want, so very selfishly, for Perri to be my competition and training dog. I want her to be my happy place in all of this. I want her to be a Molly-substitute.
But you cannot substitute a badass flying brick. And Perri cannot be Molly. It may explain her attitude crash at the trial on Sunday. Monday we went to an agility clinic, encountered a most horrifying Manners Minder and Perri worked slower and slower until reaching a state of near-catatonia. Tuesday I set an aged exterior Nosework hide at a local park - Perri uncharacteristically was capable of a few half hearted sniffs but mostly needed to stare off into space.
Frustrating. Why can't Perri just be there for me?
That is unfair. Perri cannot be there for me like Molly would. Like Molly was when Perri was injured. Molly was stable, don't-give-a-shit, there for me. And right now I don't want to cuddle. I want to train, feel victories, enjoy agility trials. Prepare aggressively and thoroughly for Perri's first NW1 trial.
But Perri reminds me, as she always does, to slow down. She has lessons to teach me when I don't want to learn. She forces me, she insists.
Last night she would not eat. This morning it worsened. I became fearful of another ulcer. I put a pepcid in cream cheese, she had no appetite. Not even for the cream cheese. She did not want her beloved glucosamine treat. I realized I needed to remember Perri in all of this. This sweet girl is not strong enough to be my rock while Molly is sick. It is not her fault, and I am wrong to expect it of her.
I got her to eat the pepcid. I petted her and talked to her and she slowly ate it, just because I asked her to. She ate some rice. Tonight she ate half of her regular kibble. She ate a pill pocket with Pepcid hidden in it. We went for a walk. We played empowerment games. Snuffling in a dog bowl filled with clothespins for treats. Stomping in a cardboard box full of crinkly paper. She had so much fun, and she needed this. She needed one on one time with me, she needed to reinforce her strength. Since Perri was a puppy, Molly has been her strong rock. Constant strength and stability, always there. For a dog like Perri, this has to be strange and concerning for her. Especially when she can tell that I am so very worried too.
Okay, Perri. I can take a hint. The pressure is off. We will get Molly through this together.