On Becoming Pack Leader

Had yet another incident this morning while out with Brody in which he lunged at another dog, almost without warning. This time, the other dog’s person was not understanding, in that he was not putting up with such behaviour and escorted his dog safely away immediately.

I felt terrible.

In talking about it with one of Brody’s treats ladies, who was with us at the time, I realized that one of his triggers might be the nose-to-nose greeting, particularly with dogs who are bigger than him. This was a puppy, but on the larger size, and she got right up in his face, right from the start, to which Brody said a whole lotta no. Apparently some dogs find that sort of greeting to be kind of stressful, and prefer to be approached from the side, instead. I noticed long ago that Brody shies away from direct frontal contact, even when it’s me reaching down to pet him. He prefers to ease into it, which I can fully understand.

Regardless, though, if things keep on like this, he’s going to get himself killed.

So naturally, I took to the internet, and delved into Cesar’s Way, website of Cesar Millan, the Dog Whisperer.

Now, I’ve stated several times – even as recently as yesterday – that I am not a good leader. This holds true for being a Pack Leader to Brody, as well, but in that case, neither of us can afford for me to not be one any longer. Really, I should have looked things like this up before Brody and I even met, but I was looking up a whole whack of stuff, trying to be prepared, and a person can only anticipate so much. Especially when one has never really realized that one would have to be a Pack Leader. I am the opposite of Alpha, so I have a lot of learning to do, anyway, but I think I’ve already taken great strides in just realizing that I have to come at all of it a different way.

Kind of like some of the lessons Hudson the polar bear taught me, actually. I saw things differently because of him, and now I am learning to see things differently because of Brody. It’s just time for teaching and learning between the two of us to stop being a one-way street. Brody needs me to lead, and so lead is what I’ll do.

Or I am learning to do.

One of Cesar’s rules is to live in the moment, not regret the past nor fear the future. Dogs live in the moment, and I need to, as well. Which I have already been thinking recently, anyway, I just needed a nudge to commit to it more resolutely. So instead of talking about what I will do, I’m attempting to talk about what I am doing. Or at least trying to do.

There is a lot to learn. And everybody is different so Brody and I will of course need to figure things out based on who we each are, but more importantly, who we are together. I just wanted so badly for him to love me – we came together because we’d both lost his girl and needed some extra love. While I have no intention of holding back affection, of course, I do intend to step up and be the Pack Leader he deserves. I now understand that’s what will create an even more loving bond between us than we already have.

Getting to know him has exceeded my needs and hopes from the get-go. Now it’s time for me to exceed his needs, too.

Love you beyond reason or measure, Brodykins. Time for us to both learn what that really means.

We got this.

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Hesitant Vacations

I got a list this morning at work of vacation dates for people in my department so that I could keep track of when I need to be picking up the slack in other areas when key people are off. It made me realize I should probably book a couple myself, especially for something like Fan Expo. It’s on a holiday weekend and those are usually the ones that people like to extend with their vacation days. Since I won passes for Fan Expo this year, I decided to at least make sure I booked the time off before one of the people I need to cover for books it off instead!

So I worked out the dates and submitted the vacation request for the day before, all 4 days of Fan Expo, and then returning to work on the following Tuesday, because the Monday is a holiday. It uses up 3 vacation days, but actually gives me 6 days off in a row. Even though a hefty percentage of those will be spent crammed into a convention hall. Still. Not too shabby.

Then I decided to do something I’ve never really done before. I booked off three more mini-staycations…for no reason whatsoever! Just because I can! Whaaat?!

Each one is essentially just extra-long weekends, using 2 vacation days for Thursdays and Fridays and returning to work the following Mondays. One in each of May, June and July. Some of those months have 3-day long weekends, andyway, and these mini stay-cations are not related to those. They are extras. And I have no particular plans for any single one of them.

Usually when I book vacations, it’s always for something, even when it’s just a day or two. There’s always an event, or a trip, or a trip for an event, or some other specific place I have to be or thing I need to do. When I was taking weekly Avonex shots to treat my MS, I usually had to burn a vacation day just to recover, if I was already doing something over the weekend and couldn’t spend a day feeling like ass. As my level of fatigue grew even more once I switched to a daily medication with less severe side effects, I started booking an extra day before or after a busy weekend, just so I could have one day where additional rest was an option. Though it’s always hard not to use those as zoo days, too, depending on the weather and my energy level.

Anyway, before all this MS stuff, I really only ever took vacation so that I could do other things – film festivals, conventions…even most of my trips have been for one of those things. I went to Mexico once for two weeks, but we filled it with day trips around the country. Still, it ended up being more restful than any other vacation I’d had. Probably because we were gone for the extra week so we actually could fit everything in and yet still just laze around on the beach sometimes.

And now here I am, more than a decade later, booking off a few long weekends for which I have no set plans…and it’s kind of scary! Haha

I chose the dates, and had no reason for picking those specific ones except for the fact that no one else had yet. I feel so…carefully carefree!

Is that a thing? Can it be? ‘Cause that’s how I’m feeling.

The doubts set in pretty much as soon as I hit the “Submit” button on the final vacation request form. Why am I wasting days when I am trying to bank as many as I can for unforeseen issues that could arise at any time? What if something comes up later and I use more days after I’ve used some for no reason? What if something comes up during those three to four months that I want to do? Do I take even more das, or see if I can change them? Every time I take days off things seem to get messed up or fall behind, and it usually becomes harder on me to get caught up again after, so why am I doing this to myself? Maybe I should cancel one or two of the requests and just work them, anyway.

I even gave reasons why it was okay to not approve them all, or ask that some of them be shortened or changed in some way. Like, from two days, it can’t get much shorter, but anyway – my brain immediately started trying to reason a way out of taking reason-less vacations.

They were all approved…pretty much in record time, I think.

And I let them be. It’s been a couple of hours now and I still have four small vacations coming to me over the next 4-5 months. As well as the 3 other long weekends that aren’t Labor Day (which is the only one mixed into my extended vacation time for Fan Expo purposes).

Part of me will continue to worry about the possibility of backfire, especially after this last mini-vacation went.

But another part of me is pretty excited, and looking forward to (hopefully) not over-working myself when I’m supposed to just be relaxing and hanging with the critters I love!