My German Shepherd Dog, Bady, and I have been together for 14 months. As I've shared in previous posts, he has completely changed my life. As Gary put it recently, Bady allowed me the breathing room I needed to heal from years of living with post-traumatic stress. I feel consistently more like myself than I had for seven years. I can get up, go to work, eat, sleep, excercise, visit, laugh ~ on a daily basis ~ all without any debilitating triggers.
During this time, Bady has been a faithful and loyal companion. But Bady has also grown and changed and matured into a full grown German Shepherd male. That is to say that Bady changed, while my way of being with him didn't change. For one thing, he has grown physically. He is not the gangly one-year old he was when I got him. His personality has also changed. He's still a goof ball a lot of the time, but he also takes seriously his role as man of the house ~ especially when Gary is not home, which four days a week since we've moved to Vermont. I've appreciated that safety net, but I also have to let him know that woman of the house trumps man of the house and that's final!
So now it is time for a tune-up for me as a pack leader. We have found an excellent trainer who has years of experience with German Shepherd Dogs. After our initial consultation he declared Bady to be an excellent dog ~ but a lot of dog as well. (His assessment of me was less complimentary :>) When I asked him if Bady was too much dog for me, he responded that it depends on how much work I am willing to do.
Needless to say, I am willing to do whatever work it takes for us to continue to be a team. We've already come a long way in five or six weeks. When we met last Friday our trainer said, "Slow and steady wins the race with this dog." (I suspect that is the case for me as well.) It strikes me that 'slow and steady' is how most things in life are best approached. Just as my healing continues to be a slow and steady process, by God's grace, there are not often easy answers in life. So I'm willing to take things one day at a time.