Project Happily Ever After With Dogs (or not)
Through work connections, I meet and know many, many terrific writers. That means I often get to read advance copies of new books. So, imagine my surprise when a book about marriage included some VERY telling experiences with DOGS.
So, here is a book review and my commentary about what we can all learn from the dogs in the family.
Author Alisa Bowman is somewhat famous online for her book trailer, where she admits fantasizing about her husband’s funeral. She is also well known in blogging circles for laying her marriage bare for all to see, including bedroom stuff that often makes me blush.
Honestly, I wasn’t sure I would learn anything of use from the book since I think I’m in a great marriage. And, here is what I found …
Bowman’s book gives good advice for those who need to work on their marriage, but it also offers information I found VERY validating because all the things she and her husband learned to do are things, it seems, Tom and I do naturally after 23 years together (18 of them married).
So, around here we had some interesting discussions about Bowman’s experiences and what we thought about the situations, the emotions that ensued, and the resolutions found.
Trust me, in the section when her prince turns into a frog, I was HATING that guy. Seriously, hating him. Even Tom was aghast at some of the things, and I’m pretty sure he wasn’t just playing along with me being aghast.
We still marvel (not in a good way) at what happened to the money for a second honeymoon. Selfishness of the jaw-dropping variety. No joke.
Personally, I would NOT have married someone who was at all hesitant about having dogs in the family, conceptually or in practice. That’s a relationship no-go for me, so when Bowman had to cajole her husband into getting their first dog — Rhodes, a doberman (with uncropped ears … yippee!) — red flags flew high.
Bowman (as in many families) took on the majority of Rhodes’ care and training.
I knew it was a harbinger of things to come. And, you bet she had to renew the finagling to get him to agree to a baby. Can you say resentment all around?
Still, that could have worked out, if it weren’t for all the other mitigating factors, including that Bowman took in a troubled Weimaraner, named Jasmine, at the worst possible time.
A volunteer at a local shelter at the time, Bowman sought help and advice for Jasmine, and even the breed rescue folks recommended euthanasia.
So, she stuck it out until Jasmine actually injured her, while in the nursery with her newborn.
She was tired. She was depressed. She was miserable. Bowman called her husband. He called a friend. Jasmine went away, and in the book, Bowman essentially says that everyone needs to know someone like that … someone who solves problems, no questions asked.
I felt heartsick, after reading that.
The Rest of the Story
You know me, based on past book reviews … I wanted to know MUCH more. I wanted to know all about Rhodes and how he was trained. I wanted to know what happened to Jasmine because I feared the worst.
So, I asked, and here are Bowman’s answers.
Q: What’s the story with Rhodes? How is he? What kind of training did you do with him?
Rhodes is still with us. He’s a very healthy 11-year-old-ish (don’t really know his age) dog. He runs 4-6 miles with me, walks to school and back each morning with me and my daughter, and is a good lap dog.
He still occasionally gets into trouble. He likes his toilet paper. I’ll leave it at that.
Anyway, when he was a puppy, I did an old-school training class that I probably would not take again. Tons of people had recommended it to me, but the teacher used to yell at the dog mommies and daddies. It was pretty stressful.
I’ve since found a place that’s kind of far away. It’s where I did agility training with him. But they are much less militant, and it’s probably where I would go if we got another dog at some point.
As for books, I read the Monks of New Skeet. I tried a lot from that book (even jingling the keys whenever I feed him and then jingling them whenever I want him to come). I read a lot of other dog books, but the Monks book is the one that really stands out.
Q: I’m afraid to ask, but what happened to Jasmine after she left your house?
Our house was not designed for a dog like her (no back yard, no basement, not a single room that was configured in a way that would allow me to pen her), and she somehow tore herself out of every dog crate I tried.
Our friend eventually did rehab her (to a certain degree) and found a loving home for her with two women who had another dog just like her (same problems), a big fenced back yard, and no plans to ever have children.
I think the biggest lesson I learned from that experience is that there are times in your life when you are ready to take in a dog — and times when you just aren’t.
When you are 6 months pregnant and your husband is opening a new business? Not a good time.
I will soon have an official copy of the book to giveaway. I don’t want to make anyone uncomfortable by asking for marriage-related comments, so let’s just say that I will give a copy of the book to the first person who emails me privately —> Roxanne@wispertel.net.