Being somewhat of a pushover, I've often wondered what I'll do if I ever have a "strong-willed child". . . Well maybe God is helping me practice, because our new puppy is definitely strong-willed (to say the least!) I know that Charli looks cute and innocent -- but she's not! Rather, she takes every opportunity to pounce on your face, hands, feet or whatever else is available. And she growls fiercely (more like a snarl really) sounding remarkably like a little gremlin or demon-dog . . .
After seriously pondering returning her (stamped "defective") to the breeder - we have enlisted the professional help of a dog trainer! Actually, we just had her check Charli out and make sure she wasnt overly aggressive (in that we wouldnt be able to train it out of her). Susie (the trainer) informed me that she is definitely a dominant and bossy little girl (she was the runt of 11 and somehow still ended up Alpha dog . . . ) but that under that she's super-smart, sweet and not aggressive at all. Great news right?! The only catch is that it means I have to be (gasp) STRICT and (big trouble for me here) firm and authoritative . . . I have to show her that I, in fact, am the alpha dog around here . . .
Indulge me for a minute while I make a little leap that I've been considering since my meeting with the trainer today. . . One thing I've been thinking a lot about lately is how important it is not to give up on kids. Those who have been abandoned to the foster system, who are hard to work with (that's an understatement!) and have been abused, are angry and aggressive and not in the least bit "easy to love" - if God is calling us to adopt kids like this someday, maybe He's using Charli to teach us the importance of patience and perseverance and not giving up when things get hard. As I think about my own personality, and how little my words are heeded by the kids at the preschool and at Metro Kidz (in other words, they dont do what I say or listen to me at all), I realize that maybe learning how to speak with authority and how to establish my dominance will not be a bad thing to learn as I continue down this journey that the Lord has me on . . .
Of course the #1 lesson we learned was to TAKE OUR TIME making decisions, stop being so impulsive and think things through! :-)