My Dog Ate the Hot Dog

I knew that almost four years down the rabbit hole of trying to reproduce would do some weird shit to my head.  I expected that. What I didn’t expect is that it would make me weep over the fact that my dog ate the hot dog.

thebusybrainAllow me to explain.

Remember in my list of 33 things to do in this, my 33rd year, I wanted to train with G (the hot dog eating dog) to do service in hospitals? Well, for the past seven weeks on Thursday nights (including the day after my ER and the night before beta!) he and I have trudged out to a local church to learn the ways of the master (who I refer to as The Hun. Her people skills leave much to be desired.)  It has been a real test of humility for me. Not so much for him. It’s been a treat fest for him. 

Last night was the final class before the final exam next week.  It was the night that we went over what we had learned and discussed what would be in the evaluation.  G and I have been working on just about everything that we did this evening, including the Recall. 

The Recall involves the dog starting at your left side, putting him in a sit, making him stay while you walk away some twenty steps or so, making the dog continue to stay even after you turn around and then calling the dog to come to you.  The whole point is that he is essentially not attached to a person for about 20 seconds and you have to be able to control when he gets up and where he goes – by making him come to you.  When we started this, he would get up almost immediately and we’d have to go back and get him to sit again. 

I enlisted Mr. X’s help in practicing with G.  Mr. X would stand just off to the side in case G made a move to get up or would start to come to me before he was called.  G has gotten so good at it, though, that I was able to continue to practice with him this week even though Mr. X was traveling.  I was pretty confident that G would do just fine with this particular item when we practiced it in class.

But last night, of all nights, The Hun had to throw in a hot dog. 

tonylanciabetaShe was attempting to do two things at once: practice the recall and practice getting the dog to leave the hot dog.  She told us that only one dog before in the history of this particular exercise has eaten the hot dog.  There were six dogs in the class this evening, including G.  Would the hot dog survive?

The first couple of dogs go.  The Greyhound makes a few half-hearted attempts, but is easily swayed by his owner to leave it.  The Doberman, same thing. The Lab, not even a sniff.  The little Schnauzer – what hot dog? And then it was G’s turn. I knew even before we got there that he was going to make an attempt on that hot dog. 

I got him into his sit, put my hand in front of his nose which is our sign for stay.  I began to walk away and The Hun quietly said, “oops” which is the notice that your dog is no longer sitting. Sure enough, out of the corner of my eye, I see the flash of Golden fur in the direction of the unprotected hot dog. I lunged and tried to knock it out of his way, but he was too quick. In one gulp, the hot dog was gone.

And I felt an overwhelming sense of failure. Once again, it seemed as if I was the only one who was different, and not in a good way.  Not even the freaking Bull Mastiff who was eyeing that hot dog like it was a mailman went for it. 

I was not able to control my dog to get him to leave the hot dog. I failed. Again.  And, what would normally have been a little frustration and a sign that we need to work on his leave it skills with a little levity thrown in when he belched heartily after his tasty treat, to me was a weeping-inducing event – at home, not in class. I held it together! 

What I realized is that IF has perverted my notion of what it is to fail so much that the fact that my dog ate the hot dog is now on par with a failed IVF cycle. It was just another epic failure in the long line of epic failures. Natural conception: FAIL.  Pregnancy: FAIL, twice.  IVF: FAIL.  I have racked up so many epic failures in the one arena that is supposed to be easy and simple that even 14 year-olds can do it, that even when I try anything else and still fail, I cannot see it as a learning experience. I cannot get past the failure. 

images: top left (TheBusyBrain), bottom right (tonylanciabeta)

12 thoughts on “My Dog Ate the Hot Dog

  1. I don’t handle ANY failure well…being a perfectionist at heart. I, too, would find it hard to get over my dog eating the hot dog. I thrived on him being the star pupil in training but I’m not so sure how he’d do on the hot dog test either…

  2. I wish I had some earth shattering advice to give you, but alas, I am laughing at G lunging at the forbidden fruit. I know my laughter is probably the cruelest thing possible, but I cannot help it.

    I know few people who deal with failure of any kind well. And I’m pretty sure you’re justified in feeling fed up.

    I hope you can read this post & laugh at your dog someday.

  3. Our dog, who has been through several rather annoyingly expensive training courses, would never ever ever sit still when we walked away. Not once! So your dog already is better behaved than ours. And that hot dog? Wouldn’t have stood a chance.

    But I totally get what you’re saying.

  4. Well, look at it this way…ummmmmm…yeah, I’ve got nothing on this one…nothing but giggles at the image that evoked. Especially as the owner of a lazy mofo of a Bull Mastiff that NEVER looks at anything like its a mailman…he’s too busy snoring!

    I’m not so good with failure myself…don’t know many that are for that matter.

    I’m with FarmWife and hope you can look back at this one soon and get a chuckle out of the dog and the hot dog.

  5. Oh that sort of thing has happened to me, too. Dogs have a way of teaching you humility, and about imperfection. Our boy dog is a little hard headed, and does not always listen to us. I do agility with my girl dog, and that is probably the ultimate in humility and imperfection. Gertrude is skittish to begin with, and she is really unsure about the whole thing until she has done it a couple of times. It is a whole lot of coaxing and hot dogs and love.

    Do not give up, and keep working with your dog. Every dog learns differently. He will get it. We all have to start somewhere. I think it is wonderful you are training your dog!

  6. You didn’t fail, G did! He’s just a bit different from other dogs. A non-conformist. And VA Blondie is right: he’ll get it eventually.

    I don’t know if taking lots of failures onto ourselves is a good idea. Are they really, truly your failings? Are they even vaguely within the realm of your control? I’d say no.

    Okay, you can tie a hot dog to my ears and sick G on me now.

  7. I think you’re being too hard on yourself. That sounds more like a bad training technique to me. Dogs have to build up their ability to ignore distractions and the point of training is to set them up for success, not failure. The hot dog was just too much, especially if your dog had never practiced those two things at once.

  8. i know this wasnt meant to be a funny post, but the image of your dog going for the hot dog cracked me up. i can picture mine doing the exact same thing! ignoring a hot dog is a LOT to ask from a pup.

    i totally understand how IF can make one lose perspective. after my m/c, i called my partner because my keys were locked in my car, wailing about how nothing ever goes right for us. she kindly reminded me to step back and reevaluate. its so easy to feel like the daily frustrations/failures just pile on top of an already battered self image. im hoping things turn around for you soon…

  9. Yeah, I hear ya. I kept going out and buying plants that would only die on me and I was convinced if i could just get a new plant to thrive that I wouldn’t be a killer of all life. I didn’t even plant flowers last year on the balcony because I couldn’t bear the thought of me screwing up yet again.

    Your doggy will get it eventually – frig, I would have eaten the hot dog.

  10. Oh, Mrs X. It’s so very difficult not to let the sense of failure associated with infertility seep over into other areas of our lives – particularly when, like you, one is still reeling from the shock of a negative cycle.

    As shinejil has already said, sometimes we need to accept that some things are entirely beyond our control. Even the most textbook of cycles may not result in a BFP. Even the most well-behaved of dogs may not be able to resist a hot dog when it is dangled right under their nose.

    None of it is your fault. None of it.

    Thinking of you.

  11. I know I’d have eaten the stupid hot dog myself at certain points in my IF tale. And burped, and then cried. It ain’t pretty at all, is it? And why throw in a test that almost nobody passes? That’s punishing your dog (and you) for something you couldn’t possibly prepare for, and not training him to succeed. Stupid Hun. If the dog’s seasoned, then yeah. Throw half an elk in there and see what happens…… Congratulations for holding it together! After what you’ve been thru, not many would have even made it to the car before losing it. Don’t be too hard on yourself, sweets – you’re not a failure. IF’s just another test you can’t possibly prepare for – hang in there.

  12. I know you think it’s not really about the dog, but it is. You can’t change the dog’s nature. You can get him to respect you and listen to you most of the time, but he’s still a dog and will be overcome by instinct once in a while. I used to have a dog who was always the bad example in training class (except for barking – she didn’t bark much). She was a 15 lb dog that needed a pronged/pinch collar in order to behave.

    So if you want to take this failure to heart, be realistic about it. There are things you can’t change and things you can. Had you known there would be a hot dog test, wouldn’t you have fed the dog a package of hot dogs before class? You’re doing everything you can to make a baby, but some things are just beyond your control.

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