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.
Allow 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.
She 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)