I’ve made a huge mistake

I've made a huge mistakeSometimes I get cocky. I think I’m so smart. I have been called a know-it-all, and rightly so. My friend Morgan posted about something similar (okay, not that similar, but based on a similar mistake), yet I still had to learn a lesson the hard way.

I just keep flashing back to Spring break. My mother offered to buy me new clothes, and I told her I had too many. This is my punishment…

The Importance of Crating Your Dog | Dream Big, Bark Loudly

If you’ve ever been to my house, this doesn’t look that out of place. But this time it is. You see, Brody was so grateful that I let him stay at my house he decided he’d go through my closet and help relieve me of some of my clothes. And shoes. And belts…. Need I keep going?

Gee thanks, Brody.

But guess what. This was 92.5% my fault. I trusted him, and that is NOT smart. I’ve had him for 24 hours. Smart people do NOT trust a new dog after that amount of time. I’ve fostered enough dogs that I really should know that. It’s just… He didn’t even chew toys. He just seemed like such a gentleman. I thought he’d never do anything to hurt me.

I was wrong.

The Importance of Crating Your Dog | Dream Big, Bark Loudly

I came home from dinner and Lana, who had been loose in the living room watching Bride Day on TLC (as if she had a choice of what channel I left on) ran to the bedroom door. I thought she must have missed her new brother. No. She knew something was amiss.

I realized I should be concerned when I couldn’t open the door. It was wedged shut, but I could poke my head in enough to see it wasn’t Brody blocking the door. Then I saw the mess. My first reaction was laughter.

“I’ve made a terrible mistake.”

So I went back to my boyfriend next door and he helped me start to clean it up. That’s when I realized things weren’t just misplaced, they were destroyed. Three belts. Three pairs of sandals. Two dresses. A sweater. A tank top. A leash. Countless coat hangers. And my entire shoe rack. I tried to gather what might be salvageable, things I might be able to re-purpose. But the trash bag full of lost treasures was far larger than the stack of clothes I would try to tackle with my stone age sewing machine. The following dresses, sweater, and shirt are all that wait on what I now call the intensive care shelf.

The Importance of Crating Your Dog | Dream Big, Bark Loudly

But still, it could have been worse. Most of my most expensive and favorite articles of clothing were untouched. My flats and my boots were untouched. My portable air conditioner survived the attack (though it was not ignored). My computer and camera were spared. The insanely old books I had rented from the library were safe and sound in Lana’s room (though she eats books, so they were also on the top shelf).

The Importance of Crating Your Dog | Dream Big, Bark Loudly

This is, more than anything, a lesson in the importance of crating. Despite fostering so many dogs and working for years beneath a professional trainer, even I make mistakes. Just because a dog acts great while you’re around, doesn’t mean (s)he should be trusted alone. I knew better than to leave him with Lana (Lana had been trusted alone with both Link and Sierra, but I’d had them far longer). But I should have known this, too.

He threw up in his crate when I went to lunch. I had dismissed it as a reaction to new food and a new place. That is part of the reason I left him in my room outside of the crate. My guess is he had anxiety because I left. That is something we are going to have to work on.

I am not mad at Brody. This was my fault. But this is something that I will remember next time I think he can be trusted loose. No dog is perfect; it’s my job as a foster mom to figure out what’s imperfect and fix it to the best of my ability.

But this is fixable.

Brody will make a great companion by the time he leaves our home.

Brody the Australian Shepherd | Dream Big, Bark Loudly

I urge you to consider crating your dogs until you are positive they are trustworthy. Not just for the sake of your things. For the sake of your dog. And issues like this, like anxiety, should be fixed, not ignored or avoided. Again, for the sake of the dog.

Brody the Australian Shepherd | Dream Big, Bark Loudly

DO NOT BE AFRAID TO CRATE YOUR DOG!

It is not mean. They will not hold it against you. This post is lighthearted, but I couldn’t be more serious. I know it could have been so much worse. Don’t be like me. Dogs are just dogs. They don’t think about how their actions will affect you, or even how they will affect them, for that matter. Just remember that. For me…