Sunday, September 23, 2012

3 dogs 1 castle: The adjustment

Life has calmed down since my previous two posts. 3 dogs in 1 castle has become comfortable, a routine, a way of living. Of course Ollie and Porter are about to return to their own homes, which, I'm sure, will lead to a bit of an adjustment for Charlie. But for now, we are fairing quite well.

The adjustment period. We've all experienced it at some point in our lives. It's the period of time it takes us to become accustomed to our most recent endeavor. Adjusting can be thrilling, unnerving, or both of those at the same time. Depending on the situation, our outlook, and our ability to be flexible all determines whether or not we emerge from this period successful and well-adjusted or defeated and demoralized. Well, maybe those polarized outcomes are not exactly what happens after an adjustment period, but hopefully you get the point. Some times adjustment periods are dramatic and important. Other times, they are slight moments of fine-tuning.

School presents many adjustment periods like a new teacher, a different class, a new school. At each step of the way there are different rules, expectations, ways of doing things. The greatest adjustments in school come with age, from elementary to middle school, middle school to high school, and high school to college. During these times we reconcile what we expect that next stage to be like with what we actually experience.

Changing jobs or beginning a new job. We are the new one who is out of place and does not yet belong. This change contains new co-workers, a different culture, learning the norms of the workplace, and becoming accustomed to new roles in an establishment.

Moving to a new neighborhood, city, state, or country. Or maybe even changing living arrangements like getting a new roommate or living with a spouse.

An addition or loss of a family member, co-worker, neighbor. How do we go on without someone dear to us? How do we adjust to the changes the new person brings to our established living?

Having three dogs in the house took a slight adjustment for all of us. Porter and Ollie clearly are missing their human family. Charlie is not getting all of the attention from his human parents. And Michelle and I are dealing with an entirely new dynamic. My other posts describe the rocky beginnings, especially during the first night, and of course the rolling in poop incident. But the second night was much better. We decided that Charlie would sleep in his bed like always. Porter and Ollie would kennel up. Porter was fine with this arrangement. Ollie voiced his concern with low growls followed by puffs of air from his nose and mouth. For hours. He sounded like a fire-breathing dragon.

Night three, the arrangements stayed the same and no one voiced dissent. The back yard went from a place of constant fighting for domination to a communal space all dogs happily shared. They settled comfortably in the house, relaxing in their surroundings.

The dogs are now enjoying each others' company as they regularly compete for the prize possession, the toy of the moment. Sometimes that is Ollie holding the rope in his grasp as he gnaws at it, growling at the slightest moment of an approaching Charlie or Porter. Other times it is Charlie and Porter circling for the ball... which now has a nice little hole chewed out of it.

Life is like a body of water. The ebbs and flows of the waves can be predictable or uncertain. They can be destructive. Or they can be calm and peaceful.

Or life can be like 3 dogs in 1 castle. The relationships and temperaments must be negotiated. They can be tense and trying. Or they can be unexpectedly content and perfect.

What have been the best and worst adjustment periods of your life? Which of those moments are worth sharing?

1 comment:

  1. I think my biggest adjustments were when I moved to DC and then when I moved back. So many people asked me how it was when my husband (the author) and I moved in together and when we got married, but I think that was one of the easiest adjustments to make! Maybe we're just lucky.