Enforced Simplicity

Ten weeks ago today, we drove home from the RSPCA with a new addition to the household. If you follow me on Instagram you’ll be getting to know Jack rather well :)

Jack in the Garden

Jack has struggled a bit to settle in here. His background is not the worst for a shelter dog, not by a long way, but nonetheless he’s had a traumatic time, and the transition to a new home is a big deal for any dog (or person, for that matter). Ten weeks in, and things are starting to find a routine, a new normality. We are starting to trust each other, and find some surprising benefits to our new life together.

One of Jack’s biggest issues is with separation. He gets absolutely beside himself with fear when left alone, and as such we’re on a very painstaking training program to build up his tolerance. We started at zero, as in he couldn’t even cope if I left the room. Eight weeks later we’re celebrating the remarkable victory of me standing outside the closed front door for five whole minutes. You have no idea how much work this small-sounding achievement has taken! Jack has his own Skype account so I can watch him on the webcam from outside and check he’s doing alright. Sound nuts? It’s pretty nuts. But it’s helping him, and surprisingly, it’s helping me too.

Because while we commit to this training program, for as long as it takes, he doesn’t get left alone. So I am at home with him five days a week, and my life has assumed a kind of enforced simplicity. My time has taken shape around the routine of walking, feeding, playing, training, and inbetween those times I am creating. I am drawing, sewing, knitting, making, more than I have for many many months. And loving it.

I feel, at last, that I’m stepping out on the other side of Lighter Than My Shadow, and instead of feeling pressure and expectation, I feel curious, and excited to explore what might come next.

Jack and Me

Thanks Jack!

4 comments

  1. Wonderful to see you two! <3

  2. Aww, he’s gorgeous!! You’re lucky to have him as he is lucky to have you! X

  3. Hi Katie

    I started following your posts after reading Lighter Than My Shadow because what you wrote about in your book resonated so strongly with me. The similarities between what you experienced and my own earlier years struck a profound chord. You expressed much more eloquently and sympathetically in pictures and words than I have ever managed. Your book really helped my husband to understand me a bit better, which is perhaps the best thing about it for me. So thank you for that.

    And now I see you have a fantastic new dog. We too adopted a little terrier/terror – Rosie, with issues! But she’s great company. We also took in a rescue cat – his name? Jack!

    I’ll stop now because I realise I’m beginning to sound a bit like a creepy stalker or other obsessive.

    Just wanted to say thanks really.

  4. I love this post and that you gave Jack a forever home! That’s a huge improvement for a dog with separation anxiety. Congrats to you both :) I’m glad he’s helping you too!

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