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Temper Tantrum

I Don't Want To (And You Can't Make Me)

I Don’t Want to
(And You Can’t Make Me)

I’ve been wallowing in a big puddle of guilt all day today. It’s just awful. My mom and I got in a horrible argument yesterday at Tupancy Links and I made terrific scene in front of all the other dogs and their parents.

It all started when we were heading back to the car after four laps around. It was me, my mom and our friend’s three dogs. My mom tried to put a leash on me at the top of the hill before we walked to the parking lot, but I didn’t want to. She decided let it go and I followed her and the other dogs to the car. She opened the back of the car and before I knew it everyone had pushed, shoved and jumped in before me.

I don’t why, but it really irritated me. I was looking at the other dogs crowded in the back of the car and I just didn’t want to get in.

“Get in Marty. Time to go,” my mom said a little impatiently.

“No,” I responded and backed away.

“Marty, we have to drop everyone else off and run some errands. Come on.”

“No!”

“Marty! Come!”

“No!” And I walked to the other side of the split rail fence and sat down defiantly.

I could tell my mom was getting frustrated with me. The angrier she got, the less I wanted to get in the car. She would come near me to grab my collar and I’d stay just out of reach.

Then she held out treats to tempt me (that old trick!) and I’d get close enough to snatch one out of her hand and then dash away before she could get a hold of me. That made her so mad, she yelled at me and called me a bad name. Then she stomped off and sat in the car with the door open hoping I’d be get bored and climb in, but I wasn’t giving up that easy. Meanwhile, people were coming and going with their well-behaved dogs. Some offered to help my mom usher me to the car or attempted to get close enough to catch me, but she waved them off.

This went on for 45 minutes. It was starting to get late, the sun was going down and I was really getting cold. I sat there with a pout on my face hoping my mom wouldn’t notice me shivering in the wind.

“Marty. I can see you shaking. I know you’re freezing your tail off. Come and get in the car so we can go home,” she pleaded. But I was simply inconsolable.

We sat there a while longer until suddenly my mom calmly stepped out of car and let the other dogs out. Ignoring me the whole time, she walked with the dogs back though the turnstile and up the path. I tried to stand my ground, but finally I gave in and tagged along still moping. We did a short loop up to the top of the hill and back down to the parking lot. By the time we were approaching the car I had calmed down too. My mom pulled open the gate of the car and said, “You ready to get in now?”

I looked at her sheepishly as I leaped into the car with everyone else. We dropped our friends off at their house and rode home in silence.  As soon as we got in the door, I went straight to my bed and stayed there until dinner.

I couldn’t believe how angry I got. And I was furious at my mom for yelling at me in front of all those people, even though I knew I had started it. I guess it must have been pretty embarrassing for my mom too.

Even though I’m older now and have kicked a lot of my old habits, it’s still a constant struggle to be a “good dog.” My mom certainly makes mistakes too. For instance, she yelled at me when she knew I was already worked up into frenzy. But she hasn’t given up on me and I’m not going to give up on her either. Most of the time, we make a darn good team.

Today is another day and new opportunity to be a better dog.

J Dawg, who voices the paws-on-the-ground perspective of island life, is created by Janet Forest, owner of Nantucket Pet Sitter, which you can follow on Facebook, too.