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I love my pups. They have been my world for the last 5-6 years. I've lost a lot of family/friends because of them. They've been my refuge, my confidantes and my companions through thick and thin.

But

I feel they've isolated me. When I needed to close myself off from the world, they were mine and I didn't care if anyone told me how wrong I was in using them as my crutches toward solitary confinement. I was a coward...

I have a 3 month old baby now. He is a socialite. he needs like a normal human being to interact with other human beings. And I find myself with either no one that I 'trust' to provide that stimulation or I find myself too stubborn to admit how wrong I was to cut myself off from 'people'.

I don't know how to fix it. I am unwilling to give up my pups. I still adore them. But I find myself needing to redefine my life...over and over and over...becoming exhausting...

Any suggestions?
 

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If you were on the outside looking in, what do you think should happen in order for everyone to be happy?
 

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I'm not sure what your pups have to do with your choices in regards to your family and friends.

Find someone to talk to? Local schools/universities may have free options. Or find some like-minded dog-loving people to walk the dogs with, hang out, etc.
 

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I would guess you are an introvert. Nothing wrong with that, it is quite normal. We introverts enjoy company but it drains us. We are very comfortable being by ourselves. I spend more time with my dogs than other people as well, except for my hubby.

Yes, with a baby you'll have to out reach more but it should come naturally. You'll meet other parents on the playground and at school, etc. Just like making friends at work or at small church groups when you help with events. Since my children are grown and on their own and I am a home-maker, it makes sense that my dogs are my closest friends.
 

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I tend to isolate too Zeeva, especially in the winter. It's not just my dog that keeps me happy during these times. I'm an avid book reader and I also spend a great deal of time with that. I also sell vintage items on the internet which is in itself a form of entertainment and provides a supplemental income.

If you were thinking that because you now have a new baby (congrats by the way!) and you're concerned that the dogs, new baby and maybe need to work a full time job would be too much for you to take on - that's one thing...

But, to feel you need to eliminate the dogs in order to focus on the baby because your disposition is to focus on the dogs...... I don't think that is needed and I don't think that will work.....

It's likely you would find something else to substitute to take the dogs place in your life to fulfill the same no stress/comfort and still end up isolating - if that is what you do to deal with stuff.

I'm having a real struggle breaking out of my isolating habits the last few weeks. I've got this pretty ungrounded fear I need to overcome to simply walk my dog, she's fine in the yard but needs to expand her horizons too.

My motivation is a little outdoor cafe at the end of the block where I can have her outside AND be with my friends. As I am typing this - one of them just called and said "Come on down - it's a beautiful day and we're sitting outside"! We did this a couple of times per week last summer (retired folks) and it was so much fun. So, I set the time to meet them tomorrow.

My dog isn't the problem and is not causing or allowing me to isolate. I know that if I didn't have the dog - I would find something else to take her place and that might be a old no good lousy bum of a guy what will be even worse for me- been there, done that!:eek: My problem is in me and not people, dogs or places and it's the problem that is the problem and it's the problem that has to be worked on in order to overcome it.:)
 

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How about taking your baby out in the world for a few hours at a time every day or so while your dogs stay home? If you want to reconnect with friends and relatives, can you hire a dog sitter or board the dogs? Since the dogs are important to you, you shouldn't give them up but find a compromise. That is what life is all about anyways.
My childhood was without dogs and I will never live without them again. They do however limit my other options but they are totally worth it.
 

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are your dogs human aggressive? because I also don't understand how they are or have limited you in the given situation.

I also believe this goes beyond being an introvert - crutches, isolation, solitary confinement, lack of trust, feeling wrong or like a coward.... these ideas are not synonymous with healthy introverts.

so again, I'm a little confused... perhaps you can provide more info or specific dilemmas?
 

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are your dogs human aggressive? because I also don't understand how they are or have limited you in the given situation.

I also believe this goes beyond being an introvert - crutches, isolation, solitary confinement, lack of trust, feeling wrong or like a coward.... these ideas are not synonymous with healthy introverts.

so again, I'm a little confused... perhaps you can provide more info or specific dilemmas?
A little confused also as to what the pups have to do with it? Im in introvert also but I don't have lack of trust, isolation etc.. I have a smaller group of people that i sincerely enjoy. Are your dogs people aggressive maybe?
 

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If you don't currently have friends or family that you socialize with, is it an option for you to venture out with your baby to meet others with new babies? Check in your area for Baby and Me type classes, sometimes churches have social groups for new parents. Meeting new people without the negative associations with your dogs might help you to feel more confident in your abilities.

I'm also introverted but my daughter wasn't. She's grown now but when she was growing up I really had to step outside my comfort zone and get involved with things like girl scouts, soccer and such to make sure she was getting what she needed. It was NOT easy for me, but I handled it ok.
 

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are your dogs human aggressive? because I also don't understand how they are or have limited you in the given situation.

I also believe this goes beyond being an introvert - crutches, isolation, solitary confinement, lack of trust, feeling wrong or like a coward.... these ideas are not synonymous with healthy introverts.

so again, I'm a little confused... perhaps you can provide more info or specific dilemmas?
It's basically due to religion. Family find the dogs dirty and it's not the norm to have dogs, especially indoor dogs and really kinda put her in a position to choose one or the other....well that is in a nutshell.
 

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Yes, the religious explanation makes the situation a bit easier to understand. But...I have no experience with that, so cannot offer any advice :(
 

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I think that compromises need to be made by all. They know she loves the dogs, they can try to at least not say anything and accept the dogs are there. She can maybe have family over and crate the dogs in another area in the home so they don't have to deal with the dogs. Now that the baby is here, I'm sure the family wants to be around him. It is her child and she has the right to choose for him to be around the dogs, they really shouldn't push their beliefs on her because it has pushed her away from them. A baby should bring everyone closer and the dogs should no longer be an issue, it's been years now that they have been around. Her decision to have them should be respected. If they don't want to come to the house, then she will have to compromise and go to them. If she goes to them they should just enjoy the visit instead of making her feel like she has to choose between dogs and family.
 

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I have to admit the dogs we had when my children were babies didn't live the life
that my shepherds did as far as training, taking them places etc. my children were grown when we got the shepherds. I also "made the mistake" of not letting people help, didn't want to ask or just doing it myself cause it was quicker or not have to bug somebody to get it done. I think you just have to think out of the box we put ourselves in a little sometimes. I too find myself " dreading" going out to a gathering or meet up because I'd be just as comfortable at home, but then you go and have a good time and glad you did. Babies open a whole new world, you don't have to be the top " soccer mom" to enjoy seein your little one shine/be happy! You'll learn to like it!!! Kind of a enjoyable "duty" as a mom! The dogs are a part of your life and the new baby, try not to look as something to redefine, but find new pleasures in. I like this last paragraph of this old poem,
Cleaning and scrubbing can wait til tomorrow,
For babies grow up, we've learned to our sorrow.
So quiet down cobwebs, dust go to sleep,
I'm rocking my baby,
And babies don't keep.
I hope you will be able to take a breath, exhale, relax with your new "pack"
Life is not perfect, there's a beauty to that!
 

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Zeeva, nothing ever stays the same and often when enough time has passed the hurt and anger gives way to wanting to mend.

I know that I would set aside anything and everything if it meant I could see my grandchild. Perhaps this is how your family is feeling but like you they don't know how to go about it.

My comfort zone also had to be stretched as far as people and groups are concerned when it came to my kids. I never really got use to it but I did it because of the joy I felt while watching them in sports etc. This joy will probably be you most motivating factor.

I truly hope that an opportunity presents itself to help you with the first step in making your situation better.
 

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Zeeva, you are between a rock and a hard place. How old are your dogs?

Could you find, through facebook maybe, some others of your faith who have dogs, and love them? I would think that they may be able to share some wisdom as many of us really cannot come close to the complete nature of the situation. If you can find one or two other mothers that share your faith, and your love of dogs, who live within a reasonable distance, maybe you can build a small group of friends that can help you not feel quite so isolated.
 
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