This is a hard thing to admit. That your dreams for this dog don’t align with the reality of the dog in front of you.
I’ve been through it twice now. Risa was supposed to be my sports superstar and my do anything, go anywhere dog. She wasn’t. Kyu was supposed to be the same. He had so much potential in sports and the confidence to back it up. Too bad training is a huge challenge with his GI problems and I’m not sure his current body condition is suitable for the activities I had hoped to do.
It’s frustrating. Especially when there is no where to place blame. It wasn’t Risa’s fault she was so afraid. It’s not Kyu’s fault he is chronically ill. Though I have made mistakes along the way, it’s not my fault either. (Though I typically do blame myself when there is no tangible target. It’s unhelpful.)
I know the idea is to rearrange your goals. Find new things to do together. I’m 100% behind this. Agility never panned out for Risa so we found freestyle instead. When training became more frustration than fun, Kyu and I started hiking. It doesn’t change the fact that I’m frustrated about how things worked out. How my plans were foiled by factors I had no control over.
I still love my dogs even if they weren’t what I’d hoped they’d be. In some aspects, they became more because of who they were. I was able to find a different side of them to appreciate that I might not have otherwise. It’s a hard lesson, though. Plus it’s still not easy. Sometimes, you just want to enjoy your dogs. Sometimes, life doesn’t give you that easy option. It’s hard to enjoy your dogs and your relationship together when you’re both struggling. It puts that bond on the line. Will the bond break because the struggle is too much? Or will it be forged stronger? It’s hard to say; we all have different journeys.
It’s okay to admit it’s hard. It’s okay to admit it isn’t what you expected. It’s okay to be disappointed. It’s okay to be frustrated. Just don’t take it out on yourself, your dogs, or those around you. Reach out for support if you need it. Find someone to vent to if you just need to clear the air.