Introducing Toast Taylor


Greg’s been saying for about the past five years, “Kepler needs a dog.” I’ve been saying for about the past five years, “I can’t imagine adding a dog into this household.” Sometimes it was more like, “ARE YOU SERIOUS.”

It wasn’t that I didn’t agree with him; I just didn’t see how I could add another living creature into the mix, especially since when this conversation started five years ago, all five kids were living at home, and I had no positive experience with owning a dog. So, I think it’s safe to say that five years ago, what I was saying made a whole lot of sense for our family.

I didn’t see it as possible for me to adopt a dog from the pound or rescue a dog. We did look into a rescue at first, but the dog Greg found online turned out not to be a good fit for us. I didn’t really understand why until I read that a dog should match the energy level of the family or be lower energy than the family energy level. The rescue dog was very high energy and would require a GREAT deal of training; something I simply could not do. But I came to believe eventually that it would be good for Kepler to have a pet companion. Through a series of many baby steps, I heard about Toast’s breeders from another family who had one of their dogs.

I wanted to name him Mr. Rochester, after the dog who took care of Charles Wallace in A Wrinkle in Time, and call him Rocky for short, but Toast seemed to be the name that stuck for Kepler, so after about 24 hours of having him home, I decided we’d go with Toast.

For the first time in my life, I understood how important it was going to be for me to be the alpha dog here and establish my authority over him from the beginning. We have a family member who is a virtual dog whisperer who is helping me so much with training Toast in these early days. I have so much to learn but i AM learning. And Toast is quite a dog.

He’s a Labradoodle and has a temperament suited to being trained as a therapy dog or a service dog. We’ll decide about this in the next few months. I don’t know all the ins and outs of the training for the different types of pet, but have my hands full right now with all things puppy.

BLAH BLAH BLAH. I discovered today my patience DOES have limits. I discovered today that Kepler is adjusting to having a new being that also gets my attention by ramping up his questions, comments, requests for help, and other attention-getting actions. I discovered today that I remember why I used to be irritable when I got too much sensory stimulation. And I discovered today that I have resources now that make it much more possible to find my way out of a downward spiral, and that spirals are still going to occur from time to time.

I was going to go to an alanon meeting tonight. It was so good last week, but more than anything tonight I just needed a little break; some quiet time. It’s been awhile since I felt this challenged, so I’m getting lots of practice seeing the challenges as opportunities. Though sometimes I feel like growling, I try to give myself and those around me grace, and trust that I can say yes to what is. 

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