This weeks blog is a little late, not because I have been particularly busy, but we have had a crazy few days with the dogs that has driven me to the Baileys bottle, ok long story, so lets start at the beginning.

Once upon a time in Sue’s dream world, everyone was respectful, considerate of others feelings, never yelled at and certainly nobody lashed out…well I did say it was a dream.

This week, our house has been turned upside down because Luna our Petit Basset Griffon Vendeen suddenly took an intense dislike to Lyra our 2nd oldest Miniature Schnauzer. Lyra is 5 years old next weekend, scared of her own shadow some days, and other days quite the confident little dog, prancing around like a princess. I wouldn’t say she is aloof, she is really good with other dogs, she knows her social etiquette and sniffs in all the right places when greeting a new friend. This being said, she can appear a little snooty at times and known to raise her eyebrow at people or dogs she doesn’t care to associate with…but thinks nothing of losing that persona if she or one of her puppies are threatened…and she did…

Luna, is a hound dog. Totally crazy, normally a happy dog with a constant wagging tail, but a little clumsy when it comes to greeting people into the house. She has a deep loud bark that feels like it’s been stolen from a St Bernard. She also has a total lack of awareness that her 15k of muscle is sometimes a little too heavy to sit on your knee…very loving, however, she is not to be trusted with cats, rodents or fluffy creatures…she is a hound!

Once on a lead it’s nose to the ground and everything else disappears for Luna…all that matters is following the scent…boundless energy means she would walk all day if we had the energy to keep up with her.

So back to the story, a couple of weeks ago, Luna began sleeping in longer than the rest of the dogs and when she eventually did get up, she was becoming increasing aggressive…growling and being generally grumpy until this week, she decided to snap at Lyra…so Lyra snapped back.

If any of you have seen 2 dogs fighting…it’s very scary.

After several ‘dog fights’ (and were no talking a scene from Top Gun – this was real aggression) it was clear this situation was not going to resolve itself…panic set in and my immediate reaction was Luna’s going to have to be re-homed…she clearly wasn’t our happy little dog.

So we have been juggling the dogs around the house all week, separating Luna from Lyra, introducing short supervised visits and generally policing behaviors…and it’s still not resolved. So when they both had to visit the vets for a booster yesterday, Lyra was sat in the front of the car with Luna in the back being supervised by Jezz…there was an occasional growl coming from the back seat (and it wasn’t Jezz).

So where are we now? Suspected phantom pregnancy…hormones!

Although I am not convinced it’s the whole story, the diagnosis is that hormones are causing Luna’s erratic behavior…this very diagnosis reminded me of how bad behavior can sometimes be excused away.
How working in an office can sometimes breed bullying – and this has made me feel very angry. Mainly because there are so many people that have been bullied quietly and subtlety, who don’t speak out or if/when they do, are labelled as ‘trouble causes that cannot adapt to change’ or being ‘over sensitive’ – excuse my language but bollocks…nobody deserves to be bullied.

Bullies are very frightening…actually it has taken me a long time to see that some bullies are just like Luna…scared, unable to work out what is wrong with them, so they lash out and hurt other people. And that’s not excusing their behavior, there is always something wrong at the root of a flower that is not blossoming…but whose responsibility is it to find the cause and apply the correct treatment to the plant?

I mentioned a few weeks ago that I was bullied as a child and I can accept, to some extend, childhood bullying. Not because it’s acceptable but because we are all capable of it and it’s where we learn its wrong.

I feel this is where the problem lies. Some adults don’t learn that they can’t yell at somebody across the office, or talk about their co workers negativity…this is just plain and simply bad behavior, but for some, it’s normal…early learning patterns are hard to break and you have to be aware of them in order to break them. So when you hear ‘it’s hormones they can’t help it’ that’s usually not the whole story.

Bullying anywhere is wrong but in the workplace i feel it is often ignored…’your are paid to work together, so just get on with it’ smacks of lazy and irresponsible management.

I have learnt lots over the past 2 years about how our early childhood patterns shape the way we live out our lives. How the way we are raised impacts so much on our adult life, but I have also discovered that it’s not a given, paths can be changed, it just takes determination and the right support. I have not been immune to the fairground ride that pulls you in…I think it’s very difficult in a culture that finds gossiping an acceptable behaviour to stay completely clear of discounting others…and that’s not an excuse, we are all human and we all make mistakes. I think my biggest mistakes have been my strongest lessons.

I have become aware that certain environments allow bullies to grow because they can serve a purpose. I believe, all it does, is create fear that keeps people from speaking out…does this sound familiar?

Luna is accountable for her behavior, whether it’s hormones or not…yes, of course we have to play our part. We have been advised to walk her 2/3 times a day to tire her out, be patient, give her lots of love and support, and re-assess her in a couple of weeks. It’s our responsibility as owners to make sure we create the best environment for our dogs, after all they are our family…and like most families, there are ups and downs that have to be managed with love.

We now know Luna is not bullying Lyra, but on the surface, in the first few days we thought she was just throwing her 15k around…it may not all come down to her hormones, there maybe some change of hierarchy within the pack, after all, they are animals and relationships change, but it is never an excuse to bully…it’s it my responsibility to make sure that any potential poor behavior on Luna’s part is managed, that I also ask the question…what is the matter Luna? How can I help you feel better?

If you know somebody that is being bullied…please don’t let them be silenced…ask the question – what is the matter, how can I help?

Luna always a friend to a new puppy

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