Booted out of Puppy Class! (Bipolar-Related)

4-up on 2014-06-06 at 17.50



Some of you already know about what happened to me and Lucy last weekend.  The Incident took place just before our third Petsmart puppy training class began.  

Indulge me in a little bit of backstory.  During our first two puppy classes, my American Collie pup Lucy, my two girls and I were asked to remain behind a blanketed fence during instruction for the duration of each sixty-minute-long session.  We were asked to do that so Lucy wouldn’t bark constantly and distract Belinda, our young instructor, or provoke the other three puppies in attendance.  I understood the need to be “in hiding”, and while I was less-than-thrilled about it, of course I acquiesced.  I was also advised to buy Lucy a harness; it was supposed to safer on her trachea area in her neck when she pulled forward relentlessly and control her much better than a standard leash would.  I bought one right away.  I’d do anything I possibly could do if it meant helping Lucy be healthy and happy.

After the first class I asked Belinda for her opinion about the doggie calming bites, calming gels and calming sprays I noticed for sale on the supplement aisle.  She told me using those products for Lucy would be like giving chamomile to someone with a full-blown anxiety disorder!  I understand exactly where she was coming from with that analogy, as I’ve suffered with anxiety for years, but I bought the stuff anyway, hoping for a miracle!  (Belinda was right – the calming bites and gel didn’t work, but  I was soon tempted to try them myself!)  

As we headed out of the store, Belinda walked beside us and told me, “Lucy will probably need additional training apart from what this class can provide, such as private lessons.  I’ll get you a flyer  -hang on a sec!”   As Belinda got us the information, I knew in my heart that Lucy was special and I wasn’t offended by her suggestion.  However, I was stressed out about our finances and the private fees were not cheap!  I put the private session topic on the back burner in my exhausted brain and we headed home…


Last Saturday was a heatwave and our third Petsmart class took place at 3:00 p.m., the hottest time of the day.  I gathered Lucy and my daughter Marilla, grabbed the required bag of puppy treats and drove us to the store.  It was quite a workout for me to simply make the thirty-minute drive because my anxiety had skyrocketed due to a medication change.  I wasn’t going to let that get in the way of Lucy’s canine education, however.  We arrived at the store early so we could walk Lucy up and down the air-conditioned aisles to bring down her massive energy level – my fluffball could light up a city with the exuberance she has at almost five-months-old.  (In hindsight, this was not such a wise decision.)

Then a few things happened that got me even more anxious than I already was.  

Lucy decided that it was the perfect opportunity to relieve herself in the middle of an aisle.  It had to be #2, and it was a lot of #2 – she was saving it up for a special occasion, I guess!  

Now, when other dogs get near my beautiful beast, she pretty much goes batsh*t woo woo around them.  Barking, lunging, you-name-it.  All twenty-eight pounds of her.  Honestly, it’s as if she’s possessed or auditioning for the role of Cujo’s kid sis in “Cujo Two”! 

I’m a pretty strong mama, but when Lucy decides to act as if she’s channeling demons, it takes every bit of my strength to keep her leash tight in my hand and restrain her as much as possible.

So there I was, crouched low in the aisle using items needed to clean up the poop while simultaneously holding onto Lucy’s leash.  Petsmart has convenient cleaning stations scattered throughout the store, thank goodness.  

While I frantically cleaned up the mess, a hip couple came strolling towards us with their dog, and you can guess what happened – Lucy started flipping out.  Now these idiots didn’t do the kind, intelligent move, i.e. walk in the opposite direction so I could clean up the shit in peace and so my dog wouldn’t go after their dog.  No……they had to continue to mosey on by while birds chirped and violins played in their heads.  I wish I had a video clip to show you of this scenario as my words don’t do it justice  – it was one of those moments that pales in the writing.  

The good news is that I didn’t throw shit at the self-absorbed Wonder Twins and Lucy didn’t walk through her poop mountain either – at least I was quick enough with the clean-up.

It was time for class to start.  I was ready to get it over with.  I stood near the room’s entrance with Lucy andMarilla and lo and behold, a customer and his little dog walked near us.  Lucy went off in her inimitable “The sky is falling!!!!!” style in which she practically levitated.  If her pretty little head started circling around a la Linda Blair in “The Exorcist”, I wouldn’t have been surprised.  

The teacher strode up to us.  My first thought was, “Dammit!  I’m in trouble.”  Although Belinda is in her early twenties and I’m twice her age and I’ve been a junior high school substitute, I actually get intimidated by anyone in an “authority” position.  It’s ridiculous.  I’ve cried in front of police officers for the dumbest reasons you can imagine.  My authority fear factor is grist for another blog post, though.  Back to being booted out….

“I think that it would be best if we don’t have Lucy in this class,” she said.  “She’s barking so much and she’s aggressive – technically we’re not supposed to have aggressive dogs in class.”

My face turned red and I got even sweatier.  I could feel  rivers start to flow underneath my arms.  Marilla wasn’t aggrieved by our being singled out, as she’s a very confident six-year-old, but  I felt like a BAD PUPPY MOM!

“Why don’t I call you and see about transferring a credit for you to have private lessons?”  I nodded my head in assent.  “That sounds like a good idea,” I mumbled.  I just wanted to get the hell out of there and find some gourmet chocolate ice cream to soothe my humiliated soul.

How is this bipolar-related?  Well, it’s going to be a stretch, but I can do it.  When Marilla, Lucy and I reached the sweltering parking lot outside Petsmart, a handsome young man called out to me.  He sat on a sheltered bench with his enormous Malamute mix, a magnificent dog who had so much dark shaggy hair that I felt sorry for him. (He looked a little like a Wookie!)  




He asked if Lucy would want to meet his dog!  

Well, while my jaw dropped as I took that in, a pretty girl walked towards us and when she passed me, she said in a rude, snarky tone, “That would be a train wreck!”  It was an innocent-enough sounding sentence given the situation, but  it was her tone I had the problem with.

At that point I was so physically and emotionally depleted, plus it was 85 degrees and I was sweating from every pore.  When that girl snarked past us in her flouncy dress that probably cost three times as much as my outfit, she pissed the shit out of me! 

Now, the unstable Dyane, i.e. the woman on wrong bipolar meds or no bipolar meds, would have called out to her in rage.  

“Fuck you!’ might have been one zinger I would have spat out at her.  Or “Why don’t you come and say that to my face, bitch?” would be another.  Oh, there are plenty more ribald sentences I could have hurled at her despite Marilla’s presence

But I held back.  Meds do that for me now. But they don’t totally squelch my vibrant personality!

This is what I decided to retort off the top of my head:

I love nice people!” I said, loud enough for her to hear.  This is progress, bipolar-wise, as far as I’m concerned.  I’m no longer easily triggered, looking for a fight.  While I was angry at the girl and wanted a target for my frustrations, I was able to move past it and focus on the matter at hand.  Without an F-bomb!

“Snarky” didn’t look back at me but she continued flouncing into the air-conditioned store.  I feel sorry for the cat, dog, fish or rodent that she must own.

Meanwhile, the young man left his dog sitting calmly behind him as he walked our way.  I swear that dog was the Dalai Lama of dogs, and he was fine about his owner walking the twenty feet over to us.  The young man had observed Lucy’s behavior in the store.  “I’m Matias,” he said.  “I used to be a dog trainer.”  He had a kind face and I didn’t feel judged or intimidated by him in the least.

“Hmmmm!” I thought.  “I wish he had been our teacher!”  While I wasn’t able to hire Matias on the spot, he seemed open to giving us a little free advice.  One example is that recommended offering Lucy a treat in the split second when a dog walked near her and she hadn’t yet barked as if it was an Olympic sport.       

I was upset from my store experience.  I asked Matias if he thought that Lucy was a hopeless case. “Far from it,” he assured me.  “It’s certainly not tragic.  She would need consistent training, but she’ll be fine.”  Matias gave me hope and made me feel better.  I figured he knew what he was talking about as his dog was incredibly well-behaved.  As we drove out of the lot, I saw Matias riding a bike with his dog trotting perfectly beside him.  Heads turned at the pair – they were quite a sweet sight.

As I drove back home, Marilla and I agreed that some locally made Polar Bear Ice Cream at our local coffee shop was in order.  I looked forward to getting my favorite flavor, the fittingly named “Dirty Paws”.  (SO GOOD!) Life would go on and I knew that I’d feel better after I blogged about my Petsmart afternoon.  And I was right about that! 😉




24 thoughts on “Booted out of Puppy Class! (Bipolar-Related)

  1. You are quite the writer, my friend! I was with you for every sweat inducing moment. That was so funny–I hope you can look back and laugh now, or at least some day soon! And I hope you got Matias’ number for dog training!

  2. My god, woman, you are a stronger woman than I. I would have been Linda Blair myself in that situation. With the the brain-dead couple and the shit-pile, long before the getting kicked-out, even. But had I made it through that, then been asked to leave class, there is likely no way I could have held back the “Fuck you”. You tried and tried and tried that day. Good for you and good for the nice trainer-man. Yes, this was a blog about BP. No need to try and justify it, ever.

    • I love all your comments Beth! They make me smile, I always learn something from them that inspires me, and they just make me feel good! I think you would have held back from morphing into Linda Blair too, though – being the devoted dog lover that you are, I can’t see you going apeshit in front of your pooch.

      It didn’t hurt that the nice trainer-man was really cute – he’s not my type and I love my husband, but still, it was like looking at a pretty view and that view lowered my blood pressure. Plus he had such a Zen vibe – maybe he was hypnotizing me like one does with a snake!

      I’m off to finally comment on your blog at BP (Bipolar) Magazine now. I tell you, I got out of the habit of reading the BP blog posts ever since I started blogging. Moreover, since I knew your post wasn’t there I didn’t feel particularly drawn to it, although I enjoy Wendy K. Williamson, Jon Press and Melody Moezzi’s writing. So here I go and here’s the link in case anyone wants to check out your heartrending, amazing post. (I already read it once!) xoxoxox Dyane

    • Thanks again SOOOO much for this nomination! YOU deserve it! I’m super-glad the award was bestowed upon you.

      I appreciate your understanding that I’m satisfied with the peer awards I’ve already received, which I’m too lazy to post on this blog! 😉 (Two Liebsters and two Very Inspiring Blogger awards and now this sweet Sisterhood of the World. My head is getting pretty big!)

      Like I wrote on your blog (I think) if anyone wants to give me a cash award, however, I won’t pass on that one. 😉

      Take care & have a wonderful day!!!!!

  3. I’m SO glad you liked it, Barb!!!!!!!! It was so funny!!!!!!! I do see that now. I did get Matias’ # but he’s only in town another week and the credit @ Petsmart is the way we must go, unfortunately! 😦 I have a tiny bday present for you I want to drop off before we go to Tahoe. Will email you. XOXOOX

  4. My dog, Bailey (a pitbull mix, which gives me anxiety when people react like “Get your pitbull away from my dog!) barks a lot in PetCo’s Adult level 2. He is not aggressive but talkative, a trait that he does not have at home. It gives me great anxiety. I can tell that my meds are NOT working.

    • Oh Jen, I feel for you! I’m so sorry that you get so anxious during the class; believe me, I get that way too. 😦 At least Bailey not aggressive, but still, it sounds incredibly stressful all the same. Does the trainer single you out at all? Give you any useful advice about the “talking”?

      And I’m also sorry people flip out at you so rudely when *they* bark at you to get Bailey away from their dogs. That sucks. I loathe people like that, frankly.

      I used to take anti-anxiety meds of all kinds and due to abuse issues I had to quit. Now I take Rescue Remedy & homeopathic stuff but they don’t do much to quell the anxiety. I mention this because I wonder if a) you take any anti-anxiety meds? (if I may be so nosy as to inquire, and b) if you could take one before Adult level 2 class starts so you don’t have to suffer quite so much. I’m guessing it’s not an option…but I thought I’d put it out there.

      In any case, hang in there. It sounds like you are a dedicated, loving pet owner. Bailey is lucky enough to have you take him to class! Take good care, thanks for reading and thanks for taking the time to comment.

      Dog owners (moms) rock! 😉

  5. Oh I am so sorry you and Lucy had to go through this. I certainly can feel what you write although I never owned a pet in my life. As far as your progress bipolar wise is concerned, you did a great job. Be proud of yourself.
    I can totally relate to how blogging can help u feel better. I myself see this amazing medium as a day saver.
    I hope things get better with Lucy in time. My love to Lucy and the girl.
    Take good care and hope u have an amazing weekend. Thanks for writing ! I always love to read your posts

    • Dearest Z, my friend. Your consistent, thoughtfully written comments and heartfelt support mean SO much to me, I can hardly express how grateful I am for both gifts!!! Not to mention your love! 😉

      It’s harder having an energetic puppy than one realizes. My six-year-old told me yesterday that she noticed it took “a lot of work to have a dog!” ;))) Oh yeah!

      Dogs are like children in some ways – you can form attachments that are much deeper/loving than you’d expect. Lucy has bonded to me more than anyone else in my family, and so I feel guilty in not being able to get her to behave any better. We have our private session with the Petsmart teacher on Monday. Of course I’m nervous about it. At least it’s only 1/2 an hour, and I won’t have to deal with other dogs, and it’s a huge gift, actually. Very luxurious! But we’re only going to hit the tip of the iceberg, I’m guessing, in terms of helping my sweet pooch in that short time. We don’t have $ for ongoing private lessons!!!!! I’ll let you know how it goes on Facebook!

      I always love to read YOUR posts and I hope you will share another one with your readers soon! In the meantime, I wish you a wonderful weekend and I send you a giant hug! Love to your family too, Zeph!

      XOOXOXOOXO always,

  6. As you know, Dyane, I can 100% relate. Our dogs are both Cujos when in the presence of other dogs, squirrels, rats, cats, gardeners… You name it, they get over-excited and aggressive and territorial and LOUD. Best of wishes training Lucy. I haven’t the patience or energy to train our two. I just let them play with each other and drive us up the wall with their barking. Yes, I do see myself as a “bad dog mom.”

    • I will never call you a “bad dog mom” to your face! At least your dogs have one another to play with, which is wonderful. Before Lucy came into my life I had two dogs named Tara and Shera and I purposely wanted two dogs so they could provide company for one another. Their temperaments were not Cujo-like for the most part, although Shera could get all freaky from time to time. You are not a bad dog mom at all! I totally don’t blame you, Kitt, for not having patience or energy to train your dynamic duo! I don’t have much energy and patience left in me, to be honest….

      So I have my private class Monday and if I can just get one piece of helpful info. from the teacher, it will make it worth my while. I need to get Lucy to cool it somehow – at least she does play with her two brothers who live locally, but she can only see them once in a while due to the owners’ schedule. I give her tons of love and attention as does the rest of the family, but it would be nice for her to make a few canine buddies too. I’ve heard from a few other dogs moms, i.e. blogger Elaina Martin, who wrote about how incredibly difficult their dogs were at first and then lo and behold, things got better. I hope that magically happens for us but I’m not holding my breath for it either! 😉

      Next week we take Lucy with us to Alpine Valley on our annual pilgrimage to gorgeous Tahoe. We stay at the same place each year and the owner likes us, so she gives us an affordable deal and we cook most meals in the kitchen. Can you imagine Lucy going on the Squaw Valley gondola with other dogs? I can’t! Even if I hold her the whole way (which is impossible as she now weighs almost 30 pounds!) Not sure how that’s going to turn out – maybe I’ll just have Craig take the girls up there and Lucy and I will stay in the village and watch all the rich people and their pampered pooches – from a distance! Or better yet – find a trail we can hike. I’ll definitely let you know how that goes! As always, thanks for writing and even more thanking for truly “getting it”!!!! XO

      • Enjoy Lake Tahoe. We married at Cal Neva, and my parents honeymooned at Squaw Valley. A few years ago we vacationed at Mammoth and took our 75 lb labradoodle Thumper. Unfortunately, I had to spend most of the trip in the cabin with him because we were not allowed to leave him unattended, and he pulled when I tried walking and hiking with him.

  7. Sorry you had to deal with so much idiocy, courtest of PetSmart. The name of the store is quite the oxymoron, isn’t it? That instructor probably thought it wasn’t worth her $7/hour to deal with Lucy. Oh and I applaud you for not body-slamming that bitch outside the store!! Well done!!!

    • As usual, your comment made me laugh, BOF! We actually called Petsmart “Petsfart” but now “PetsSuck” may fit the bill. I’m not sure yet! I always think of things I could have done in terms of reacting to rude people. I grew up with a professionally trained actress mom who did all kinds of crazy crap in public. (Thanks Mom!) Oh, and she had a slight hostility “challenge”. One time someone was nasty to her and she started talking back as if she was really drunk & she was quite believable – it was so disturbing! I admire her for her chutzpah, though. I must admit it!

  8. Sounds like quite an adventure Dy. Growing up we had a german shepherd and he was out of control. He ruled the roost and that was a big mistake. I have since learned that feeding dogs before you eat reinforces them as pack leader (even of the humans in the household). I have never tested the theory though.

    • I had no idea about that theory, Glenn!!!! I’ll have to look into it! German Shepherds are so strong and when they become out of control, wow – that must have been a handful, I imagine! I looked into service animals and noticed that they were among the top three breeds used for that line of work. Lucy came across not one, but two very large German Shepherds the other day when I went to pick up my girls at camp. What did she do? Flip out and lunge at both of them, of course! I was so glad the least didn’t break in two! I stopped bringing her near dogs after that. Smart move, eh? Good to hear from you, my friend xo p.s. once again, that portrait you posted was MAGNIFICENT!!!!!!

    • Awww, thanks so much, Just Plain Ol’ Vic! That’s what I wanted to elicit from writing this post more than anything: a bit of humor. There were a lot of funny moments that took place in that freaky Petsmart emporium and parking lot, and I am so glad you read it and took a moment to comment.

      Hope this finds you doing well and I’m sure I’ll have more kooky stuff to share with you about what happens with me and my furry gal down the road. She’s never boring!

  9. I can so relate to this! My sweet Kelderly (AKA Diva Dog) was the same way and with people. In the 5 years we’ve had her she has mellowed out tremendously…just don’t pet her head if you’re not family. 🙂 There is hope! I love the way you write. I could totally picture that couple waltzing through Petsmart. 🙂

    • THANK you for giving me hope about Lucy, Susan, and also here’s a BIG thanks for the compliment about my writing! I can never get enough of that! 😉 Ever!

      Kelderly is a very cool name, by the way. I wonder how you came up with that!!!???As you know with my two daughters’ names that were inspired by L.M. Montgomery, I adore unusual names. Diva Dog is hilarious too!

      I get a lot of people (especially kids) asking if they can pet my Lucy. I say yes, but I warn them what will happen first. Lucy loves to jump on people (out of love) and she wiggles so hard with delight that it’s like she’s full of little firecrackers! She jumps quite forcefully, so that’s a concern, and she scratches quite deeply with her nails (despite the vet clipping them) AND she also tries to nip/kiss folks in the face, but it’s totally out of affection.

      Still, it could potentially hurt them so I warn them to keep their faces back. No one who has asked to pet her has minded her reaction yet. I never let little kids get near her, though. I’m not that dumb!

      As I write this, my furry, loving beast snoozes oh-so-peacefully besides me. One would never know her Other Side. The irony is that I know when she gets much older I’ll miss this stage, and I’ll romanticize it. Kind of like how I wistfully remember Avonlea and Marilla they were babies who didn’t talk yet, and and who didn’t ask me a million questions and commands like “get this for me and “get that for me, Mom” and “I want a $125 American Girl, Mom, no, make that two!”

      But the bottom line is that it’s really hard to have my daughter, I mean puppy, flip out at her fellow hounds. I hope she starts to realize they aren’t all The Devil!

      Thanks for reading & commenting, my dear! You know how much it means to me.
      Lady Dy

      p.s. Lucy barks hello!

  10. oh Dyane! I feel this way sometimes when my 2 year old throws a fit in public and onlookers love to say things like, “I would never allow my child to do such and such behavior.” It’s SO annoying. I feel your pain here. I can totally relate to the sweaty moments and the heat too!

    • Hi, awesome mamawithtrainingwheels. Thanks so much for reading & for commenting! Yes, you truly understand my pain! 😉 My Mom, a former award-winning theater/television actress, would do truly bizarre stuff in public if someone made a rude comment or was obnoxious to her, like talking in some weird fake accent or acting drunk.

      It was kind of funny….unless you were her daughter standing next to her! 😉 I don’t think I could pull that off – I’m very shy in public!

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