Say What?

What I say to John and what John hears me say have never been the same message. This is primarily because he is a man and only listens to the first half of the first sentence I speak. The rest fades into the “Wah, wah, wah, wah” spoken by adults in Charlie Brown cartoons. However, the last few years have taken a drastic turn for the worse fueled by the failure of his hearing. At the end of most of our conversations where we try to sort out the misunderstanding from a previous conversation, I find myself hearing the prison warden from Cool Hand Luke say, “What we’ve got here is…failure to communicate.”

Our conversation regarding his recent trips to Colorado fly fishing and Wisconsin on a bear hunt illustrate exactly what I mean.  He must have felt guilty about being gone five days to Colorado and then leaving a week later for six days in Wisconsin because he made a comment about leaving me at home to hold down the fort.  I told him I wouldn’t mind so much if there weren’t so many dogs to feed and water.  His only defense was the claim that if you were going to have any dogs at all, it didn’t take that much more time to care for eight than for one.  I vigorously disagreed, and went on to say that all I was asking was a little consideration of my opinion the next time he wanted to get another dog.  That was a pretty clear request in my mind not open to interpretation.

We have had nine dogs for the last four months because another dog owner found out about the bear hunt and asked John if he would take his dog, Amber, to Wisconsin to see if she would trail a bear.  John thought if Amber was going hunting, she needed some time to bond with him so she has been our “guest” all this time.  John’s plans rarely follow the course he lays out so it was no surprise that Amber came “in season” just a few days before the trip which meant she had to stay behind.  He took Razor and Nicki instead.

I was a little surprised that he took Nicki because she has not turned out to be much of a trail dog at all.  She had run into a wolf pack as a young dog, and she was either emotionally and physically damaged from the attack, or she had some other trauma we never knew about because we were never able to bond with her, and she was an outcast from our pack from the first day.  John tried everything to bring her out of her shell and even had her spayed so I thought she was a permanent fixture.  Even though she still had a long way to go, I was totally shocked when he got home and told me he gave her to a guy in Wisconsin.  When I asked him why the guy wanted her given her temperament and personality, he said he paid him to take her.  That was totally unexpected as the person WITH the dog is usually the one who ends up receiving money in the exchange.

Oh well, I wasn’t that attached to Nicki and it was one less mouth to feed.  When I asked John when he was taking Amber home, he said since he got rid of Nicki, he was thinking about asking Amber’s owner if there was a possibility that we could just keep her.  Apparently what he heard me say was that as long as he didn’t go over the eight dog limit, he had complete latitude in his dog acquisitions.  Say what?  Clearly, what we’ve got here is a failure to communicate!

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