In Georgia, everyone has a crazy pit bull and they are just called “dogs.” Upon returning to the North, I learned I have a “reactive” dog of the “bully breed.” I would like to state, before I get too deep into this, that I believe pit bulls get a bad rap and are loving, sweet companions. My pit bull, T Rex, was rescued from a dog fighter, acts crazy, and thus fits pretty neatly into the stereotype. Needing to reintegrate into society, we signed up for a Reactive Dog Class (the polite way of saying aggressive). In this course, I mostly learn about myself (I am too silly, I need to be a bigger presence, jokes about aggression don’t land in this crowd), but I’ve also had to learn something else: how to cook chicken. Because I am a recovered vegan, my dog has never tasted such a thing. His food has always been meat, but not from my table. Last week in class, our trainer offered him some chicken and T Rex suddenly saw no other dog in the room.
Sometimes love means accepting something you find disgusting. All challenges follow the classic coping steps.
1. Wipe That Look Off Your Face (Denial)
Guess who cares that you’ve never been to the meat section of a grocery store before? No one. And don’t get all high and mighty, telling people, “it is for my dog” because you’ll sound nuts and/or snobby. Regardless of the motivation, this is what you buy now, so stop making nauseated faces.
2. Just Pick Something Already! (Anger)
You can look at the different cuts all day, but you are wasting time and you don’t know the difference anyway. A chicken thigh? Whatever! Just put it in your basket under the apples and kale because you are ashamed and have misplaced angry feelings about change.
3. eHow is your eFriend (Bargaining)
There is no negotiation here, letting chicken sit in your fridge for 3 days is not putting you closer to an angelic dog. Too embarrassed to ask for help? Turn to eHow. This site is for absolute idiots and stunted adults like yourself because it breaks down every step of the process. Human friends will tell you to “just put it in the pan” but they are assuming you know to wash the chicken off first, not let it touch anything, and clean up behind it. Turns out this meat is terrifying, and it is trying to kill you, so follow the dumbed down steps very carefully. If you can get it in the pan, allow yourself to drink a beer.
4. Is it safe? (Depression)
Who knows! There is really no way to be sure. People suggest you to use your “meat thermometer” and you’ll giggle thinking that is a funny word, but it is a real thing you don’t own. Whatever, just cook it for 30 minutes longer and watch TV. It’s for your dumb dog, he’s not even going to chew it, let alone judge if it is overdone. What is the point really?
5. Get Over Yourself (Acceptance)
It is said that if you love something, let it go and it’ll return to you. This can also work for things you hate and suddenly you find yourself welcoming chicken back into your life. You are over 30-years old! You don’t have the energy to fight all the battles you used to fight. Open your heart and your stomach. If you don’t, people will call you a bully and then you are like your dog. Turns out that is another thing people say. Try not to react to it.