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Unhealthy Attachment? Codependency?

It was never the plan. I was as free as a bird and enjoying my new life after my nest emptied. Frequent travel, a budding writing career, and an empowering new church home occupied my time. That is until 18 months ago. Something dramatically changed. It arrived in the form of six extra pounds that I carry around — on the outside of my body. Of course I’m talking about my adorable dog Toto. He has positively impacted my life with unconditional love and laughter as well as 24/7 companionship. And I have changed his for the better as well. We have an incredible bond and it’s wonderful, but ...

Toto can’t survive without me! I’ve actually cancelled trips, skipped social activities, and still continue to make adjustments to my schedule to accommodate our beloved new family member. Recently a friend’s comment that I was no longer an empty nester caught my attention and got me thinking: “Does Toto have an unhealthy attachment to me and possibly vice versa? Has our relationship drifted into a codependency?” According to one definition, codependency is “excessive emotional or psychological reliance on a partner, typically a partner who requires support due to an illness or addiction.” Excessive reliance? Indeed!

One problem is that I’m pretty sure Toto likes the situation just as it is. Counseling is also not an option — there would likely be more barking than talking. I love Toto, but I need a better balance. I miss the freedom I had to travel BT (Before Toto). He needs to be trained to become more independent and comfortable around others besides myself.

But a big obstacle is that I think Toto’s codependency is a result of his makeup — his breed. When I rescued him, I was told that he was likely part chihuahua and part Yorkshire terrier. After a quick Google search I learned that chihuahua’s are “intensely loyal and will become very attached to their owner.” Yorkies are extremely loyal too.

So it looks like Toto and I are stuck with each other. As for travel? Well at least he’s small so I can take him with me!

And our yellow brick road journey continues ...


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