As you all are aware, Puppy Girl isn't getting any younger. In fact, she's just over 15 years old and has arthritis and a little dementia. Two weeks ago, we made the difficult decision to move her puppy bed out of our bedroom and down to the main floor of the house. We were afraid that she would fall down the stairs on one of her many trips to the back door and water and food bowls during the night. We also started taking up her food and water bowls after a certain time of night, so she could sleep through the night (and so could we). Puppy Girl was fine with the bed; in fact, she likes having it in the living room. As for the food, so long as we fed her immediately before we took up the bowl, she was fine with that too. The absence of the water bowl infuriated her. Trust me, she gets plenty of water during the day and evening, so dehydration is not a concern. She also does not have diabetes. She just likes something to do at night. In the 14 years that Puppy Girl has been a member of our family, she has never taken a drink from the toilet. Heck, I didn't think she knew it contained water. Until this week. I woke up to water on the toilet seat, water on the floor, water trailing from the bathroom, ....and an accident by the back door. When the water bowl goes away, the toilet beckoned. We now close the toilet seat as well.
Funny thing is that I see Puppy Girl's behavior in the Trenches all the time. Just last month, a client came to see me because her spouse had filed a complaint against her with child protective services. The complaint was dismissed, and before she could catch her breath, he filed a motion for protective order on behalf of the child. You can be sure if that is dismissed, which it likely will, he will find some other avenue to make her miserable and punish her for leaving him. I've seen it time and time again. When a spouse is determined to punish the other, they will succeed, and shutting off an opportunity for that to occur just means they look for another way in.
Luckily, the converse is also true. Clients and attorneys who are determined to settle their differences out of court in a way that works for everyone involved usually find a way to do so. If one attempt doesn't work, they keep looking for another. It's why collaborative process works. I have had numerous cases in collaboration where spouses have reached agreements that were final and non-modifiable, and yet, have come back to the table to renegotiate those "final" agreements because circumstances caused the agreement not to work for one of them. They just keep brainstorming options until they are successful. Kind of like Puppy Girl discovering the toilet, don't you think? Here in the Trenches.