Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Don't Let Me Breathe On You

I had grand plans to come back here this afternoon and write something delightful. Hell, I had much less grand plans just to come back to the last post and write:

Edited to Add: Thank you to everyone who has stepped into the photo challenge now!

Didn't do that either.

Since just about this time yesterday I've been getting sick. Slightly painful swallowing has escalated and creeped upward into a headache and being very aware of my sinuses. Inside my brain some local news stories feed my greatest phobia and make it seem a little less ridiculous, which makes it more frightening, and there is a grinding noise that is the repetition of all the things I should be doing, should already have done, that I am not and have not.

When I first got this dog I think people worried I would send him back. I think they forgot that I'm the person who doesn't ever re-arrange her furniture. It's a big deal for me to put the furniture in place because, for me, it's going to stay there forever. And a day. So when I said I was taking this dog I was taking him unless there were something seriously wrong with him or his people definitively re-appeared. The moment I bought him anything more than a bag of kibble was the moment I agreed to keep him forever. And that day.

Perhaps we should take a moment to reflect on the absolutely horrific precedent this sets for me and dating.

Moving on!

Getting a new dog, any new dog, is an adjustment. I knew that. I anticipated it even and it's probably why it took me so long to say yes. Then one day I was on Petfinder looking at rottweilers and the next day someone delivered what I am now expertly advised is a min pin/chihuahua/terrier mix. So, there was that added surprise. And, don't get me wrong, I like him. I like him a lot. He's a good snuggler and he is just the right kind of goofy and it's simply nice to have a dog around, dammit. But I'm still adjusting at my tree-like pace.

Someone said back in those early days, "This time next month you'll feel better." I tried not to laugh because I had been telling myself for days, "It's OK, this time next year you'll feel better." She seemed horrified when I told her and I considered that maybe I was being too pessimistic. But here we are a month later and I'm getting sick. I'm getting sick because it's fall and kids are back in their petri dishes/schools then riding the subway next to me. I'm also getting sick because I'm getting a minimum of one less hour of sleep per night, not counting the ones lost to ridiculous fears or raucous neighbors. And every waking moment is highly charged. Right now, every interaction we have, me and this crazy pup, counts. Every time I fail to give him a time out for nipping or chasing cats, every day he's not off leash yet, every time he offers me eye contact and I fail to reward it* are steps back from our ultimate goal of living a normal life with a happy, well-trained dog. I'm out walking and training 2-3 hours a day and playing and training indoors another 2. (I'll post a picture of my walking/training attire. You'll get a kick out of it.) The world hasn't ceased to spin while I do those things, either, so I'm keeping up with commitments made before dog and going to work and trying to follow those pesky dreams and utterly letting down people who won a contest in July.

This adjustment is going to take more than a month.

I need a nap. And a day off. And a pet-friendly workplace. And a few thousand extra dollars in disposable income. And a full time pool boy/dog walker/sex therapist (pictured).

But you don't get that with a dog (or a kid, or a job in the CIA). You gut it out and put in the work (even when you're sick) and you get the full reward of a lifetime of enjoying your dog and, even better, having other people enjoy him. I'm tired. I'm really, really tired.

But I know it'll be better this time next year.

*Note to self: Must buy spray cheese.


  1. I'm going to say it again; I LOVE the way you write. This section really hooked me:

    Perhaps we should take a moment to reflect on the absolutely horrific precedent this sets for me and dating.

    Moving on!

    I'm almost afraid to ask, but I'm going to, anyway. Spray cheese?!

  2. Sister, I hear you. When luxury is an uninterupted hour long walk with the dog with noone waiting for you to get home and the dog not yanking you down the street, well, I hear you. Hang in there and feel better.

    Chili, dog training reward. The dog loves it and in theory, your hands don't get treat covered. In practice, you feel like Kraft macaroni when it's all over.

  3. I'm assuming the spray cheese is dog related? cuz I know you don't do the oreo/spray cheese without me.

    there's a tone, sometimes, to this whole experience...and maybe I'm just reading into it, but there are times when it seems as if you're sad you didn't wind up with a big dog. large dog. horse dog. whathave you. You've always said you trend more to the bigger ones (don't we all honey. don't we all) I have never been around you with a puppy before. When we met you'd had Em for awhile, way through this training, exhausting, newborn no one sleeps and I want to hit something stage, so I dont know how you act. or the dog acts.

    but are you? happy with the dog? I hope so. You are a more committed, focused, detailed Mama than I've ever seen. Beyond admirable. trophies. blue ribbions. gold medal worthy.

    I'm sorry you're sick. If I had any wish, I would be next door to take some of the duties, and make you some chicken pasole to soothe your soul.

    and chocolate.
    and some pacey.

    and some spray cheese. I'd go buy that for you.


  4. wow. look at that.
    just call me Mamo.

  5. ditto Mrs. Chili, and I hear you on the petri dish thing ... v. glad at this point in the year that my kiddos marinate daily in our home petri dish, not the PS one. How is Eddie as a running partner? Might be a way to share park time some mornings ...

  6. I've had the crud for a week now. I feel better, but sound worse. Feed the dog some turkey tonight. Tryptophan works on dogs too.

    I wish we had been as disciplined as you when we first got Hooper. He's not a bad dog, but he could be better trained.

    Try to get some rest.

  7. A month after I got my dog (a 6 month lab at the time) I sat on my kitchen floor and cried about how overwhelmed I was and how NEEDY she was, then someone suggested I give her back to the shelter and I went from crying to sobbing, "What? I can't give her back!?" It has been 10.5 long and wonderful years - if it gives you any consolation she is FAR from what one would call perfectly trained, but over time we developed an understanding that goes along with her training - it's really interesting, sometime she selectively listens and I know she is doing that, but the times when I really I mean really need her to listen, she does. Hang in there and feel better soon!

  8. Woo hoo, new dog!!