So…just before Christmas we got a dog.
A puppy, actually. She was ten weeks old when we adopted her from a shelter group. My son had been begging for a dog, a puppy specifically, for YEARS. My husband didn’t want to take it on. But, I felt a pull that it was the right thing to do.
I was wrong.
So now, we have a dog. She’s going to be huge. At 4 months, she weighs 28 lbs. She is smart enough to be hard to train. She bites. Well, they call it “mouthing” but when a dog is her size, it’s biting. She gets “puppy frenzy” and gets so crazed we have to crate her or hold her tight til she comes down. Efforts to teach her good doggie manners so far are mixed.
Everyone in the house is exhausted, and we’ve had to all change our processes so that she gets taken out on time, doesn’t spend too long in the crate, etc. We have walls built to block her from parts of the house, and we all have to climb over, or shift objects to get around them. The love seat is full of the dining room chairs to keep her from chewing on it, and now we all eat at the kitchen counter because there aren’t any chairs at the dining room table…
I’ve regretted the decision to get her. But my son is very bonded with her, and truthfully, I love the furry little bitch too. She has the sweetest face, and I know there’s the heart of a very good dog in there.
In the midst of this, in my excellent Leonie Dawson planner, one of the goals I set for myself in 2016 was to be more grateful in general. And specifically for what I HAVE.
Doing a six-week status update/review with myself last evening, I had to think a lot about 30 pounds of puppy whipcord and spring steel. And I realized that I owe her some gratitude.
Thanks to her relentless desire to be outside, and our lack of a fence, I’ve gotten to know my backyard again. I’ve been out at all hours and temperatures tethered to her leash while she finds the perfect place to deposit her umpteenth digestive action of the day. I’ve noticed in the dark, how lovely the Florida room looks at night, windows all around and and the light from within casting a glow.
I’ve taken a deck chair out to the middle of the yard and just sat so she could sniff and meander at the end of the leash. And looked up at a honk to see five Canadian geese do a low and slow flyby. A pair of hawks is nesting two houses over, and their flight path glides right over our house and yard.
I’ve given moments of love to our leaning towers of pine trees. Three of them in the back yard, all with about a ten degree lean to the northwest thanks to Hurricane Ivan’s fierce Category III winds in 2004.
Lamenting the lack of care that has allowed most of our yard to fall in to disrepair, I’ve found a way to put her on a stake and leash, and me to rake pine needles and pick up pine cones. I spent over an hour one crisp Saturday morning pulling prickly vines away from the house.
I’ve become an ant murderer.
My son and I have laughed over the torture of poop patrol, our noses stuffed with peppermint oil scented cotton balls. We work as a team to gather the crud – I spot, he scoops. The dog and the yard seem to run on a similar schedule. She needs a bath about the same time the yard gives off eau de manure to excess.
When he is in school and I am NOT substituting, I have to do everything in two hour segments. She naps I work. When she’s up, all attention is on her. Yes, JUST like a baby. This works some days and others thrusts me in to overwhelm, But no doubt, it is a discipline I needed.
And no matter how much I scold her, or fuss when she tries to chew on my Persian carpet, or bellow when she nips my tush…no matter what, when I come to get her out of the crate when I get home from school, or after we’ve been out for several hours, no matter what, she is so happy to see me. She wiggles and whimpers little happy sounds, and rolls over for a tummy rub.
I think then, maybe, I wasn’t wrong after all.