My Name Is Heather, and I’m Addicted To My Dog

Dog

My dog and I have a disturbing relationship.

We have best friends necklaces. Like real…best…friends…necklaces. Her half is on her collar. Mine is on a chain I wear around my neck. Both have the “in case I’ve been found” number on the back.

I routinely and out of nowhere break out into serenades to my dog. None of them really make much sense, but they’re often to the melody of either Moon River or Lady In Red.

When my dog climbs onto my lap, the first thing I always do is put my face in front of hers and ask “can you make sure my nose is wet?” Because you know, I sort of think I’m of the canine variety too. Well at least I started thinking that when we adopted our dog (two years ago).

For Christmas I gave my dog a heated pad to lay on and an expensive fountain. For her birthday (February 1st) I got her no less than seven toys. And I wrapped them. In a gift bag. Covered in dogs.

Then I apologized to her for making a mockery of her kind out of gift wrap.

For Valentine’s Day, my dog got me a card and a new paper towel holder. The card said she woofed me. I spent the next three days shouting “YOU ARE MY VALENTINE” every time she came into the room.

I’ve written about my dog on this very blog at least three times. I’ve never painted or drawn my dog, but that’s just because I see these drawings and paintings all the time of dogs in pajamas and I’m afraid mine would turn out like that.

That being said, I have photographed my dog 283 times. This year.

When I get a glass of water for myself, I share it with my dog. Actually, we’ve gotten to the point where she just leans over and helps herself without even having been offered any. Same goes for my food. The other day I was about to eat some cheese and crackers. I got up to get a glass of water for us to share. When I came back she had eaten exactly her half of the cheese and crackers off the plate. Exactly. No more, no less. I mean it was originally just for me, but she and I both knew I’d be sharing in the end.

My husband and children are absolutely disgusted by my relationship with my dog. Like grossed out. Like “GOOD GOD WHY NOT JUST RUN AWAY WITH HER” horrified with our love.

So I have two kids: 12, and 8. My husband and I don’t go out on date nights, but were we to we wouldn’t be missed by the children. And to be fair, we probably wouldn’t miss them much either. But the reason why we don’t go on date nights is because when we leave the house I whine about how much I miss the dog within five minutes.

I have Skyped her while out.

I could go on, but I think you guys get the point. I’m addicted to my dog. Obsessed with her to a level that is probably unhealthy.

But you know they keep saying in the news that such and such a study says dogs are good for people, and prolongs the owners’ lives and shit, so I’m sticking with that as enabling my addiction.

I think it all boils down to the simple fact that my dog tolerates me. She doesn’t talk back. She likes to cuddle and watch Netflix, rather than do things like chores and run endless errands to Home Depot. When I get home she’s happy to see me, which I can’t say the same for the rest of these people. And she accepts me for who I am, or at least I think she does.

It probably would have been more appropriate to just refer to this as my dog update, because the crux of all my other posts about my sweet Amelia have been along the same vein. She is a drug I cannot kick. A drug of wet noses, sloppy kisses, long days of napping and playing with a ball. I figure that as long as I allow myself to be addicted and officially obsessed with her, I can live the fanciful life of a dog too. Because really, who doesn’t accept that a dog’s life is the best of all possible lives?

 

 

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So I Wiped My Dog’s Butt The Other Night

We are on our annual, fall vacation. No big deal, just a little jaunt to Central Oregon to visit my husband’s grandparents and my great aunt. My husband drove us up, then after a few days flew home for work; the trip will end next weekend with him flying back to drive us back home.

There have been a lot of…shall we say…revelations so far on this trip. Realizations? How about realities. There have been a lot of realities presented to me in the few days we have been here; I am sure as the days unfold even more will crop up.

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1.

My dog is way cool with me wiping her butt.

Just when I thought I was never going to have any more butts to wipe, my dog got diarrhea.

The situation was as follows: we fed her a lot of different things on the way up and the first two or three days here, because – well – it’s actually really hard to travel with a dog that eats homemade food. Anyone who has ever had a dog knows that with the majority of them, a change in diet is a recipe for diarrhea all over your carpeted floors.

So we’re sitting there the other night, watching Full House (because what the hell else do they have on TV here in the middle of nowhere-Oregon?), and all of a sudden I realize that just across the room the dog is taking a massive shit on the carpet.

By the time the dog has finished and moved on to return to eating kibbles, my daughter has jumped up and yelled “it looks like chocolate pudding!!”

A wonderful visual for you all, I am sure. “It looks like chocolate pudding,” though, means one thing, and one thing only, to me: the dog’s got the runs.

So we get up to clean it and then I notice the dog still has “chocolate pudding” all over her backside. Being concerned that she would scoot around and destroy even more of the floor in this place we are guests (I mean, obviously at home I wouldn’t give a shit what she does – which says a hell of a lot more about me than I’d like it to), I realize the reality of what we have to do.

We have to wipe the dog’s butt.

I won’t go into any more details about this; I’ll just say that she was very OK with it. Disturbingly OK with it.

2.

My regular life is really stressful.

It always takes these little vacations, away from my daily reality and regular life, to get perspective on things.

The perspective I have now is that my regular life is really stressful. It’s full of problems I shouldn’t have to deal with. Stressors that are beyond my control, even though they should be within my grasp.

And my newest development: a myriad of bullies that I cannot walk away from, because – gasp, big surprise here!!! – they are family.

In fact, my myriad of bullies has stopped me from writing. Writing on this blog. Writing my next book (yes, there IS a next book in the works). Writing even in my journal – perhaps the most important part of a writer’s day.

Now I knew they were bullies before the vacation. I knew that if a family member told you you should move out of town, concluded with a “Bye Felicia” …well, if they said something like that, you could assume they were intentionally trying to be mean to you. (By the way, I had to look that up, because I had no idea what it meant – in spite of the fact that I’ve seen all the Friday movies.)

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And I knew that the gossip had reached a fever pitch, as well. It got to a point where I felt it was necessary to post this:

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But I also was trying to give everyone the benefit of a doubt. Maybe they were just joking when they told me I was an asshole for saying I was tired of cleaning up the mess from the renters that lived in the family condo we moved into in June. Perhaps excluding us, and only us, from family events was just oversight on their part.

I am far too nice.

Since we got here, I’ve been posting TONS of photos of family on my Facebook page. Every day. I haven’t heard so much as a peep from any of my bullies – big surprise, right? Then I realized that this is the way it ALWAYS goes. They NEVER pay attention to the good stuff. The important stuff. The positive stuff. The fun stuff.

But say a man accosted me in my parking lot and I’m not happy about it (true story), or that I got a bad haircut at a salon their friends work at (a real life tragedy), and they are ALL OVER IT. And by all over it, I mean sitting right there, just waiting to tell me to shut the fuck up, and that I’m wrong for whatever it was I did or said.

As usual, at the end of my vacation I’m affirming that I’m not going to tolerate it anymore. But, then again, I always say that…

3.

I am again reminded that if I want something done right, I have to do it.

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For some reason, I thought that we had reached a point where I could give a list of things that needed to be packed for vacation, and that those things would actually be packed.

The list was very simple:

  1. 2 outfits for cold weather
  2. 2 outfits for warm weather
  3. 3 pairs of pajamas
  4. 4 sets of underwear
  5. An extra sweater
  6. A jean jacket

Guess what was packed?

  1. 1 outfit for cold weather, pants don’t fit anymore
  2. Nothing for warm weather (it’s going to be in the upper 80s and 90s for the rest of our trip)
  3. 1 pair of pajamas
  4. 1 pair of underpants, no undershirts
  5. 4 sweaters, 1 sweater dress, 6 pairs of tights
  6. No jacket

What’s more disturbing is that there was a 20 year old adult (the babysitter) assisting in this endeavor, so I have to ask just why the shit my list wasn’t followed.

 

Nonetheless, I had a little meltdown about it today, because after all the expenses of moving and the possibility that my husband will be changing jobs and taking a slight pay cut in the near future, having to go buy ANYTHING, when we have plenty of perfectly adequate things at home, is upsetting.

So in short…

…this trip has been a little strange. Eye-opening. I’ve realized a lot, and been reminded that there really is no such thing as a vacation when you’re a mom. I’m still doing laundry every day; having to wipe everyone’s assholes; cooking, cleaning… It’s really just the same old shit in a different place.

But at the end of it, I will say one thing: it’s nice to have gotten my head out of the smog. Both the literal smog of California, as well as the metaphorical smog. There may not be anything I can do to change these situations in my regular, every day life, but at least I can acknowledge them and act accordingly. It’s much less stressful to know things for what they are, than to hide under the veil of denial. For that reason, and that reason alone, I’ll call this vacation a success.

Oh, and there is some pretty amazing shit to look at here too…

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I Have Another Baby, and This One Is My Favorite

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If you are a close and personal friend, or you follow me on any number of my social media outlets (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest – I’m a bit of an Internet whore), then you know I got a dog roughly two months ago. You would know this because my dog is basically all I’ve talked and posted about since bringing her home from the shelter.

I’m like a new parent. You know them, maybe you are one of them. Constant talking about your new baby. Every discussion leads back to your philosophies as a parent. Suddenly you are an expert at everything related to babies and kids, and by the way you are also the first person on the planet – apparently – to have one. At least thirty Instagram photos of the precious, new baby daily.

Only with me (this time), all this stuff is happening over a dog.

Today when the worm head from her tape worm finally came out as she shat in the living room, because she’s a puppy and completely un-potty trained; as I inspected the worm head in both horror and intrigue, I even considered posting a photo of it to Facebook. You know, to get back at all my friends that share photographs of dirty baby diapers, and exploding baby butts. Or because I was proud. Also because I wanted to discuss the efficacy of our deworming pill of choice.

You see what I mean?

1797629_743115439093_1755179033319100415_nWhen I say I have a new dog, and by that we’re talking about a puppy; I mean I feel like I have a new baby, as I said as though I’m a new parent. This creature; this new entity; my newest little-bitty baby is my favorite of all the people in our house that I am responsible for. This includes, but is not limited to, my husband.

You know kids always ask their parents “who is your favorite,” and you’re supposed to say “I love you equally,” or “you’re all my favorite?” None of that bullshit here. My favorite is the dog.

Everyone’s just going to have to wrap their heads around it, because that shit is not going to change.

Here are some details to help you understand how I came to this conclusion:

She’s about one. She’s a shelter dog – because really, who buys bred dogs anymore? – and she was likely attacked before being brought to the shelter, as evidenced by her utter fear and terror of other dogs. So basically she’s a new baby. A needy, new baby.

I’m a big needer of others in need.

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We named her Melia. It’s short for Amelia Earhart, the pilot. I am the only one allowed to refer to her as Amelia.

When she came home from the shelter, she basically sat on my lap and slept the entire first two days. Shelters can be pretty exhausting, and she seemed to be really overwhelmed; so for two days she slept on my lap. I even considered buying a baby carrier so I could get some shit done.

Maybe this was a ploy to wrap me around her little paw. If so, it worked.

When we take her out, she always comes in smelling like oregano and rosemary. There are no oregano or rosemary plants outside, and the bushes don’t smell like anything particular. But somehow, it happens every time.

Those happen to be my two, favorite seasonings.

I bought her a bed for every room in the house. That way she’d have a place wherever she was comfortable – I mean, our house is pretty big, and I didn’t want her to feel as though she was left alone. So she got three beds.

And yet she sleeps in my bed. Either under the covers at the foot, or on my husband’s stomach. It’s something he’s learned to deal with.

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Melia is a Norfolk Terrier, so she’s pretty tiny. She weighs about 8 pounds, and I say “about” because she’s filled out since we first brought her home. So she may be more. This might be a good time to mention that I make her dog food from scratch. Every two or three weeks, a big batch goes in the crockpot and is frozen in separate baggies.

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I am that pet parent.

Above everything, though, she is a very good dog. She listens and is obedient. She comes with me just about everywhere, and is polite and quiet. She rarely barks. She never bites, unless she’s trying to play which is a nip and she’s just about beyond that.

In fact, the only nipping she does anymore is when she bites me in the ass to try and get me to play with her. Literally. In my ass. She might be trying to tell me something, though…

So basically: besides the biting my in my ass thing, she’s much nicer to me than everyone else in this family.

10473115_750085740553_243068384676887694_nWhy Amelia is my favorite of all these people around here, though, is that she – as is the case with many other dogs  – seems to be more in touch with human emotions than even some humans are. When I am happy, she plays. When I am sad, she sits on my lap and doesn’t leave my side. If I am in need of snuggles because I had a bad day, she just so happens to nuzzle her wet nose in my neck, falling asleep like an actual, little baby.

My husband never nuzzles his wet nose in my neck when I’ve had a bad day.

Perhaps it is just a coincidence, or – again – nothing more than a dog manipulation device. Inside her tiny, quiet, little head she’s calculating just how far she needs to go to get exactly what she wants. How to get me in the palm of her paw, permanently. Some people would argue that. I, on the other hand, can’t fathom such a thought.