Monday, January 12, 2009

Dog Baby

To quote myself:

I'm not a parent, and never plan to be, but every once in a while I get some glimmer of what it must be like to have kids. My dog is not one of those spoiled, anthropomorphized pooches with a miniature futon and different "outfits" for special occasions. She is a furry canine who sleeps on the floor and eats the best darned kibble I can afford. But I cannot deny that whatever few ounces of maternal feeling exist in me are dribbled softly all over her. Which works for me; no diapers!

My first "Oh, now I get it" moment was when I was about 16 or 17, closer to a child than an adult, and it was the family dog that brought it out in me. She helped me get the "I'm only making you miserable because I love you" side of parenting. She wandered too close to the road (we lived in the country, and the dogs were quite good about sticking close to the house), and scared the bejeesus out of me. As I was soundly chastising her, the little lightbulb went on. Yes, it is possible to purposely hurt someone you love, in their own best interests.

This weekend's lesson wasn't nearly as fun. It was the "Oh my God; can't I even pee without you needing something??" moment. I now understand why mothers of toddlers sometimes have to hide in the bathroom. It wasn't that Rosie was doing anything atypical. The morning started out as usual: roll out of bed and try to walk to the bathroom without stepping on the dog's feet or tail, as she dances around me, licking my hands in alternating fashion and sniffing loudly. (She does this weird sniffing-out thing when she's anticipating some excitement, like getting the mail.) This is even more fun when you consider I'm trying not to wake Miss Chef, while walking bleary-eyed across a dimly-lit bedroom.

Sunday morning, it didn't work. One sniff too many, and Miss Chef was awake. Oh well, I tried. I finally managed to make it past my furry obstacle course to the sanctity of the powder room. And of course, when I open the door, there she is, leaping up for more. Now I have to walk through the maelstrom again, to find some pants and a sweatshirt so I can let her out to pee. Not that she has to pee, but you never, ever know. God forbid I just get up, go to the bathroom, and go back to bed. Nope. Every move is accompanied by just enough enthusiastic dancing to make it possible she just might need to go out.

I was actually kind of glad that Miss Chef was awake to witness my "Can't I even pee??" moment, so I didn't have to explain it to her. She has already commented more than once on Rosie's need to follow me everywhere; I've read that it's a sign of separation anxiety. From her resistance to entering either bathroom and her general dislike of enclosed spaces, I've concluded that, as a pup, she was left locked in the bathroom while her owner was at work (or out partying, who knows?). She's not too bad when she's alone, especially if we're on a schedule she's familiar with, so I'd say her "SA" is minimal.

However, she was having big issues Sunday. Miss Chef and I had finally gritted our teeth and committed to de-Christmasing the house. Not that it was an-all day affair, but still, it's a many-step project. Bring the boxes in from the shed (wait, I think we're missing one...where's the little box for the Santa ornaments?), try not to undecorate in the wrong order (Crash! Whoops, forget about those ornaments on the garland), stuff everything into the appropriate boxes, jigsaw-puzzle them back into the storage closet, discover you forgot to take the lights off the tree before putting the boxes away, drag the tree out and discover the base has been leaking for a month and a half.

So for several hours, we had the living room furniture shoved out of the way to make room for all this, and this apparently made Rosie very uncomfortable. Even Miss Chef, who is normally a bit jealous of my "leader of the pack" status, finally had enough of Rosie's overwhelming attention. "You have the best ability to be exactly in the way, did you know that?" she told her before putting her on the line. Again. We don't like to leave her out there for a long time, especially once she's lying on the patio staring at the back door, so she was on and off the line about 3 times. During the "off" periods, she was constantly winding her way into our paths, which is even more annoying when you've got a double-handful of fragile ornaments.

After we had the pine needles (mostly) vacuumed, the water (mostly) sopped up, and the furniture re-arranged, I finally sat down and said to Rosie, "Do you need some attention? You know, I still love you, even if I have been annoyed at you all day." At that moment, I could just imagine reassuring a 3-year old that Mommy still loves you, even when she makes you cry.

The great thing is, dogs get over it quickly. They don't dwell; they forgive and forget. I don't have to worry about whether I traumatized her poor developing psyche by making her feel unwanted for a day. Nope, just make sure she gets a nice long walk and some kibble, and let her sleep by our feet while we watch a movie, and all is right in Rosie's World.

So, while I may feel sometimes that I do have a furry, four-footed child with extraordinarily bad breath, I am always very aware of the fact that I've got it relatively easy. If only I could teach her to do the dishes. (and not with her tongue!!)

FYI, my posting may be a bit less regular for the next several months. Miss Chef's schedule has changed, so she will now be home THREE nights of the week! Which I am definitely looking forward to, but when it comes to choosing between this blog and Miss Chef...sorry, Miss Chef's gonna win every time. :)

1 comment:

  1. A - I haven't peed by myself for 14 years. You may thank Augie.


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