Disclaimer: This note is not about teaching but in a way it is. Enjoy
Confessions of a Failed Doggy Momma
Okay, dog lovers, let me just say up front that I have nothing against dogs. I just have never wanted one and, now that I have one, find that I am not cut out to care for one. However, more than that, I do NOT like to fail so I’m doing my best. I do love this little fur ball but he is more than I can handle! This all goes back to my childhood, I’m sure.
I never had a dog of my own. My mother had had some dogs growing up but they were hit by cars and she was fairly traumatized herself. We had dogs living on either side of us. Spartan was a mutt of some sort and Pug was, well, a pug. Both dogs ran free and chased me and my friends through my yard many times. More than once they chased us up one of the two climbable trees in the yard. They were constantly barking and snapping. My poor grandmother, who was always sweet and mild- mannered, was bitten by each dog at least once. Her only crime was getting out of her car and showing her fear of the dogs. Needless to say, my experience growing up was not the best when it came to dogs. My only other close encounter with a dog came when I was pregnant with my second child. I sat down at the breakfast table at my in-laws’ house in my robe and slippers and crossed my legs. I hadn’t noticed the dog under the table and apparently my foot touched her and startled her so she turned and bit me. Despite the fact that I had to go get a tetanus shot, everyone present wanted to know what I had done to cause the dog to bite me. So, I never had become a big fan of dogs.
My daughter, on the other hand, has wanted a dog for as long as I can remember. I think she has asked for one every birthday since she was five. Her dad always promised he would get her one when he could be home more and we could fence in the yard. I continued to find reasons why we didn’t need one. First and foremost, was that I felt that after the children were potty trained, I had no intention of picking up the poop of anything I didn’t give birth to. I also knew who would be saddled with the majority of the doggy care and that just did not appeal to me.
It happens that my daughter’s birthday falls on Christmas day due to my poor calculating skills. I have always felt some small measure of guilt over this (although I don’t think she has ever been short-changed in the gift department). But this year was her 21st birthday and I really did want to give her the gift she wanted most. So… I Caved!
From the start my husband and my daughter insisted that we needed a manly dog, thus ruling out anything with poo or doodle in its name. I, on the other hand, imagined a quiet, non-shedding, low maintenance lap dog. FYI, Dooley is not that! He is a most adorable bundle of energetic fur and has the most beautiful blue eyes. What’s not to love? And he does love to lick my face. Actually, I’ve kind of learned to enjoy the doggy kisses.
His barking, chewing, mania and messing were much more tolerable when there were other people living here with me. But now both kids are back at college and my husband is working out of town long term. So it’s just me and Dooley. It has been 5 weeks since I could sit and read or sit and knit or just sit. If he doesn’t want to play, he is asleep at my feet but if I move at all, he wakes up and wants to play.
He barks at the vacuum, the broom, a bag of garbage by the door, my bag for school or anything else that he just noticed. He barks at the rocker that has been in the same place since he came to live with us. It seems that he only just now realized that it moves, especially if he touches it. He can bark at it for a solid hour. He barks at anyone new he sees, even he sees them every day. He just noticed the birds, chipmunks and insects outside and now he stands at the window and barks at them. He barks!
He recently decided that he prefers to use the bathroom inside rather than outside. I had thought that was settled by the time he had been here a few weeks. He also decided that sleeping through the night does not appeal to him.
AND HE CHEWS things. He chews all tissues and paper towels left in his range, he chews his beds (3 so far), the baseboards, leashes (he has chewed through 5 of those while he is wearing them), socks, garbage, and, mostly recently, my brand new Lace Toms Shoe! That sent me over the edge.
If I’m not hyper-vigilant, he runs away. And I’m not talking about leaving the door open. Remember when I said he chewed through leashes. Yeah, while I’m standing right there holding the other end. I’m sure the neighbors get a kick out of watching me chase him through their yards. Me…I don’t enjoy it much.
I try to be a good doggie momma but I tend to try to buy his good behavior with treats. Apparently that is not a good dog training plan. But that’s not too far removed from my parenting style, I’ve been told. I clean the poop and play Dooley ball in the yard for at least 30 minutes any day that it isn’t raining, make sure he has food and water, bathe him, give him his heart worm medication and flea treatments and I cuddle him and talk nice most of the time.
Oh, let me explain Dooley ball to you. It is a game involving 2 old soccer balls and a Frisbee. It is part dodge ball, part keep away, and part chase. I throw the Frisbee or kick the ball and he chases them or grabs them in his mouth and will not give them back until I wrestle them away from him. If he has the Frisbee in his mouth, he herds the balls together so I can’t get any of them but if I dare go inside, he drops them all and sits just inside the door whimpering until I come back.
I’m just stressed. I never imagined that I would be the 24/7 dog person and hopefully soon I will have him fully trained for his real mommy! Oops there I go spoiling her again! I love him, I really do! This week, we are going to see what happens when he is neutered. Rumor has it that this may calm him down. I’m not holding my breath. After that, it’s training or maybe even doggy boot camp. That costs $800, but as I said, I Do Not like to fail! I WILL conquer this little bugger! But my next dog will definitely be a sissy lap-dog!