Tuesday, October 12, 2010

How Kathleen Got Her Groove Back

I'm finally ready to talk about this. The whole ordeal has been both a relief and a heartbreak. I think I made the decision the morning I was standing outside in the monsoon in my pajamas and bathrobe. Gales of wind were blowing the sheets of rain horizontally under my umbrella thus soaking my PJs and robe. It was cold and being soaking wet in the wind didn't help.

I had spent the night downstairs near the dog crate. The dog was on her third bout of diarrhea, and I needed to be near in case the urge hit her in the middle of the night. I did not want to have another 3am cleaning of the crate like I had experienced during her first bout with diarrhea. So the night had passed (uneventfully, thankfully), and here we were outside in the storm. I knew she had to go. But she wanted nothing to do with it. Apparently, Crazy Daisy wasn't too fond of the elements either. And there she sat, water dripping from her ears, her puppy dog eyes imploring me to take her back in.

"Not until you've gone," I told her. "I know you need to go." She started to shiver. And just then a school bus full of teenagers drove by. I'm sure they had fun tales to tell at school that day of a bedraggled housewife and her stubborn dog.

It wasn't just her chronic problem with the runs that made her the most difficult part of our transition to our new home. The main thing was the fact that our lives were forced into revolving around this dog. We'd be out at church or running errands. "We need to hurry home. It's been 5 hours. The dog can't hold it much longer." We would be planning a great outing--"We can go to NYC for a couple of days" or "A day in Boston would be so much fun". But then it would dawn on us. The dog. No 1 or 2 day outings. And no one up here to take care of the dog. True, some new friends offered, but I couldn't pass on a squirty dog to friends, especially new friends. And what if she developed the squirts again while at a kennel? I had visions of having to return early from fun family trips to pick up a runny dog from the kennel.

Then there was the fact that our lives at home revolved around this pooch. Even though we kept her in her crate when we absolutely needed some sane time to ourselves, she had to come out some time, and that time was spent trying to rescue kids' toys from her or cleaning up shredded Kleenex. I am convinced the canine was half-Hoodini; even though the cat box was gated off, I would lose track of her for 2 seconds and find her feasting on cat yummies. Lovely.

It wasn't all on me. I divided the day into shifts and gave one shift to each of the 3 older kids. During his or her shift, the responsible child had to hang out with the pup, keep her out of trouble, and take her out to potty. Turns out pets actually require work. Who knew? There was lots of whining, complaining, wailing, and gnashing of teeth: "Is my shift over yet?" "Can't I just put her in her crate for my shift?" "Do I have to do my shift?"

I know I've mentioned this before, but I LOVE the idea of a dog; I just don't like the reality of a dog. And my kids are the same. Once they realized how much work a dog requires, they weren't quite as enthusiastic. I suppose I was just as naive. I grew up with many, many pets--dogs, cats, guinea pigs, hamsters, goats, rabbits, chickens, ducks, bush babies--but they were never that much work. They were outside pets, and we missionaries had house help who could care for the animals when we were on vacation. There was never a worry. Having a pet here in a America--especially a dog--I just don't see how people do it. We just could not live happily with our schedule being dictated by a dog.

Don't get me wrong. Daisy was a fabulous Doodle. But she was all puppy. Anyway, I ended up calling a rescue number and asked the operator if she knew of anyone who was interested in a labradoodle. Within 10 minutes I received a call from a vet who said she knew a family who had just lost their doodle, and she was pretty sure they would love to have Daisy.

So, long story short, Daisy has a brand new home. And life is much easier here at home. I miss her though...with my heart anyway. My common sense tells me I am much happier with my newfound freedom to go where I want to go for as long as I wish. And to not have to go out in minus 1000 degrees to wait for a dog to pee. Yes, I have definitely gotten my groove back. And I think the cat has as well; she is happy to be queen of the house again.


Bunch of Barrons said...

You are much more patient than me...I think I would have found Daisy a new home much faster. But I know it's easy to get attached to pets. I can't have pets in the house we are in now, but we had a cat before that we loved SO much.

dclouser said...

I can only imagine what a pain it is having a dog in a cold climate. Dogs are high maintenance no matter where they are, but in CT I can't imagine having to take one out in the winter! Hope the kids are doing okay with this and that you all are able to be more mobile now.

Arby said...

Two dogs, six chickens, three fish, three children, and a wheelbarrow full of "I hear ya!" Good choice.

CrossView said...

LOL! Poor you! What a pain! Sorry I'm laughing. But the visual of you and Daisy in the rain... ;0)

At least the kids can't whine about the choice since, being kids, they weren't too gung-ho about the work part. You can wait till they're older and give them the bulk of the work. mwahahahaha!

Hope you get a full night's sleep!

tsinclair said...

I know it is much more peaceful now, which is good for you and therefore the entire house. :-)

At least everyone was in agreement and she is in a good home. I think puppies are best for people with no children or grown children.

Remind me that I said that when we start considering another one. :-)

Amy @ Cheeky Cocoa Beans said...

I knew I had missed something...I'm sorry it was such an ordeal. That's pretty much my feelings on getting a dog, too--I'm the only one in the house who considers that a dog, especially a puppy, is a LOT of work.

So, no more about how we need a dog, OK? ;)