Friday, August 14, 2009

Dog Days

We have three dogs, well because I don't have the good sense God gave me (as my mom would say). It is a little ironic because I never really considered myself a dog person. I consider myself more of a cat person, for which I have two. As for dogs, we have Elmo, a 13 year old beagle, Sushi, an eight year old mutt who looks like a Dingo and a 17 month old puppy who is half Boxer and half Rhodesian Ridegback. We named her Sashimi, Sasha for short.

I grew up with lots of cats and dogs. I think once we had over 20 cats because my mom never fixed our cats and consequently, we could have up to 3 new litters at one time. Now that I think about it, I don't know why she never fixed them, maybe it's a cultural thing. I personally believe that cats are easier than dogs. I know there is a lot of hate out there in the world for my furry feline friends but I don't care. To know cats is to love them.

I got my puppy Sasha in the fall of 2008 a few months after I was laid off and I was experiencing a moment of weakness and vulnerability. I was supposed to be out buying a lamp and to my surprise they were having adoption day at Petsmart, right next to the store I was headed for to shop for lamps. I love to look at the puppies so I decided to take a little detour to cheer myself up.

And there it was, that face! I had to hold her. A few of her litter mates were cuter but there was something about that face! I asked to hold her and she immediately curled into a ball and nuzzled her way into my neck and fell fast asleep. I was in love! She slept in my arms for a good twenty minutes while I contemplated the future of my marriage if I dared bringer her home, we already had 2 dogs. I knew if I called and asked my husband about it he would refuse me. Although, I did make one feeble attempt to call and since no one answered I took that as a yes.

I have been married for 15 years and I consider myself to be a very pragmatic and reasonable person. But not this time, I wanted it and I was going to have it, to hell with everyone else. Something for me and only me, decided by me. I mean really, what was he going to do, leave me because of a dog, I can handle the silent treatment for a few days.

I drove up to the house, with puppy sitting in my lap and to my good fortune my husband was standing outside talking to the neighbor. He looked over at me and then the smile immediately disappeared from his face, he turned and walked away from as I pulled into the driveway. "Oh crap" I thought. He called the kids out and said, "Look what your mom did, and don't get attached because it's going back!"

The kids squealed with excitement and said "Oh mommy, she's so cute!"

So I spent a lot of money and time on this dog, who of course immediately got sick and needed supplements and special dog food. She had bad diarrhea and it was raining all the time so she had many accidents in the house because she hated the rain. I nursed her back to health and bought her cute pink collars with matching leashes, which she promptly chewed to bits. More collar and leash purchases, more destruction. She got bigger and bigger and bigger and each time, larger collars need to be purchased to fit around her neck, which met the same fate as the previous sparkly adornments that I could never resist.

I watched The Dog Whisperer every day so I could be the best mommy possible. I was determined that she would be the best dog in the world. We ventured to our local dog park like they do on TV, because it just the place to be for any self respecting dog lover. She made fast friends and was the life of the party and mommy got to socialize with all the other "Mommies" and "Daddies".

We spent close to 2 hours every day at the dog park and I found that each day seemed to fly by so quickly. How many hours a day was I spending on this dog? It was like having another child! Perhaps she was exactly what I needed, a project. After all, I had no job and my future prospects were quite grim. I think it was a great thing for me, even though it made absolutely no sense on paper.

Sasha is now as much a part of this family as the rest of us, whether they have 2 legs or 4.

Unfortunately, Elmo's health has taken a sudden decline since his 13th birthday just this past February and I can see that it is time to make that very difficult decision. His arthritis is so bad that he can only walk on 3 legs and he is beginning to lose control of his bodily functions. It is very sad to watch, sadder still to see my husband in denial about what he needs to do. I understand, so I do not push him too hard about it. I only wish he could see that the time has come to say goodbye to his friend who was there for him when he was weak and vulnerable.

Cheers to Elmo and all that he has given to his daddy!

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