“Are our dogs really annoying?” I asked Josh recently, “Or am I just really crabby?”
It didn’t take him long to respond that it was probably more the latter.
“Shit, I was afraid of that,” I said. “I’m just so tired all the time.”
I’ll defend myself briefly by adding that in addition to having one wonderful human child who is almost two, we have a three-year-old Husky-Collie mix and a six-month-old Lab mix. Juna and Jack are, for the most part, very sweet dogs. I recently told my mom how crazy they’re driving me and she said, “You always say that, but they seem so nice whenever I’m there.” Clearly, I must be having a particularly bad bout of “feeling possible.”
Yesterday, when I was out walking the dogs, I came upon a fellow brave soul who I see on the path almost every day. I think her name is Julie. Every time she sees my dogs, she goes crazy, especially over Jack. This time, she went so far as to say that he’s the perfect dog—exactly the type she would want if she got another.
I’m not even sure exactly what kind he is—we suspect that he might have some Pomeranian in him. He looks like a Lab, but he’s kind of runty and has been known to speak his mind with the dreaded yippy bark. He redeems himself with his willingness to cuddle, which can be quite relaxing on a cold winter’s night.
I’ve been making a conscientious effort to appreciate the dogs and have more patience for their antics. At times, this can be difficult, especially when they wake me up in the middle of the night to go potty. Hello—I’m a sleep-deprived pregnant woman, and I have to get up to pee enough times myself, thank you very much. And once I drag myself to the backdoor to let the dogs out, I quite often wind up sitting at the dining room table, eating cereal and surfing the web in the dark. I’m not a great sleeper.
So, like I said, they drive me crazy, but I’ve been trying.
Tonight, Linnea and I were working on the laundry downstairs for ten minutes or so. She is becoming surprisingly helpful with both laundry and unloading the dishwasher. I’m praying that she will retain the desire to please her mother as she moves beyond toddlerhood.
When we came back upstairs, Juna and Jack were devouring the carcass of a rotisserie chicken, right on the good living room rug. For once, I caught them in the act! Scolding dogs is entirely pointless unless you can do so while they’re still engaging in the undesirable behavior. For example, if I find a chewed-up shoe but there’s no dog in sight, I’m shit out of luck (this is not a hypothetical example). The guilty dog would have no idea what was going on if I went and yelled at her.
Since they were right there in all of their guilty glory, I shouted, “Bad dogs! Leave it!,” and the they backed off their prey. I shooed them outside and started to pick up the chicken. Linnea was in the background, parroting me with glee, “Bad dogs, bad dogs, bad dogs!” The dynamic duo had retrieved the bird from the kitchen trash can while we were downstairs—let me add that neither of them is capable of actually retrieving something that we want them to retrieve—and there was other garbage strewn about the kitchen as well. As I stuffed everything back into the trash can, I muttered under my breath, “Oh, great. Just great.” And from the other room, I could hear Linnea saying, “Great, dogs, great!”
Needless to say, this episode left me feeling quite humble. Hearing my own words from the mouth of a two-year-old, I recognized how crabby and old I sounded. Was this the kind of behavior that I wanted to model for my child, and more importantly, is this the way I react to her when she’s the one causing trouble? Lord, help me.
So, I don’t have any great insight here, except that I am tired, and I may need more naps and a better sense of humor. I’ll try to remember to laugh as I scrub the rug tonight—not only to remove the smell of lemon rotisserie chicken, but also to work on the ink stain caused by Juna’s pen-munching session this afternoon.
I Want to Know
Do you have any pets?
If so, what’s the most exasperating thing they have ever done?