Disclaimer:I don’t really understand or participate in the whole hashtag culture…at all and I didn’t even know what YOLO stood for until maybe last year.
As you might’ve read in my recent Leibster Award post I have a dog (and a cat, pony, and gecko but they’re irrelevant here). You probably also saw that I attest I am NOT an animal person.
Maybe you’re wondering how someone who claims to not be an animal person ended up with such a menagerie…
Yeah me too.
But somehow I did.
Most these animals ,all the furry ones, have been acquired over the past year and a half. It started with the dog.
My youngest has always LOVED dogs but we moved a lot (A LOT!) and always rented which makes having a dog difficult. Then, finally, two summers ago I was able to buy a house.
It was a big deal, getting this house. It meant stability, a sense of security and relative permanency. Since buying the house coincided with the dissipation of my marriage, and therefore the crumbling of the foundation of my kids’ world, stability was important.
I had hoped to be moving early in the summer and had mentioned the possibility of getting my youngest son a dog for his third birthday that August. We, my kids and I, visited the Humane Society a couple times over the summer and looked at the dogs but we couldn’t get one until I closed on the house and we could move in.
The closing kept getting delayed, pushed back for various reasons. We spent the whole summer in limbo consumed with the process of financing and purchasing a home. Well I was consumed, my kids were just going about their daily lives like kids do. I never knew buying a house was such a tedious process.
It is, especially when you’re doing it alone.
The closing that was originally slated for mid-June finally happened right at the end of August. The Friday before Labor Day actually. The move was rushed and chaotic (more so than most). I had one day to close on the house, get all my belongings out of storage (there was a two week period where we were between houses), and move into my new house. Originally I had planned to clean before moving in as the house was pretty dirty. It had been empty for almost a year and a two-unit rental before that. I don’t mean just a little dusty, it was dirty.
Even so there was no time to clean. I only had people available to help me move for one day and it was the closing day.
So like I said, super chaotic.
Needless to say getting a dog for my son’s birthday in early August that year didn’t happen.
One Friday afternoon in late October my ex-husband called me. This was before the actual divorce process, back when we could have a civil conversation and even be friendly with one another.
That seems like a lifetime ago.
I had worked the night before, it was smack in the middle of my sleep time when he called, but I answered the phone anyhow.
“Do you want a dog?” he asked.
“What? A dog? Now??” I replied groggily.
“Yeah. My mom got me a puppy for my birthday and we’re picking him up. The owners want to get rid of the mom too. They’re giving her away.”
This made no sense especially since his birthday is in December.
Maybe I wasn’t really awake.
One thing I’ve learned is that I should not make decisions on my work weeks. Or go to stores that have clothes I like. I lack good judgment (more so than usual) when sleep deprived.
But I did tell him No on the dog.
I wasn’t set up for a dog and I like time to prepare for things like this.
I went back to sleep.
About fifteen minutes later my phone rang again. It was my ex again and again I answered.
“So I got that dog.” he said.
“Wha?” This did not make any sense.
“They really wanted to get rid of her and offered to give me the puppy for free too if I took her. Don’t worry, I’ll get everything you need for her. I’ll even buy her food for you so she won’t be a financial burden.”
(This from the man who was giving me NO financial support for our children at the time. I bet you can guess how long the whole “she won’t be a financial burden” thing lasted.)
“If you take her and it doesn’t work out I’ll find another home for her.” he assured me.
And suddenly I had a dog.
Here’s the thing, this dog really loves me and my kids (well, two of them) really love her.
But she’s just so damn emotionally needy, so clingy. She wants to be near me ALL the time. I don’t need another being depending on me for their emotional and physical well being.
Really I’m just not an animal person.
I understand some people love their dogs, like really really love their dogs.
And that’s okay…for them.
But it’s not me. I mean, animals are okay as long as I don’t actually have to touch them…or have them in my personal space. If my kids weren’t so attached to this damn dog I would’ve gotten rid of her by now.
When my kids are at their dad’s this dog literally follows me everywhere, the sound of her claws clicking annoyingly on the wood floors echoes through the heavy silence that fills my house. Whenever she sees me getting ready for a run the dog gets super excited and barks like crazy. Then when I don’t take her with me she either barks the whole time I’m gone or pees in the house if she’s not locked in her crate. She’s a vindictive pee-er this one; no rug or carpet is safe around her. If I take her with me on the run she spends the first mile running full steam then suddenly stopping to smell something or pee. I’m pretty sure my dog has marked this whole town as her territory. Then once in a while she’ll bolt in front of me and trip me with the leash.
Why can’t she just run?
On top of that she barks. If she feels like she’s been on her chain for long enough, whether it’s been ten minutes or ten seconds, the whole neighborhood knows it. And sometimes they call the cops and let them know too.
Okay, that only happened once when I was at the grocery store and my kids ignored her incessant barking. She also has this annoying tendency to pick things up and carry them outside with her. Usually it’s socks or small articles of clothing but anything she can fit in her mouth will do. My yard was full of debris from the dog when the snow finally melted this spring including socks & a few pair of underwear.
Yeah, that’s classy!
But the biggest reason I dislike having a dog is…vacation.
Let’s be clear, actual vacations for more than a few days or to exotic, cool places are nonexistent in my life. Literally, they do not happen.
Even small vacations have been a scarcity in my adult life. My past few summers have been consumed first with the dissipation of my marriage, then with buying a house, and last summer was spent tangled up in the messy process of divorce. This summer is the first time in three years that I can just live, just breath and be a normal person. I plan to, and am trying my best to, really enjoy it; to take every opportunity that comes my way to try something new or have some fun.
One such opportunity arose Thursday morning of this last week.
At the last minute my co-blogger/co-worker/friend and I decided to go Up North for the weekend.
If you’re not familiar with Michigan Up North is basically code word for Utopia. It is the ideal place to be in the summer in Michigan and can mean anywhere, well, north and near a relatively large body of water.
In this case Up North was a cabin on a river.
So Thursday morning we decided we’d leave Friday afternoon, stay Up North a couple nights, and come home Sunday during the day.
It was perfect. I hadn’t even been to a local beach yet this year and was dying to get to some water.
Between going for a run Thursday morning after work, sleeping, getting my kids back from their dad’s, and my Thursday night shift (luckily a short one) I started getting things in order to go. I was super excited to be getting out of town for a few days, for the time to relax and have fun with some of my favorite people in the world.
And then I remembered…I have a dog.
Frantically texting everyone I know who wouldn’t be hugely inconvenienced by taking care of my dog for a few days became top priority. I really wasn’t having much luck.
This, I thought, is why I dislike having a dog.
Eventually I did find someone to take care of the dog. Good thing too, otherwise I might’ve just taken her collar off and left her to fend for herself in the neighborhood for the weekend. Had I done that I probably would’ve come home to find her knocked up, barking at the back door.