The Dog Mom Chronicles: Let The Games Begin

It’s nearly 7:00 p.m. in the evening on a Sunday. Over 12 hours ago, I set out to do one thing: read The Handmaid’s Tale, my current book.

I promised myself when I got out of bed this morning, I would NOT let myself get hijacked by my never-ending to do list. I would not let myself get derailed by the dishes, or waylaid by the laundry. My plan to read – to just sit and read – would not get bypassed by my bills.

It did. I have done everything I wanted to do today BUT read. I did my dishes, did my laundry, walked the dog, got my necessary shopping done, spoke to my son, set up my exterior surveillance camera, installed a new Amazon Echo Show, wrote a post for The Mother Rogue, and started my APMP Professional Certification.

I even managed to meditate, and get in an hour with The Dark Tower IV: Wizard and Glass on Audible.

Just no reading.

Yet. I’m almost done with my writing goals for today. Then I can take TheDog on his last P&P (Piss and Poop) of the day, take a quick shower, and curl up in bed with Margaret Atwood.

Right now Leading Canine #1 is in his crate, cheerfully chomping on a Bullymake Box rope toy – the only rope toy that has been able to withstand The Jaws of Rocky. I have no idea how this toy is still intact over a month later. My dog plays hard and chews his toys harder.

Three months post-adoption, TheDog who adopted us is settling in nicely. I know because my back is perpetually cricked. TheDog sleeps smack between my husband and I, with his back against one of us, and his legs outstretched touching the other… slanted.

There is no moving a 70 pound, made-of-pure-muscle, boxer. I discovered this after multiple attempts to make the bed with said boxer on it. Early on I discovered I could not get TheDog off the bed. There is no NOT making the bed. I’ve tried. My whole day is unorganized if I don’t. Because Asperger’s, I suppose.

I didn’t know it back in October, when Rocky first came home, but the bed thing, to him, is play. That’s because I didn’t know how to play with a dog until Rocky adopted us. I had never run around pretending to chew on a tennis ball. I had never played tug of war. I had never run around with a flashing Babble Ball, much less chased a dog around the house while said canine was carting a bouncing rubber ball in their mouth.

In the last 12 weeks, I have done all those things, repeatedly.

These days all I do with TheDog is play. At least that’s what TheDog thinks; in reality, I am training Rocky. Every hour or so I stand up and spend 3 to 5 minutes walking around with a spoonful of peanut butter saying “heel,” periodically stopping to let TheDog stop to get a lick off the spoon. In the evenings I do the same thing with a thick rope toy. I power walk on P&Ps, too.

My Apple Watch is quite happy with me. I consistently close all my rings. More importantly, TheDog is not ever bored. He never knows what I am going to do next, or what I am going to ask him to do.

When Rocky wants to play and can’t get us to play with him, clothing becomes forfeit. Witness my unfortunate Sketcher, a product of my early, ingenue days of Dog Motherhood. The more I play with the dog, the more better behaved he becomes. The more sneakers I save.

At present, Rocky has given up his Bullymake rope toy and is now jumping on The Omen’s leg. Alas! All of the toys in the world will not entertain a dog successfully. Thus I have learned, dogs need play: not just with toys, or with other dogs, but with their chosen humans, too.

Time to get moving…




The Dog Mom Chronicles: 1 Month Later

Today is Rocky’s official, 1-month anniversary in our humble home. Prior to meeting Rocky, and being adopted by him, I was not a doggie person. I loved dogs. I was a dog person. I was NOT a doggie person. My husband is a doggie person. He actively encourages doggie kisses and play and roughhousing. 

I preferred cats. Cats are self sufficient. Cats are independent. Cats do not need to be trained, or walked, and cats do not run. Cats do not lick your face. Cats do not slobber all over your already-beleaguered-by-a-garage-door-that-likes-to-jump-out- and-greet-its-fender-when-you-pull-in intrepid Camry’s interior. Cats can be transported nicely in small crates when car rides are necessary.

My idea of the perfect dog was my grandmother’s dog Sandy. Sandy lived with my grandparents in North Tonawanda, NY when I was somewhere between the ages of 3 and 15. Sandy – a feisty black, tan and white terrier of some sort if I recall her correctly – barked up a storm and strained to get off her leash when my folks and I came over for Sunday dinners. My youthful perception of Sandy was that if left to her own devices – specifically, off her leash – my youthful self would have been toast.

Sandy was a fully trained adult dog. Once I figured out – when I was in my early teens – how to make friends with Sandy, we got along. Sandy had her space at my grandmother’s house. I had mine. Sandy didn’t require oodles of affection. She would not jump up and drool on me. Sandy did not slobber. Sandy didn’t run around the house like a crazy person. Sandy didn’t follow me into the bathroom when I had to pee.

I’ll grant you Sandy was also 40 years ago, but I didn’t think I’d really changed much in those 40 years when I set about finding the perfect dog. I wanted an adult, sedate, sleep across the bed and go out for long walks but that was about it type dog. No puppies. Nothing with boundless energy. Nothing with even the potential to chew through my favorite LandsEnd Mary Janes.

I wasn’t adopted by that dog. I was adopted by a drooly, stubborn, extremely playful mush. I realized that as soon as The Dog came home and promptly followed me into the bathroom when I went to pee.

I don’t mind. I knew what I was getting myself into when they showed me to Rocky’s pen at the shelter. I spent an hour with Rocky at the shelter before deciding I was his forever human. I walked around outside the shelter with The Dog and thought about all of the things a spirited boxer could do: destroy my shoes, chew a loveseat, leave trails of drool and leaves on my kitchen floor, and make a mess with his food bowl. I made certain those things were absolutely cool with my inner self before I told my husband we were adopting Rocky that day at the shelter. A dog is not something you can simply return to a shelter if things go badly. A dog is a living creature, who trusts you to take care of them. I made sure Rocky was my forever dog before I adopted him.

…ahem…HE adopted Me.

My humble home now includes several Bullymake Box chew toys, an amazingly still intact crate (Super Rocky can bend crate bars with his teeth, as we learned early on), multiple library books on dog training, and various and sundry of my shoes in places I know I didn’t leave them. There is also a 25 year old loveseat with stuffing sticking out of 1 arm. Finally, there are multiple ads on Facebook and everywhere else on the Internet I look with ads for dogs, dog stuff, dog training, and humane societies and dog rescues asking for donations.

I am only going to clean the dog slobber off my … everywhere – rearview mirror, passenger door window, driver’s side sideview mirror (don’t ask me how that happened) this weekend because I’ll driving out of state, to and from New Jersey, and paranoid for no reason about being pulled over in Connecticut.

Rocky himself is in his usual place for this time of the morning: asleep in his dog bed beside my desk. The Dog looks up when I stop typing, gives me an eyeball, and then tucks down between his paws and snuggles further into the fleece top sheet covering the dog bed. When I leave this room – momentarily – Rocky will follow. During the day, Leading Canine #1 is Velcro Dog. Wherever I go, he goes. That includes jumping into the car this morning as I was loading it up with recycling and rummage sale donations.

I hated to tell him we weren’t going for a car ride for another hour…