What to Do With a Week?


So, I took a week off in between leaving my old job and starting my new one…

I had grand aspirations to:

  • clean the basement
  • walk the beach
  • go out to lunch with a different friend or family member each day
  • organize the house
  • read a book
  • write both fanfiction and blog posts
  • and to finish my re-watch of the X-Files in preparation for the revival.

None of that stuff really happened.

Well, I did watch a lot of X-Files…  and I spent a shit ton of time on Facebook.

I also got a dog, which as you will notice, as not an item on my already copious to-do list.

It was just one of those things that kind of happened.  She was a rescue dog from down south and her photo was circulating Facebook from a rescue organization in my state.  We went to see the dog, as a family, against my husband’s wishes.  We brought her home.

She’s a little beagle, which is not a breed I ever would have considered before.  But something about her little face, somber eyes, and tiny body roped me in.

Almost instantly, I realized I’d bit off more than I could chew.

My husband made it clear that he did not want to care for a dog, and I was basically on my own with this pet.  While he is a very compassionate man, and would never be cruel to any animal, he agreed solely to co-exist with this pup.

I had a grand plan of crate training her, so she could have a safe and happy space while I was at work. . .

Well, it turns out, our little dog has separation anxiety and wants to be literally on top of me at all times.  When I have left her in her crate, she somehow manages to escape.  In my research on beagles (which to be honest consisted of a google search and brief reading on Wikipedia and the AKC home page for beagles) I did not read that they are truly the Houdinis of the dog world.  In other words, no matter what I do, this dog somehow weasels out of the crate.

She chewed up my son’s curtains because his bed overlooks the yard, driveway and parking area and she must have been up there waiting for me to come home the other day when I’d left her to go grocery shopping and buy a dress.

My husband and son were not happy.  Not.  Happy.  At.  All.

But. . .  But!!!

I mean–  look at that sweet, little face!!!

So.  In addition to the normal run-of-the-mill neurosis I experience most days, added to the higher levels of anxiety I am experiencing due to making a huge life change in switching jobs; I am also thrashing around in waves of panic about this dog and how I am going to train her to be a nice little companion animal for my less than thrilled family.

The good points about her are that she loves to snuggle and sleep.  A lot.  Apparently beagles are fairly low maintenance in the regard that they sleep up to 18 hours a day.  And she’s only 13 pounds, so she is very easy to pick up and redirect if need be.  She is really friendly and she loves the children.  Jack is very gentle and calm with her, and Emily is just a ball of adoring enthusiasm.  She seems to be mostly housebroken, except for that time she peed in her crate our of fear/rage/frustration/anxiety when I went out to the pharmacy.

So, she has a lot of nice qualities in addition to her quirks.

I can’t help but wonder what she was sent to me to teach me.

She’s lucky she’s cute.  Very lucky.

Next week I start my new job.  I’m not nervous at all about actually going in there and doing what I am trained to do.  I think there will be a learning curve, but I think I’ll ride it out.

My anxiety is more anticipatory and related to just jumping off of a cliff on which I’d been standing for nearly 12 years, and into which I’d worn a comfortable groove for my flesh and bones.

And I’m nervous about leaving the dog alone for 8 hours at a time.  Like, what is she going to do to my house, and will my family ever talk to me again?

What the fuck was I thinking getting a dog at a time like this?  It isn’t really like me at all to make such a rash decision, or to pile another big deal on top of an already big situation.  Hopefully this little animal and I will figure it out together.

Then I guess I can get back to the other things on my to-do list.

In the mean time, if you have any suggestions for escape-artist doggies with separation anxiety who like to chew and destroy shit and gobble cat litter like it is going out of style, please feel free to comment below.  I’d love to hear any strategies you’ve found helpful.



6 responses »

  1. Dogs are a lot of work! But they are love incarnate. So that (usually) makes all the work worth it!

    Would it be possible to get a dog walker to come in halfway through the day to walk her and make sure she hasn’t escaped? That’s what I did when I had my dog and worked. At least in the beginning when he was new to the house. After a while he did fine once he adjusted to me being gone the whole time.

    I used Bach floral remedies to help my dog with his anxiety, too. (Rescue remedy, basically). That seemed to help a little.

  2. As the owner of the world’s douchiest dog, I say: lots and lots and lots of exercise. I say this and don’t actually do it, though I know it would help him tremendously. When it’s not Seattle rainy season we try to get him out of the house as much as possible to wear off the energy. It’s hard having smart dogs with separation anxiety, but seeing them interact with the kids over time is amazing. Potamus has been sleeping about 5 hours each night in his own room, and last night I found the dog had snuck in there to sleep with him (in his closet). It was literally like a norman rockwell moment. But the stories I could tell of dealing with the insanity of our dog (who we got as a puppy!)…

    I’d like to think, just like parenting, I’ll look back on these moments and laugh? Or drink a lot of wine…

  3. Oh, boy! I feel for you! All I can offer is empathy and positive thoughts being sent your way. I am not a dog person but felt compelled to rescue one 8 years ago. That was definitely for a major soul lesson. I won’t bore you with the gory details, but I must say all you’ve described (particularly the neediness) resonates deeply with me. It’s wonderful that you wonder what your puppy is going to teach you. Stay open to that. And enjoy the ride!

    Breathe deeply.

  4. Is she food orientated? Buy some good treats and teach her boundaries. Reward her when she listens. Walking her before you leave is probably a good idea and after your home too. Even if it’s like 10 minutes. Also, do you have gates? Make you could put a gate up so she only has access to one section of the house.

    My husband and I rescued a dog a year ago. She’s 3 and med/lg sized. It took a while before things shifted. It was a lot of like: waking up to an accident, so we let her out before bed; realizing her being on the couch was not a good idea, so we started saying no and kicking her off the couch; realizing she would get into the recycling at night so I would get up and correct her, double gating the hallway and closing the doors to the rooms so she couldn’t terrorize the house when I was gone, getting a muzzle for her for when she’s outside because she was eating mushrooms all summer and would get sick.

    Maybe think about what kind of boundaries you and your families need to all be happy together.

  5. Pingback: Back On The Struggle Bus And The Struggle Is Real | momaste

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