We Got a Dog

The last thing I would have ever thought to possibly bust up my hiatus from blogging would be the words “we got a dog”. 

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Alas, we got a dog.  I, long time proponent of feeling nothingness around every dog I’ve ever met… caved and said yes. What the heck? Something new! Life was getting a little… comfortable. 

Her name is Ellie. She is a mini golden doodle and is adorable. She is also magical in that she doesn’t shed whatsoever.

I have cried much. 

I have cried all the cries. 

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I have called my husband while he was at work and (rage) sobbed for fifteen minutes (I’ve never called him while he is at work for more than a 60 second question in the entirety of our ten year marriage). 

Were these tears of joy, Ashley? You were so moved to love an entity so much? You were caught off by your new found affections for your puppy? You realized that dog really is man’s best friends and you were grieving the 33 years you wasted not seeing this truth???

No! No, no no.

These were tears of unrelenting, deep, deep, turtles all the way down regret. For the poop clean-up. And the deodorizing. And the child defending. And the bite training. And the standing in the cold and rain in the middle of the night for the dog to do her thing. And the nonstop checking on her that was making my brain short circuit into a billion fragments and rendering me a useless, unproductive husk of a woman. And depression!! Depression! Puppy PTSD! Something I was delighted (only in the sense of being validated online for something I had sensed due to, among other noted experiences, a feeling of dark despair to the core of my soul) to find confirmed by others who also shouted into the void (Reddit) things like “I just want my life back” and “What the hell was I thinking? I mean, really!! What was I thinking??!!”

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Oh and also for that one day she bled in her poop. Then she diarrhea-ed all over my car. And then waiting politely until I had cleaned all of that up to also vomit all over the inside of my car. 

Tears. Lots of them. I like a tidy life. This was ——ha!!! Hahahaha…

One day I cried in such a way that I didn’t even know that I was capable of crying like that.  Like finding out you can roll your tongue to make a W and you were just walking around all those years not knowing. Not knowing! 

One day I scrolled through Instagram because I just knew this one family got a dog some time ago… I knew it. And like the crazy person I had become, I scrolled down down down down to see yes! They did have a dog!! But where did that dog go?? The dog disappears from the Instagram feed with not a mention. Did they send it away silently?  Saying nothing of this online? Did that mom also cry, gripping her living room rug one day while saying “Go away kids. Mommy isn’t okay right now” and decided the very next day it was time for puppy to be kindly sent off. Something like that? Just a hypothetical. 

I can say that things are better now. I look at her and think okay. 

I walk with her around the neighborhood and sometimes smile and then think she’s poisoning my brain and then she looks up at me so cute and I know that she is. 

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Here are a few signs that life with puppy is not going well:

  1. You listen to a friend recount the string of dogs she has owned. Between accident and sickness, (you are listening while also doing math) the average life span of her dogs so far equals one third of how long you were told your puppy will live and you think: what luck!

*Actually, I think I’ll spare you from the rest of the signs. If you have never had a puppy before and are considering getting one—-Also, you ARE NOT A DOG PERSON but are happy to do so for your family—-message me and we’ll chat. 

A neighbor talked to me about how it was going with Ellie at a Christmas party. She said she’s never wanted one. Her family does. But still she just doesn’t want to do it. I urged, “Good. Go with that.” 

I took Ellie to get groomed last week. The groomer is just a couple blocks from my house. It’s quaint and convenient in a way that could only be one-upped by a bookstore cafe, should it be within walking distance of my front door. The groomer explained to me how to start brushing Ellie’s fur, and after some basic paperwork said they would call me in a couple hours. I walked home high as a freaking kite. 

I strolled in through the doorway and greeted the kids. “TWO HOURS! TWO HOURS! We can do whatever we want for two hours, guys!!!” They weren’t as enthusiastic as me, but I was enthusiastic enough for all of us. I got more done in those two hours than I had since we brought her home. My decision making and task completing engines were firing at an alarmingly magical rate much like a machine gun only if that machine gun threw out bullets of undiluted happiness and joy of every imaginable color God had ever created. 

So, I have learned something. I like getting things done.  This explains why the transition to motherhood was hard. Both times. And why I felt like getting a dog was death. There’s me. There’s getting things done. And when someone/something/whatever gets in the way of me and getting things done an ugly monster of embarrassing proportions rears its head. I’m working on it. 

So it’s all gonna be fine. I’m just going to sleep a little less. Cut back on gym time since I can’t figure out, try as I might, how to duplicate myself. Walk Ellie a lot since we both appear to onlookers stupid happy about that. And take her to the groomer more than socially acceptable or fiscally responsible. 

I realized having a dog is just another way to die to self, so in that context, my Catholic sensibilities are pretty pleased.  I don’t think that’s the clincher for why other people get dogs though. There’s got to be more to it.  I see some of you with your dogs and you seem pretty darn pleased with yourselves. It’s a mystery unto my soul. 

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I let Ellie lick on my knee this morning where my jeans are faux torn. There’s an animal in my house. Why is there an animal in my house? And why am I letting her lick me? 

But she looked so happy and content and loving. We are getting really great at tolerating each other.  

She’s definitely poisoning my brain.