Thunder helps me relax.

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(Written Sunday night, 7/19) Ahh. It’s thundering quite a bit right now, and lightning keeps streaking the sky. No rain, of course. That’s par for the course anymore, as those prone to using that cliche often say. But at least it’s helped me feel a little bit better.

I had one of those days today. No, scratch that. It was one of those weekends. I was in a crappy mood all weekend long. I don’t normally get that way anymore, and I have to admit the depression has me just a little concerned. I don’t want to fall backwards in that area at all. Luckily, common sense reminds me that everyone–even those who aren’t prone to clinical depression–gets the blues once in awhile. Still, it does blow when it hits. It’s the same as when a stomach flu hits, or a migraine.

I know I’m down primarily because I miss S. I’m kind of ashamed of how much, in fact. I feel like such a wuss. He’s challenged me, and shaken up the status quo around here. I was really so content and used to just hanging out all alone, doing my thing. I was happy not having to deal with dating or any of the issues related to relationship crap. God knows I was. And then he comes out here, and the very thing I was afraid of happening kind of came to pass. I find myself CARING about HIM. And missing him. What the hell, man! I didn’t want this, I truly didn’t. But…damn. It’s happened, and so, I have to deal with it.

I’m also thinking a lot about Olive. On Friday I began to seriously consider having her live with someone else. I talked about it with my Mom, and she thought that would be a very good thing for her, and for me. It’s not just the constant urination problems. It’s the fact that she seems so stressed out being around Hurley and Simon. She doesn’t want anyone to give them attention. She constantly butts in, demands all the attention, and the other two just give in to it and slink away. I’ve begun to notice her trying to cover up all scents of Hurley. If he pees in a spot in the yard or on a walk, she runs right over and pees over it. She’s been sleeping on his dog bed, uncharacteristically. And weirdly, if he licks me on my arm, I notice she will push her way over so she can lick my arm in the same place. She pants and growls and seems basically uncomfortable.

I know there are probably a bunch of Cesar Milan things to try; books to read; videos and blogs to take a look at. But there is this unshakeable feeling deep down that she was never meant to be here in the first place. I know I was trying to find her another home before I decided to just keep her…she’s so damn cute and sweet!… and that was because she was so unexpected. I rescued her, technically; and one of the things they talk about in rescue is that you don’t (and shouldn’t) need to keep all the animals you find. You work to pinpoint the perfect home for the animal, and foster it in the meantime. I think I forgot about that, and pushed my instincts about her aside because I fell for her.

But my sister and Mom can both attest to the strange fact that she just doesn’t seem to fit in. I feel bad about it, I really do. I’m sure she can feel it. In fact, that very emotion coming out of me might be causing her to act the way she does. I don’t know for sure, of course. But knowing how attuned animals are to our emotions, I wouldn’t say it’s impossible by any stretch.

(Written today, Monday) I’m back at work now. An hour in, and I’m already wanting to just quit or something. I had lined up a profile article with Target and on Friday, they called because the corporate office wanted to back out of it. Today’s main task is finding another company to profile in practically no time at all, because the article should have been written already. Once more, I am late on something. Damn it. I just don’t want to do it. I want to run away. I know I can’t, but still. Wish I could.

I didn’t finish writing last night because I just had to go to bed. I was exhausted, and my head hurt. I also wanted to lie in bed and fall asleep to the sound of the thunder, which did end up bringing rain (yay!).

I’m so blah. I listened to comedy last night and watched funny stuff to try to cheer up, and it only marginally helped. I’m right back where I started. When I woke up this morning, I saw that both/ one of the dogs had pooped AND peed in the living room overnight. I guess that was the downside of putting them outside earlier than usual, and during a thunder and lightning storm. I saw them both squat, but they were in pretty quick last night. And again, it was earlier than we normally go to bed by about two hours. Still… why was this my payback, Universe? I just wanted to curl up and sleep. I wanted to wake up feeling a lot better. Instead I wasted a good half an hour on carpet detail. My Spotlifter is about to go at this point. It’s hardly got any suction left and there’s a crack in the waste reservoir. Gross.

After I cleaned the carpet I fell back on my bed and cried. Even though I shouldn’t have, I somehow fell asleep again.

I woke up a half an hour before I was supposed to be at work. Again, this wasn’t part of my plan. So I had to rush around to get dressed and get to work. I’d wanted to be in by 8 today, but it ended up being 8:35 when I finally walked in the door. (Not a big deal, since 8:30 is my normal starting time these days…today I just wanted to be early, is all.)

The dogs, by the way, know I am upset and BOTH of them acted guilty. My thoughts are that the poop was Hurley, since he has been constipated a little bit lately, and the pee was Olive. Although it was a huge spot this time, so maybe both of them went in the same spot. I put them back in the kitchen behind the baby gate again today. Oddly, they never seem to go on the floor in there. They’re great at holding it like they are supposed to when they’re in the kitchen.

I should also mention that this latest peeing/poop incident occured within one to three feet of the food dish. It worked for awhile to feed them in the spot where they are peeing, but apparently, not anymore. They seemed content to do their business right next to the dish last night.

I’ve got to train them to bark or wake me up if they have to go out. Because the other housebreaking things just aren’t working well enough.

I just feel exhausted by all of this, and more than a little angry. How and when did my entire living room become their bathroom? The layout of the house is such that I can’t close them off from the living room entirely because it’s right in the middle of everything; it’s more like a glorified hallway between the kitchen and the bathroom and bedrooms. I guess I can just keep them in the kitchen at all times. Only let them out when I can give them my full attention so if they start going I can catch them in the act and get them outside, where I can praise them for going potty like they are supposed to. Because clearly, if I let them have the run of the house while I sleep, this will happen. I’m so mad at myself because I KNEW THIS WOULD HAPPEN. And I was lazy and left them out last night anyway. I am a shitty dog owner. No consistency, and an unstable mind. Terrific combination there, jackass. I shouldn’t be surprised by any of this.

Having two is too much for me. Especially when one doesn’t completely fit in. So maybe I have to find her a better home. Someone who can give her undivided attention. She’d be great with an older person or couple with no other pets. She might even be…dare I say…happier with someone else. I don’t know. I’m so confused. I don’t want to “give up” on another dog. I feel like I gave up on Katie that time when we brought her back to the rescue when she wouldn’t stop fighting with Hailie. Yet, she did end up in a home that suited her better. So I know it works out sometimes.

Yuck. I’m hating this crap.

And now I have a meeting that will likely last an hour, and I will need to get out of that meeting on time because I need to do a phone interview for another article at that time. It’s another thing that got all screwed up today. I tried to call in to the conference call line at the time they gave me (8:45 AZ time) and no one ever picked up even though I sat there for about 10 minutes. A couple minutes ago, I got a call from one of the people I was to interview wondering why I didn’t call in. I guess they got their times mixed up and thought I was calling at 9:30 my time. Luckily, the lady was pretty understanding and apologized for messing up the time and agreed to try again this morning (after my meeting). Seriously though… today feels so, so, SO off it’s not even funny.

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10 responses »

  1. Aww, I’m sorry you’re feeling like this right now. I guess it’s a combination of a lot of things. Relationship turmoil, house stress, job stress, dog stress…

    FWIW, I’m not surprised that you want to find Olive a good home now. I wouldn’t be at all surprised if she wasn’t meant to stay with you. If it helps, remind yourself that you’re not abandoning her. I know you’re not the sort of person who would *ever* do something like that. You need to do whatever’s best, for ALL concerned parties; that includes you, Olive *and* the other pets in your home.

    Sorry I don’t have any pet-training advice for you (not like I can even train my own cat to do anything). I have faith that you’ll do the right thing.

  2. Thank you so much, Fraulein. Holy crap. It’s so hard right now! I’m kind of surprised at how high my stress level really is today. The best part is, I was just doing my 11:30 interview (the one we had to reschedule for later in the morning) when our phone service just craps out. We get an e-mail from the tech guys saying they are working on the problem, yadda yadda…but I was interviewing someone, and now I can’t call them back!! It’s so bad. I wouldn’t be surprised if they gave up on me entirely now. Son of a bitch.

    OK. Breathing in, breathing out…

    Olive, yeah. We’ll have to see, I guess. But the good thing is my family is supporting me in the argument to find her a new home. I have to remember that it’s not “getting rid of her,” it’s “rehoming her.” When I think about how happy Katie turned out to be in her new home (she’s still there, apparently, and enjoying rough-housing with her ‘big’ brother), I feel better about rehoming Olive, if I do it. I just love her, I really do. It will be so hard to part with her voluntarily. Especially after all we’ve gone through the past couple of months. But…again, who knows; she might not be destined to be my dog forever. She might “belong” with someone else. ARGH. So hard.

  3. Girl, you have had A LOT GOING ON! For quite some time now! Back-to-back craziness! I am pretty sure that you are entitled to feel down, bummed or upset in light of the recent emotional rollercoaster you have been on. From the whole “getting/not getting a house” fiasco, to the $ X mailed to your mom’s, to S’s visit, Olive’s illness, etc… you have really been through the wringer. Finding balance and stability after almost constant upset like that is going to be a challenge. Not to mention those are things you need to come down from, decompress from, etc…

    I do think that Olive seems to now be exhibiting behaviors that coincide with her being unhappy. While some of it was “I’m trying to tell you I’m SICK!” and then became habit, some of it also does seem to be coming from her sensing emotional instability, and she does also seem to be experiencing jealousy issues and is trying to assert dominance as a result. Oddly, spaying seems to have exacerbated this, instead of fixing the problem. Huh… well… I guess there’s always an exception.

    I think taking her in like you did was admirable, and I’ve applauded and supported everything you’ve done/tried to do for her, but I always kind of wondered/felt like it wasn’t quite right… or right for you. They say we don’t always get the dog we WANT, we get the dog we need. And there is absolutely nothing inhumane about rehoming a dog. Putting them in an even better situation than they are already in is the MOST humane thing you can do. You haven’t failed anyone or let anyone down. Not even Katie. You can’t continue to keep a dog in a situation where ALL of you are miserable.

    My thinking is also that, if the dogs can’t be relied upon to LIE STILL IN ONE PLACE AND SLEEP during the night, maybe you should consider crating them. They’ll have no choice but to alert you if they then absolutely MUST go out. You’ll know, believe me. Leo figured out, as a puppy, what barely audible level of faint whine he had to achieve to successfully rouse me from a dead sleep while DH slept on. He still does it on occasion. Kansas will, I swear, just sit up and stare at me, using some creepy mental telepathy to wake me up to take her out. I swear I wake up just because I know she is sitting up in her crate staring at me. In the rare event that that doesn’t work, she will begin to pant heavily until that wakes me up. On occasion, she actually has to whine, which gets my attention. And her failproof “I mean business, lady!” tactic is to whack the crate door with her paw if nothing else has me up and at ’em.

    Or, you hang a bell from the knob on the back door and train your two to ring it when they want to go out.

    Mostly, I think Olive is confused. She learned some bad habits, recently, then there was a stranger in the house, you’re awfully upset, there’s this new kitty which means there are now two males in the house and she’s the only female. She knows you’re the other female, but I guess she doesn’t quite believe that you’re exhibiting stable leadership. So she’s trying to take over and run things, and maybe she’s the kind of dog that would really rather not have to step up and do that, but will when there’s no other sign of leadership in sight… Who knows? If you DO have time to do any reading, you might pick up my favorite: Jan Fennel’s The Dog Listener, or even Patricia McConnell’s The Other End of the Leash. It doesn’t ALWAYS have to be Cesar Millan. Sometimes a mix of methods, or just reading the same concept written in a different way is enough.

    But I do think you’d all benefit from looking for her a new place to go. Maybe put the word out in the papers or online… or heck, contact a rescue (if you can pin down one specific breed to classify her as. Sometimes they’ll take a _____ “mix”. I’m sure if you explained to them your experience in dogs and with rescue and that you’ve tried but this just isn’t working out for any of you, they’d understand and could help.

  4. Oh, and I also wanted to add: being a parent of multiple pets is HARD! Somebody is always needing something! And as a parent of a few pets that I didn’t exactly want in the first place and have now had for 8 years… I cringe whenever people I care about stumble upon stray animals in need and decide to take them in- indefinitely or permanently. Because I know how I feel and what I went through after doing just that. I should be the first friend to say “No. Don’t. Whatever you’re thinking, just stop.” but I rarely actually speak out in such cases.

    It’s not necessarily easier with more adults or more human beings in the family, either. Being married to a man who has not once in eight years cleaned out a litter box, refuses to pick up after the dogs because “It makes me gag” and thus, can’t be counted on to take them out to potty once in a while or expected to relieve me of walking/doody duty only compounds the process. Sure, he’s good for the occasional “I won’t be here, feed the animals at X”, or for being home with them if I’m not. But he’s also the person that’s constantly encouraging the very behaviors I’m trying to extinguish and the one who wasn’t interested in participating in the training and thus fails to communicate in terms they can understand.

    I have always, always wanted at least 5 dogs, one of this breed, one of that… and only recently, after hearing someone say that “having 3 dogs is more like the amount of work you’d expect having 7 dogs to be” I’ve realized I just can’t. I can’t even have 3 dogs. It has only recently dawned on me that having TWO dogs is HARD! Maybe it’s just the apartment living magnifying it all, but lately, with no house of our own, no yard to make use of, and the sudden decision of certain relatives not to welcome us into their home anymore, there is just no way to travel or visit people as much as we used to. We move so much we have no friends or neighbors we can rely on to keep an eye on our pets, were we to go off without them. We live too far away from the relatives that usually welcome them with open arms. Driving out of our way to drop the dogs off there just isn’t feasible. And after 3 years of just throwing both of them in the car and driving wherever we want to go, I’m starting to feel less inclined to do so, just because of long hours, long distances and lack of space. It just doesn’t seem fair.

    It’s like, as much as I love my dogs, I’m always going to be raising and taking care of them on my own. Even when DH and I were living apart and he would try to calm my meltdowns by saying “I’ll be there to help soon”… what kind of help was that? None. Just being here is fine, but it isn’t help, and if I’m going to be the one dealing with it alone one way or the other… what’s the point?

    It kills me to realize that the two dogs I have are going to be the only two I have for a while. I can’t justify taking on any more when finding places to live that accommodate the ones I’ve already got is hard enough as it is. DH is always asking me what dog I’m getting next, since it’s my turn, and my reply has started to become a mantra “I don’t think we’ll be getting anything else for quite some time.”

    A person can only handle so much.

  5. One more thing I forgot: those disc dog friends of mine? the ones who have 4, 5… 7 aussies, or cattle dogs or border collies? I don’t know how they do it.

  6. I feel your pain Lisa, I really do. Nemo has taken a few steps backwards in his being housebroken, which is frustrating, but to be expected when we have never crated him and my hubby keeps allowing Nemo to be in situations where he can be bad (having the run of the house when hubby is in the yard… this never works out well).Our bigger problem is Zed. This latest bout of urinating on things has been going on for quite a while now and we don’t know what to do. We haven’t witnessed him pee lately, but we know it’s him and hubby swears if he ever catches him in the act, he’s becoming an outdoor cat. We’re so torn, we love Zed, but he’s been making us so mad lately that we don’t even enjoy him anymore. And the cloud hanging over our head is that if I ever do manage to get pregnant and we have cribs and changing tales and Zed pees on them, he’s gonna be gone to the shelter. I wish I could talk to him, find out what’s wrong and fix it… but whenever we think we’ve removed temptation from his path, he finds a new place to urinate. It sucks, it really does. 😦

  7. UPDATE: Just got this email from hubby:
    The adage that if we keep Nemo upstairs and he won’t be bad has been disproven. When I got home he had peed all over the kitchen floor by the top of the stairs and refrigerator. (sigh) Back to shutting Nemo into the bedroom.

    UGH!!!!

  8. Shades– Thank you for all of the advice. I know there are a lot of factors at work here, and a lot of possibilities as to why it’s happening and how to deal with it. For now, I’ve just started keeping her contained to the kitchen and trying to remain calm and strong. (I should invest in a crate that any dog can fit in one of these days, because yeah: maybe that would have helped if I’d done that from day one.) It’s only been one night, and to be honest my efforts kind of failed because we had a rare thunder and lightning storm last night, and all of the pets kept me awake for 80% of the night with anxious whining, barking, and flying/jumping all over the goddamn place (Simon!) as they freaked out over the storm. It was just a ruff night. (Oh, my…see what I did there? Ha ha, I am but a clown.)

    Multiple dogs are hard, you’re right about that. I don’t want any more! I’ve been a one-dog person for most of my life and I think it’s a better fit for me. I like the one on one time so much more than the chaos of trying to make everyone content, all the time, so no one acts out.

    Michelle, that blows about Nemo. Damn housebreaking! Why can’t it be as easy as pointing to the yard and saying “Go there” and that’s it? 🙂 It does sound like a crate could help in your case; plus he’s still young enough to be more adaptive to that sort of change. Good luck!
    But yeah, regarding Zed…have you had him tested for urinary tract infections? We had a cat once that did that peeing-everywhere thing for a LONG time and my Dad finally took her away and brought her to the pound. We found out later that she just had a raging infection the whole time, and once she was treated, she found a new home. She peed on EVERYTHING. Even my computer keyboard. It was hard. But in retrospect, how simple it would have been to fix. I hope it gets better for you both and Zed.

  9. See the problem is, when we got Nemo from the shelter 11 months ago they told us he was house trained and used to being in a crate all day. They apparently lied on both counts. We had gotten a wire crate from my in-laws because their fat chocolate lab could no longer fit in it.. after Nemo was bad a few times, we put him in it when we went out and came home to find he’d peed while in the crate… that doesn’t seem to me like a dog used to being crated. Now, I will give you this… maybe he was used to one of those crates that looks like a giant cat carrier and that when he’s in a hard-sided crate he’s OK, but I don’t know. We don’t really have the money to spend on a crate large enough for a 45 pound Border Sheltie, but with Zed peeing, I can’t handle another animal back sliding. He hadn’t peed upstairs in months and then to do this today.. .

    I did ask hubby if he thought Zed might be ill and that’s why he’s peeing, but the problem is he never makes noise when he pees (like he’s in pain), and he uses the litter box most of the time. He just pees on any towels, blankets, curtains, clothing that are left on the laundry room table or kitchen table and there was a week about a month ago when he peed on our bed twice. This whole series of peeing started Super Bowl weekend when he peed ALL over our brand new couch, precisely in the spot where Lou likes to sleep, after Lou had been especially insistent on trying to play for several days in a row. Zed has never liked Lou and it just seems to be coming to a head, even though they’ve lived together for 5 years now.

    It sucks to think that 4 weeks ago I was cautiously saying that Nemo was house trained, and now he’s being bad again.

    I would recommend getting a crate for Olive and definitely keeping them in the kitchen when you’re sleeping. Nemo will be spending a lot of time in our bedroom in the next few weeks, since it’s the one room he’s never been bad in.. I just hate putting him in there, especially when we have to shut the door because he’s learned to jump against the baby gate to knock it over (the dipstick could easily jump over the baby gate, but for some reason he doesn’t realize that). We bought wooden gates that we put at the top of the stairs and the bottom where you head towards the exercise room (his favorite pee spot), laundry room and work shop. But we had to add plywood to the fronts of the gates and extend the wood that goes into the fitting on the wall because he was chewing through the bars and working it out of the footings.

  10. I don’t think you should feel bad about thinking of rehoming Olive. You are not giving up on her. You are simply making her life better. Because she does not sound happy right now. So maybe someone else who does not have other animals to compete with her would be a better fit for her.

    You have a lot on your plate right now so make sure you think through all of your options so you do not make a decision out of anger or being tired of a situation. You are stressed to the max and don’t want ot make a decision that you would regret.

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