Do Not Disturb

 

When Mom needs a nap

“Can’t you tell I’m annoyed with all of you? My eyebrows are all pointy.”

 

I just wanted to take a nap.

After a freezing cold early morning soccer game, allergies that are kicking my butt, and not a lot of sleep the night before, didn’t I deserve it? Yes. Yes I did. The children were occupied with neighborhood friends, so I closed my bedroom door, and crawled into bed, pulling the covers up tight around my ears. Blessed silence. I sighed in contentment.

Within two minutes:

Scrtch scccrrrtch.

The dog apparently felt it was unacceptable that the door was closed and he was on the other side of it.

With resignation, I got up to let him in. I then closed the door again, while he jumped up on the bed and made himself comfortable. If he could talk, he would have said, “Hey, a nap! I love naps! And so it is a good thing you let me in because now I can protect you while you nap!”

Fine. Whatever. I snuggled back under the blankets. Ah. Peace and quiet.

Then suddenly came a knock at the bedroom door. My dog flew off the bed in a frenzy of barking, determined to fell the intruder that was certainly there to do me harm.

It was Lucy. She  inched the door open a crack and stuck part of her face through.

“Mom?” she whispered.

“What?” I said as patiently as I could.

“I was gonna go on a bike ride but Dad said I had to ask you first.”

Okay, seriously? This required my input?

I answered her.  “Fine with me. Make sure you wear your bike helmet.”

“Thanks Mom. Love you!” She backed out and closed the door, but not before the dog snuck back out through the partly open door and ran downstairs.

I lay back down and closed my eyes. Within minutes, I again heard the telltale scrttch scccrrrtttchhh letting me know the dog was back upstairs and wanted to be let in again.

I sighed, and got up to let him in. “I never disturb your naps do I?” I grumbled. He thumped his tail and settled in at the end of the bed once again.

Then? The doorbell rang.

At which time the dog lost his mind. Again. He was now barking like Cujo on speed and trying to claw his way out, so I got up to let him out the door.  And he ran downstairs to protect us from whatever it was that now threatened our well-being.

This nap thing was not working. Now, before you ask me why I just didn’t keep the door open, I’ll tell you that our house is a beehive of activity. Our kids and kids from the neighborhood are in and out constantly. If there was a sped up movie of all of the comings and goings it would  be accompanied by Yakety Sax.  What I’m saying is our house is loud, and not conducive to napping with the door open. But our dog? Is not conducive to napping with the door closed. A closed door is the bane of his existence. (There is not one door or doorframe that isn’t scratched all to hell. It looks like the woodwork in our house was installed by Edward Scissorhands.)

But I had an idea. With the dog downstairs on Super High Alert Intruder Patrol, I quickly grabbed my pillow and snuck down the hallway to Magpie’s room. Her room at the end of the hall is clean, and quiet – Yes, her comfy double bed would do just fine. And the dog wouldn’t think to look for me in there, I was positive.

Gleefully I settled into the cozy flannel sheets. Bliss. Peace. I began to relax, anticipating at least an hour of delightful slumber.

Five minutes. Ten minutes. No dog. I was beginning to think this was going to work. Victory would be mine. Then? I heard the click of a turning doorknob.

In a flash I bolted upright and yelled, “What is going on?!” just as Lucy stepped into the room and the dog pushed past her.

Lucy jumped. “OMG, you scared the crap out of me!* I didn’t know you were in here!”

*Please note I am working on getting her to speak in a more ladylike manner. We’re starting with not using  the word “crap” quite so much. Baby steps.

“What. Are. You. Doing?” I said with clenched teeth. “You said you were going for a bike ride. Why haven’t you left yet?

“I just needed my grey sweatshirt. I think it’s in here,” she said, as the dog jumped up on the bed and curled up beside me, satisfied to have found me once again. I collapsed back onto the pillow in defeat as two more children thundered up the stairs. “Hi Mom! What’re you doing in here? Trying to take a nap? Can I bake cookies? Dad said to ask you.”  When the next child chimed in with, “Mom, she hit me!” I saw the last shred of hope I had for a nap disappear.

I stomped downstairs and into the kitchen. I’m not sure, but there might have been one of those cartoon black clouds hovering somewhere over my head.

“How was your nap?” VP said in a cheery tone.

I glared at him and he wisely backed out of the room.

But I haven’t yet given up on my quest for a good nap. In related news, if you drive my my house in the near future and see a tent in the backyard, I may be inside slumbering peacefully. Just don’t tell the dog where I am.

 

About a Dog

Though I didn’t know it then, 4 years ago today somewhere in Alabama my future dog was born.

Though I didn’t know it then, 4 years ago today we were just  weeks away from the sudden, heartbreaking loss of our Shepard mix, Annie.

She was getting older. That fact couldn’t be denied. She groaned a bit when she stood up, and took longer to get up off of the floor than she used to. But overall, her health was good.  I thought we could look forward to a couple of more years with her. It wasn’t to be. One February morning, she lay down in her favorite spot at the bottom of the stairs and slipped away. As I said, it was heartbreaking. Devastating. I won’t go into the details here, just… if you have ever lost a pet, you know. You know.

I know, they say not to go out and get another pet right away. You have to allow yourself time to grieve. But the thing is, I had already begun the search for another dog a couple of months before that. I  had wanted to add another dog to the household, a companion for Annie.

Nothing had worked out though. The dogs we found in the shelters were so emotionally damaged, I couldn’t risk bringing one into a house with small children. We were “next on the list” for several dogs through pet rescue organizations, but the families who were first on the list always ended up adopting the dogs. One breeder had us out to her house a couple of times to look at a dog she had available, before she called us back and said, “Sorry, the dog just wasn’t that into you guys.” I swear to Jesus I am not making that up.

So when Annie died, we were suddenly dogless. And it felt… weird. No clicking toenails, no barking at noises in the night, no one to greet me over-enthusiastically when I came home even though I had only been gone 10 minutes. To quote Jack Byrnes in Meet the Parents, “You need that, do you? You need the assurance of an emotionally shallow animal?” Yes.  Yes I do.

We agreed that we wanted an adult dog. Full grown. Housebroken. For goodness sake, we had a toddler in the house. Only a raving lunatic would have a two year old and a puppy at the same time.  That’s just crazy! Out of the question! I pictured a Lab:  an older, slow,  fat one. The kind of dog that would tolerate the kids’ nonsense during the day, romp with them in the yard, and lay contentedly at my feet at night. In front of a roaring fire, blah blah blah.

And then? One day this appeared in my inbox:

No mortal can resist my powers.

“No mortal can resist my powers.”

My aunt had forwarded an e-mail from a friend of a friend. The pup needed a new home, quickly, or the owner was going to have to take him to a shelter.  Though an experienced dog owner, the guy underestimated what it would be like to have a high energy puppy in a townhouse while working full time. The dog needed a yard. The dog needed a family. The dog needed attention.

The question became, were we ready to take on a 12 week old Weimaraner puppy?

It was the ears that got me.

It was the ears that got me.

The answer was no, we weren’t ready. Did we take him anyway? Yes. Of course we did. Surprising exactly no one who knows me. All 13 pounds of  stumpy-tail-wagging, un-housebroken, separation anxiety riddled, sharp-toothed destruction was delivered to us by Delta Airlines exactly one week later. VP named him Blaise, after the saint. Trust me, if you knew the dog, you’d fully understand the irony.

And then? Our lives were turned upside down, inside out, and sideways. Then they were chewed on and barfed up on the carpet. But we stuck it out, and today we have… what do we have? Um, an 85 pound stumpy-tail-wagging dog. Yes, he steals food. He eats pillows, shoelaces, and bra straps. He runs out the door once in a while, chasing cars, bicycles, and people walking down the street. He gets into the trash on a regular basis, and has taught himself to open the garage door. Romping in the backyard with the kids? Not so much. He prefers to push the kids over and steal their shoes. A vet once questioned whether he had ADHD. I didn’t even know dogs could have that.

But… he is my constant companion. He’s loyal, protective, and sweet. He’ll chase a tennis ball for hours. He hates rain, loves to swim, and prefers to sleep under a blanket (What? He gets cold. Don’t judge, Judgey McJudgeypants.)  He’s great with the kids, except for the shoe stealing bit. And my favorite time of the day is in the evening when he curls up on the couch next to me and puts his head in my lap. (If he could talk, he’d say his favorite time of day is in the morning, when he jumps into the warm spot in the bed that I’ve just left. I know, blecchh.)

It’s like we went out car shopping with a station wagon in mind, and came home with a Ferrari. We  got a dog that is beautiful, sleek, fast, and sometimes hard to handle. I have to say, though, I’m loving the ride. I adore this dog. Except, of course, when he steals my sandwich… but that’s another matter.

Happy 4th birthday, ya crazy hound. And stay away from my food.