I”m trying to write this post with a sleeping dog in my lap. I usually don’t give in to her pitiful pleas to be picked up while I’m trying to work, but she looked cold and sleepy and lovable with those big brown eyes and scruffy “I just got a bath and now I have a mohawk” look she’s sporting tonight. I”ve tried not to make this blog the “I love Dachshunds” blog where I give you every excruciating detail about what her poo looks like, how many times she pees a day, and how many tricks she can do (as of now….one) and other tedious details that you simply don’t care about.
I’m not going to try to sell you a t-shirt that says “I Love Lucy” or an afgan stitched with her likeness, but just this one (maybe more) time let me talk about my child, er, I mean dog.
When we first brought her home, I knew what I was going to be facing. I raised Frodo Baggins Carrigan (also a wiener dog) with my family while I was living at home in college, and I remembered quite clearly the first few sleepless nights, the frantic attempts to escape all manner of ways we tried to pen him in, and the surprises he left for us in his crate and on the carpet. I also remember there being 3 other people there to take care of him. When Lucy came into our lives, Brian had just embarked on a lovely journey through pneumonia, strep throat, and all manner of viral and bacterial infections. There I was alone with a crazy dog who liked to revel in her poo while we were sleeping soundly in our bed, there I was with a dog who needed to be re-housetrained and needed tons of exercise and patience. There I was with a dog who needed a bath every day because she continued to revel in her poo. (How many times am I allowed to say “poo”?) My married-with-kids coworkers kept saying “Dogs are great training for kids.” This is true, but what bothered me a bit was the triumphant gleam in their eye and the grin on their face.
I found this repeated statement and the accompanying glee to be a bit obnoxious. Why are my sweet fellow pre-school teachers so happy that I”m deprived of sleep and have to order my day around how many times I must descend and ascend three flights of stairs to take my dog out? It was as if they were celebrating the end of my care-free days of frolicking in my nifty apartment with my stylish husband and our XBox360. It has certainly been the end of Bonnie’s Infamous Sleeping til Noon days of yore.
My life has changed a TON since Lucy came. I can no longer sleep in. I physically CAN NOT sleep in with the knowledge that I need to get up and take her out so she will stop body-slamming the bed. My parents are rejoicing right now, as they have always been a bit peevish about my ability to sleep through anything and past any decent time a person should be awake. I could go into the whole thyroid sleep-pattern thing…but now is not the time. Lucy forces me to get out and breathe fresh air and exercise in an enjoyable way. Today on one of our long walks I met a neighbor who was sitting on her first-floor balcony that looks over the dog-area by the lake. She is an elderly lady named Star with a snow-white dog named Patience. (I freaked out for a while about her being named Star) She probably would never talked to me if Lucy wasn’t so amazingly beautiful with her fluffy coat in hues of red, brown, white, and cream. We had a lovely chat, and I made sure the humans knew each other’s names. I’ve been accosted by hordes of neighborhood children who all excitedly chat to me like we are best friends. I have lived here for almost three years and have met more neighbors these past two weeks than I have ever talked to in the past. It’s amazing how a cute dog can provide the means of relationships between people who would have otherwise never taken notice of each other.
It’s funny how God packages his blessings. I have been struggling with finding the time and motivation to exercise more, so here comes a crazy puppy who needs longs walks so we can all get some sleep at night. I felt bad about not knowing and reaching out to my neighbors, and here comes the most irresistable dog in the world. I was despairing about wasting time sleeping in on my days off, and here comes a dog whose needs cannot be ignored in the morning.
I think I understand the gleam in those ladies’ eyes now, it’s a gleam of wise women who know that getting outside yourself and seeing to another’s needs is infinitely more fulfilling than my previous selfish existence.