Today is a tired day full of tears and tenderness from yesterday’s shots. Tender tummy, tender thighs. All I’ve been able to get down on paper is, well, nothing. I’m chalking this up to the equivalent of a sick day for mom and baby. And, as is par for course on days like this, my dogs have been extra special annoying. One of them dug up the beets in our sad little garden and both of them chewed the stems until their paws and snouts were a nice bright magenta. They’re upping the ante on themselves in a game that’s already stacked against them: this beet-digging episode follows the disappearance of not one, not two, not three, but four pacifiers, and the destruction of one beautiful home-made quilt from the little old ladies who make quilts for babies in the NICU.
Picking up the pieces after my dogs have destroyed something is not new to me. I got a crash course to puppy parenting when Rummy, our eldest weim, was only a few months old. He had a bathroom accident in the backseat of my car, when I was driving down the highway at 65 miles per hour. Because I didn’t know any better, Rummy was not crated; when I started screaming at the stench, he panicked, and proceeded to traipse back and forth through his own filth, tracking it throughout the car. I nearly drove off the road trying to keep it together.
Over the years, they’ve destroyed shoes, hats, underwear, pillows, remote controls, picture frames, and tree branches of various sizes. But usually, we blame ourselves for these incidents, because we know our weimaraners. This behavior is expected, unless they’re treated as part of the family, given vigorous daily exercise, and obedience training. Most of the time we’re pretty good about this. Some days we’re not. Lately, apparently, we have not been.
Before Dylan, Josh and I talked at length about preventing dog neglect. We knew we would have less time for Rummy once we had a baby, so we bought Moose, another weimaraner from the same breeder (same parents, even, as Rummy), so Rummy would have a friend/brother when we started our human family. Surprisingly, despite numerous incredulous looks from family and friends, two weimaraners are better than one (at least for us).
Most days, the dogs are partners-in-crime as they stalk squirrels in the backyard or wrestle over nylabones, They race around the backyard and tire each other out. And I think, over time, they’ve come to love each other: at the end of the day, they’re often found snuggling together on the floor. If we try to discipline one by putting him in his crate for bad behavior, the other will lie in wait just outside his crate, as if on a fun strike until his brother is released. And we love them both, too. Their personality quirks make us laugh and family walks on the trails along the Rum River are more fun with two dogs and a baby.
But they also drive me crazy. Today, they’re patrolling the driveway like sentinels, waiting for a glimpse of the neighbor’s rat terrier (who literally terrorizes them; it bit Rummy’s nose through the fence last summer). I’ll poke my head outside and call them off their post, only for them to return moments later. Or, they’ll scratch the back door to let me know they want in, but once inside, they wrestle and bark and wake Dylan, so I force them back outside.
I’m sure none of this comes as any surprise to dog owners. Even non-dog owners made comments about how my affection for our dogs would change once the baby was born, but I didn’t want to believe it. I don’t want to admit that they’ve fallen a bit from my pedestal of love. On days when my human baby is sad and needs my undivided attention, though…well, let’s just say I feel a little dog-tired.
Evidence #1: Chewed Baby Quilt from the NICU
Evidence #2: Destroyed Trout Steak Revival hat: a Christmas present for Josh, from my brother, Casey. Casey plays the bass in this sweet bluegrass band…you should check them out: http://www.troutsteak.com/
A boy and his dog: Dylan & Rummy