10 April 2009
If it weren't for Todd, I would have taken in any stray animal or person who needed a home in the last 15 years. Thankfully, he is my intervention from truly being the crazy cat lady. But Sadie is a different story...
Once upon a sunny Saturday, I was busy spring-cleaning while my husband was at work. Our typical suburban neighborhood was bustling with kids riding bikes, dads mowing their lawns and moms cleaning out their minivans. I noticed a cluster of people starting to gather on my street and didn't really think twice about it when my doorbell rang. My German Shepherd, Talon, perked up to help me answer. A little boy stood there looking up at me with his big brown eyes and asked me if I would take his dog. He said her name was Sandie because that was the color of her fur.
One look at what lie in my yard melted my heart. Sweet eyes begged at me through a sort of haze and buggars. A pink nose twitched at me through its scratches and scabs. Soft pale skin reddened under the sun where huge patches of hair no longer protected. As I walked over to this ragamuffin, it rolled over happily for a tummy rub to which I obliged. Big chest bone and nothing more held her together. The boys' mother explained that they had found her a few days prior on the side of the highway near our home and that she has small children at home and just couldn't keep her. She had asked everyone in the neighborhood but nobody would take her. This was her last block - and we were her last house.
I recognized the breed. StaffOrdSomething Terrior, Bulldog, Amercian SomethingOrOther Terrior...it didn't matter...all I saw was a Pitbull. The same kind of pitbull exploited in the news tearing off the faces of little children. The same kind of pitbull that had been splashed over the internet as being dangerous and fighting dogs. THAT kind of pitbull. Illegal in the town and at the home in which I lived.
Now this is where my husband and I disagree. I could SWEAR that I told the family that I just couldn't take her; that he came home just an hour or so later and the family was still hustling the hood when they caught him in the driveway and the pitbull suckered him into it's heart. HE says that he drove up about the same time they were there and I am the one that suckered HIM! Regardless, we became the parents of a truly PITiful dog.
She looked more like a Sadie than a Sandie to me - or maybe I just couldn't get that Little Orphan Annie dog out of my head or the Tomorrow song that came with it - and so her name was changed. She and Talon hit it off immediately. My cat soon also warmed up and they are still best buds. That first night, she slept in our bed, under the covers between us like a little human - head on my pillow and spooned up agaist me. We have slept like that every since.
I immediately took her to the vet the following Monday. Dr Denny, indeed, labeled her a pitbull and gave us antibiotics to heal her open lacerations (presumably from fighting), gave her meds for mange and worms and all other icky things and sent us home with a puppy kit - estimating her age to be about 6 months old. Once her body was healed, she seemed to be adjusting in every other way with Talon leading the pack (insert obvious foreshadowing here). We all went on walks around the neighborhood, enjoyed the freedom of my parents farm off leash and went to Todd's softball games to hang out with other dog lovers in the bleachers.
We shortly moved into an apartment in the city where pitbulls are legal. I started a new job and my husband started school. The animals spent more time at home alone and less time doing extracurricular activities. I began to notice Sadie being territorial when we had visitors and she started being aggressive towards other animals. A few years later, Talon passed away in the living room. Later even after that, Sadie became so aggressive to anybody outside her own pack that she was pretty much isolated from anything fun except for our long daily walks on a leash (fun for her, but not for the one she pulled at the sight of another living thing).
We then moved to our current construction nightmare and I began working from home. Her behavior has gradually escalated. She growls and lunges at any visitor even while in her kennel or having her muzzle on. Walks are impossible if there is a loose dog in the neighborhood that might approach us. So bad has it become, that we are unable to leave her at the doggie resort while on vacation anymore. She is too fearful and they would have to tranquilize her, causing even more mental trauma. Today, during her yearly checkup at her usual vet - she lunged at the doctor sounding vicious. When corrected, she assumed her usual position right under me and between my legs in a guarding position (or 'right up in ya' as my husband refers to it). Fear and protective. Not a good mix. I held back my tears.
We got through the visit and I was even invited back next year thanks to the great staff at Ark Animal Clinic. They assured me that I am not a horrible owner and referred me to a local animal behaviorist. Is this a glimpse of my parenting skills? Are we doomed to raise a Monster (another loving nickname from Todd when referring to Sadie).
So this is my test. And I am up for it. No more excuses. No more anxiety. No more trying. Just doing. I want Sadie to be healthy and enjoy life again. Dogs are a man's best friend. But Sadie has been my Furbaby....filling the void of losing our beloved 'first child' and the urge to be a real mother. But I need us to develop a working relationship as human and dog so that we can expand our family to a real baby.
...to live happily ever after!
06 April 2009
Talk about being a big BABY....
I returned home from some lunchtime errands today to three grown men huddled together in the middle of my unfinished family room (aka the garage) without any actual work being done towards the finishing of said room. My presence was not met with the usual kidding or showing off of a job completed for my supervisory inspection, but with deer-in-the-headlight looks.
"Steve cut his finger off", my father-in-law quickly fessed up.
"Oh, it's not cut completely off...just a little stinger", my dad tried to cover.
I must say I was impressed by the nursing efforts of them all. The finger was neatly and tightly wrapped with pads, gauze and tape from a real first aid kit (to which now I must go purchase...because I sure didn't have one on hand!). The Boy Scouts of America don't got nuttin' on these men! ;)
After pulling the gory details out of them like teeth, I talked my free labor into letting me take him to The Urgency Room. My sister-in-law works there and I assured him it was the best bet. Quickly ushered into an exam room, she began to unwrap the blood soaked appendage. Just as quickly she covered it back up and simple said "This is BAD."
Oh come on now. How bad can it be?, I thought. He didn't act like it hurt. He wasn't pale. Weren't they all just in my house swapping and comparing saw injury stories like they were hangnails? So despite the cowardly voice in my head, I stood up to take a peek.
UGH. Huge flap of skin flopped over to the side. OMG. Blood everywhere. EW. I think that was bone I just saw. I think I am getting light headed...ouch, my finger hurts...oh my, I need to sit back down.
The doctor came in and simply said, "Oh, this is BAD." Yeah, I could have told her that. He was referred to the nearest emergency room.
I drove my dad back to my house where so he could pick up his truck and go back to his own house to feed the horses and take care of the animals. HUH? Once he was safely out of sight, I quickly called my mother (whom I promised NOT to call) and tried not to panic her as only a child can do a mother. She also works for a family physician and so she directed him to her first. Thank goodness!
Her doctor took one look and said, "Wow, this is BAD." Hmmmmm....
So two other men, two nurses and two doctors and a wife later - his hand is now in the expert hands of an orthopedic surgeon. Pouting like a child, he was not too thrilled about having to be put completely under. Unfortunately, it looks like a skin graft is necessary (the original 'flap' didn't make it) and other tendons and things I prefer not to know about were severed - possibly beyond repair. I am so happy it was only a finger!!!
I think about the many scrapes, breaks, blood, puke and poop I am wishing upon myself to have a baby. I'd better watch more Operation TV if I'm going to desensitize myself. I didn't fare so well today!
Who's the BIG BABY now?!??!?
03 April 2009
No deep thoughts today - only a funny to help lighten the mood with great advice from my "Tequila" friend :) CHEERS to you all!
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02 April 2009
Between making a house, making a baby and making ends meet - I guess the stress is hitting us a bit more than we had anticipated.
It is ironic that during this time in our lives, my husband and I are doing more TOGETHER than we ever have in our long (almost) 17 year past - yet the distance between us sometimes seems oceanic. I know that all couples go through this at one time or another. Building the nest, emptying the nest, flying the entire darn coop! They are all stages in life that require some adjustment and changes. Hopefully, both man and wife will have evolved together more wise, more fun, and more in love than ever.
Also ironic is all the advice about stress - that adds to the stress - of why we aren't getting pregnant. Words of wisdom like: "You are just trying to hard." or "When the time is right it will just happen - relax!" or my favorite, "Give it time, nature will eventually take its course" to which the responses I keep privately in my head are always gracious ;) Stress is a HUGE factor in getting pregnant, both naturally and assisted, accounting for up to 30% of infertility-related problems. I found a great article on the subject on WebMD.
When thinking about stress and how it relates to me personally, I am reminded (and encouraged!) that I have always been one to work best under stress - and usually at things to which I do not excel nor put forth 100%. I am not a planner or at strategist. A bit of a procrastinator at heart, I typically fly by the seat of my pants and very much live in the moment.
For example, in high school track I ran hurdles. At 5'2" my coaches used to laugh that I was so short my legs barely even touched the ground anyway, so why not! I never had perfect form; being too short to 3-step and too awkward to 4-step. I had my own style and did it my way. I would get insanely nervous and nauseous before each meet to the point I had to convince everyone I was not about to die and to just let me wipe off my face...and let me run. Though I never felt prepared and my muscles never felt completely stretched out - I knew I just had to go for it. I would get down on my mark; feeling the hot asphalt on my hands and place them within millimeters of the starting line. Get set; looking up at the perfect line of obstacles ahead of me. GO!
I would roll out of the blocks, not with a rocket burst like my competitors, but staying low and gradually lifting towards the first hurdle, reaching my left hand to touch my right lead foot that glided my horizontal body over it with an undetectable brush of my trailing thigh. I did not look at the finish line. I barely looked a the next hurdle. I was only partially aware of the others in my peripherals as I closed the space between us until they all but disappeared (I like to think behind me!). I did feel the rhythm beneath my own feet; however random that might have been to those watching, and instinctively knew when to lift - and when to dig...deep to the end. And when it was over? I was always rewarded with a medal. Not always first! But never last.
This is a template for all other things in my life. Late night drafting projects in college that produced designs still used in local office spaces today. Countless journalism deadlines I thought I would never make as I sat down to a blank piece of paper with no ideas that produced published works. Sales goals that I thought impossible to meet that came down to the wire when a business connection was made at the last minute and unexpected to help pull a team through. Why should making a baby be any different than making it through anything else in my life.
I know why. Because this is a team effort and not an individual sport. And this stress is not my own.
So between making the baby...and making the house...and making ends meet - I am reminded that this IS, actually, a terrific time to be in love and take the opportunity to grow closer together and not let an ugly thing like STRESS pull us apart. It is the first time that we are actually making things happen - making goals, making progress, and making life meaningful!
....just run. Dig deep 'till the end.
In the words of vintage America's Sweetheart, Mary Richards, "We're gonna make it after all!"