Puppies!


A friend’s dog had puppies. Oh! I said. Puppies! I want a puppy!
OK, he said. You can have a puppy.
Now for weeks every day I debate getting a puppy.

I tried thinking logically about it but getting a puppy or owning another creature isn’t really a logical choice in my mind. Likewise, I think having children is not a logical choice, unless your income is derived in such a way that creating your own work force makes sense. Most of the reasons to not get a dog are very logical: you need to change your schedule to accommodate a dog, they cost money in vet bills and food, you need to pick up their excrement, you can no longer go away or stay away unexpectedly, they’re an incredible amount of work as puppies and still actually a fair bit of work as dogs.

On the plus side, puppies. Dogs.

I can’t assign a weight to “puppies, dogs” so I can’t choose logically.
I do live alone and the company would be amazing. And having an alert dog would make me feel much safer. Of course, I’d have to work out some kind of puppy-sitting arrangement with family and friends for when I’m in class or on placement. I don’t know where I’m going to be living in 18 months. I don’t know where I’ll be working or how much I’ll be making.

OTOH life is so damned short and I miss having a dog.

And, wait, logically here now, I could train this dog to be a therapy dog, and when I have my practice, I would have a dog at the office that is trained as a therapy dog. And we would visit hospitals and care homes and universities! Yes, yes, this makes sense. By the time I’m done being trained as a therapist, the dog would be trained in therapy too!

Does that actually make sense? Am I inventing an impossible dream to rationalize doing something I’m almost certainly going to do even though it’s not sensible?

Yesterday at work at the Unitarian congregation, a congregant arrived with a fluffy, white puppy that was wearing a service-dog-in-training harness. After receiving permission, I commenced petting said puppy. It’s like joy in a harness! I exclaimed. The Puppy Owner agreed. I’d love to have a dog as a therapy dog for when I’m done school and open a practice, I said. She nodded.

Yeah, she says. That’s what this little guy is being trained for. I’m part of a private practice and we’re setting up a mindfulness group for trauma victims. This guy is going to be part of the group. He’ll be working in the practice once his training is complete, kind of an office dog.

I just need to decide on a name now, really.

Familiar ennui

Ennui? Angst? Weightiness? I don’t have the word for this.

My dog has butt problems. Little dogs tend to; it’s just that his aren’t resolving. He’s a senior rescue – maybe around 12 years old – and his medical past is unknown.

It’s been eight vet visits now, three types of steroid and around $1000. I’m putting him back on the food he was on mid-summer. Yes, I know about canned pumpkin. Yes, he gets regular exercise and always has fresh water. Apart from the discomfort of basically walking around with two large pebbles up his butt, exhaustion from fighting infection, and personality changes from steroids, he seems to be OK.

It might be cancer. Or his anal glands might have simply given up due to age. The fact is they aren’t working right and without steroids, his butt gets infected and swollen and risks exploding, doing him terrible and possibly fatal harm.

On steroids he’s aggressive and not his bright, cuddly self most of the time.

So I’m googling and weighing options and attending appointments and basically suffering the weight of sole responsibility for another being’s life. It’s taking whatever wind I had managed to manufacture out of my sails.

I’m inescapably noting similarities to my last few years of being my mother’s decision maker. Not knowing what I’m dealing with, being unable to ascertain how serious the situation is. Weighing costs and benefits. Contingency planning.

The main difference isn’t really that this is a dog and my mother was human. It’s more that I chose to adopt a dog whereas the responsibility of my mother was put on me.  The similarity is the despondent weariness in my core. That and the endlessly echoing sense of being alone. I have many good friends and a bit of family I can talk to and request support from. But like with my mother, it comes down to me, my choices and actions and beliefs and values and personal needs.

I know the calendar is simply a human construct to try to manage our concept of time, but I think I believed 2019 would contain only good news and successes. Maybe I should have crossed my fingers or wished on a star. Well, there’s plenty of stars – better late than never.

Parked dog at Timportance

The kids used to call Tim Hortons “Timportance”. I’ve always like that.

Being the unemployed recipient of a Tim’s card for Christmas and owing to the fact that I got up at 9:15, I got take-out coffee and a breakfast sandwich to punctuate the dog’s walk this morning. Can I just add a shout out to my small dog’s bladder? Way to adapt to changing definitions of “morning walk.”

There were five tables occupied at the Timmys. The staff were super quick throwing together the food so I didn’t get a good look at the table occupants. And it’s impolite to stare they say, yadayada.

Table one: a man and a woman in animated discussion. Papers strewn on tabletop being shuffled and referred to. Some with letterhead, some without. Some appeared to be reports. She’s smiling; I can’t see his face. Maybe numbers are up? Maybe they’re in the planning stages of their Big Idea? Maybe these are the papers they stole to finally bring down the Company, after a quick coffee break?

Table two: a woman sitting alone, reading. She has a hot beverage cup – maybe it’s a coffee, maybe it’s a Caramel Fudge Hot Chocolate – and is eating a Timbit. She gazes out the window at my parked dog, scans the room and then smiles kindly at me. Her book is called “Stop Eating Your Feelings.”

Table Three: a man by the fire. There are four comfortable looking chairs by the fire-feature and he is by himself in one of them. His phone is held aloft as he is immersed in a video chat. I don’t see earphones but I can’t hear the person on the phone, either. Maybe there are Bluetooth earphones under the man’s hat. I can’t hear him really either so maybe he’s using those earphones that turn your jaw movements into sound. Whatever silent thing is said makes him scowl and he pauses to stretch and to look around but not see anyone. It’s like he’s not really there at all.

Table Four: a man in dirty, worn-out clothes. He’s in layers, mismatched, rumpled, with greasy, hat-head hair. His coffee is done or forgotten. He’s playing a scratch ticket with enviable intensity.

Table Five: two older men. No phones on this table. Two disposable hot beverage cups and two sets of old hands. They hold eye contact while they talk. There doesn’t seem to be any tension between them, but also no expansive, heavily-gestured, shoot-the-shit energy. Two older men in companionable conversation. Past co-workers? Old friends? Ex-husband and widower of the same long gone woman?

And me. Me at the counter at 10AM getting breakfast to go. With my warm winter coat and cute pink hat to hide my bed-head. My adorable little dog waiting patiently outside. Smiling, looking at my phone, saying thank-you. Does the woman with the book wonder if I feel bad to be eating breakfast so late? Because I do, I feel guilty for sleeping in until 9:15. I have no routine and it’s overcast so I slept. Does she wonder if I eat out all the time? I don’t – I’m not working and eating out makes me feel guilty apart from this because I have a Tim’s card. I think I must look confident and put together on the outside most of the time but really I’m at a loss.

I didn’t go to Europe to find myself. I did go in part because I got married during University so I never did the run away to Europe thing. I did it like a middle-aged person – I went to lose myself. And I was famously successful. But now I need to pay bills and I can’t look for a career-type job because I want to start my Masters in the Autumn. And having been weightlessly nothing for an extended period of time, I don’t really want to stop. But “Sleeps in if it’s Cloudy” is not a title that pays the bills.

What self am I creating? Big ideas self? Lonely self-improvement self? Not really there at all self? Fervent scratch ticket self? Comfortable chat self?

For now I guess I’ll focus on becoming “makes enough to pay the bills” self and take it from there.