Tuesday, November 16, 2010

why my writing life stalled

Just when I think I'll really start jamming away on a writing project, life hurls interruptions at me like Lizzie Brula chucking dodge balls during 2nd grade gym class. I try to dodge them, deflect them, catch them and throw them at someone else, but I fail.

This week?

One school program (during the day, of course), one sick kid with a mountain of homework, one needy sister (oy), one more birthday present to purchase (the fourth birthday party one of my children has been invited to this month), one back spasm (I blame that darn roller coaster in the Dells) and one dog.

Yep, you read that right. My spirit has been officially crushed by this tribe of testosterone-laden yo-yos. They've been begging, pleading, making pie-in-the-sky promises and offering bribes for years. Saturday we went to the animal shelter and Mr. G pointed to a bulldog-mastiff mix that stood as tall as him. He was brought out and Mr. D cried, "Send it back!" because he has a serious prejudice against short-haired breeds. All along I've told the gang a puppy is out of the question. Naturally they pointed next to a 6 month old lab named Harley.

Harley came out, began jumping on everybody, Mr. G clung to my leg in terror and began to cry. Harley responded by peeing all over the floor. I bit back "I told you so" while Mr. D cried, "Send it back!"

"There is another dog," the shelter worker told us, "he just came in last week from the Keshena Reservation."

"Let's take a look," Mr. D agreed.

A 2-year-old flat hair retriever mix humbly followed her into our midst and cringed, his tail tucked between his legs. He panted and looked up at us with a smile. (Can dogs smile?) After making his rounds, he ended at my feet, looking up for my official approval. Smart dog, he knew instinctively the alpha-human in the room.

We're not sure where this dog came from, he's a good listener, but doesn't know basic commands like "Stay" and "Sit." He wants to please, has a mellow temperament, and we have yet to hear him bark. Mr. D bets some family bought him as a puppy for their kid and it got to be too much work so they dumped it on the rez. I prefer my theory, that he was owned by a kindly old man who died suddenly and with no one to take care of him, the dog ran away.

I'm quite certain I'm right.

So, dear reader, it begins like this: we fill out the application and they check our references and call us Monday to pick up the dog. The dog that everybody else wants sooooo badly they'll die if they cannot have him. But! Mr. D's in meetings all day Monday, so can I take care of it?

I go get the dog, ask questions, learn about his care, bring him home, take him for his first walk/poop/pee. I acclimate him to the children and explain the boundaries of keeping this dog in our house. The dog is smothered with love and affection, his tail starts to wag, everyone's happy.

This morning on his way out the door Mr. D calls back, "I forgot to give him his medicine when I fed him this morning. Can you take care of it?"

And so we begin. How much you want to bet that the dog that everybody else wanted will end up being my dog, because I'll be the person who takes care of it the most?

Oh, we named him "Jax."


  1. Oh GG - Jax is so your dog...
    Get an inside kennel--and have an outside one built too. Keeps dogs where they are suppose to be when no on is looking--this way you won't come home to anything chewed

  2. You had me at Jax!
    He sounds like he'll be a good doggy. Maybe you need a "Doggy Chore" chart. Delegate the care and feeding.

  3. You are very brave. Jax sounds like a wonderful dog, and maybe it doesn't require bravery to take care of him, but I think anybody who will take on the care of creatures who cannot communicate by speaking is brave.

    We have fish, but I am not in charge of them. Except when my husband is out of town, which he is, and you just reminded me that I have to go feed the fish. This is how it always turns out, isn't it? I call it the "Here, Mom, hold this" syndrome.

  4. Oh, I love Jax! I can't have a dog because I'm allergic (and my husband absolutely refuses a poodle), so I can live vicariously through your blog. And yes, the mom always takes care of the animals. Isn't it one of those small-print clauses on the official parents handbook? ;)

  5. that's a cute name! Ron wants another dog. no way, no day... we have a doggie door but puppies can't and don't negotiate the stairs down to the yard. Ron can't take the dog out and there's no way i want to add another responsibility to my day. nope..

    the dogs always end up being "mine" even though i'm not the one who wanted it. i think dogs know they have to win me over and Ron is already a push-over. so... they cater to me.

  6. Lola wants a puppy, more than anything. So far we have been strong. But I can tell Ryan is wavering. As long as Sandman is alive, it will not happen. But after that, all bets are off. And I fully expect to be the one walking the dog when it's minus fifteen...

  7. We're going through dog requests right now, and even though I've pushed C back 5 years (till the little one is not so little) there is constant conversation about just what type of dog we can get. I know I'd be the one taking care of her too, and am interested in your stories to come! Welcome home Jax.

  8. Welcome to the 'hood, Jax. We're glad to have ya. The Ladies will be glad to know there's a dog in the neighborhood, and Farmer will be glad to know it's not at our house.

    Win all around! ;)

  9. Give it time---all will settle into their routine as co-dog owners. Each kiddo in our house has their dog related duty (and yes, doodie is part of that duty!). Feed, let out, pick up and walk are all things Team T can partake in---its character building (or so that's what my kids get ;)).

  10. Congrats on the addition to your family.

    This is so going to be your dog, no question about it.

  11. It sounds like Jax is a very sweet dog but if I were you, I'd fain hearing loss and leave the guys to fend for themselves :-) You are good!
    Give that sweet pooch a smooch for me.

  12. Jax sounds perfect. I'm a big fan of picking a submissive doggy, and a bigger fan of using the shelter system for a rescue dog. Picture, please!!!

  13. My family, husband included, is always lobbying for a dog. We had a wonderful dog who died a couple of years ago but after she passed I told everyone "No More Dogs!!!" We have a house rabbit that my daughter had to have and that is enough. I am the only one who takes care of her unless we are on vacation and then it is the neighbors. i know without a doubt that no one would take care of the dog should we get one. And it doesn't matter if I said before hand that I was not going to take care of it. So I am holding firm and tuning out the pleas.

  14. Congrats on your new addition! Post a pic!

  15. Cub wants Santa to bring him a golden retriever.......I'm sooooo not sure about the hair!!!!

  16. Congratulations on YOUR new dog! ;)

    Right now, we need the low-maintenance cat ownership thing. But, ya know what? Guess, just guess who takes them to the vet, gives them meds, and cleans the litter box? Um. Yeah!!

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  18. Heh... yes, it's your dog, didn't anyone warn you? But it's not so bad... on cold days, you'll have someone warm to lie on your feet, and NO-ONE will love you the way Jax does. Get him trained though, it makes life much easier and happier for everyone including the dog.

  19. Of course he's your dog. Now, where's the pictures?

  20. Can dogs smile? Of course. Haven't you read "Because of Winn-Dixie"?

  21. Yes, the Mother is the "caretaker" of a family dog. Take him to one obedient dog training, so you know the proper ways to keep him "in line". It is good to know how to keep him under control.


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