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Archive for the ‘pets’ Category

oh, my charley.

i once told a story about the sacred relationship i have with my dog, charley. if the good lawd ever gave me a proper guardian angel, it would be this some sort of aussie/spitz/healer mix. i am her person. she is my dog. and so it has been since may 2004. end of story.

at least, that was the end of the story until h and i moved in together. she has a dachshund/aussie mix (i’m not kidding) named lucy. though she has no legs, she is still very much an alpha bitch. [read: serious napoleon complex.] charley, too, is a very alpha bitch. the two came to blows many times during their first year living together. lucy would end up with a bloody ear and wounded ego. charley won every time. when our boy dogs, moe and clem, entered the picture, a proper pack was established. charley was, by far, the leader of that pack, submissive only to h and me. the bloody fights ceased.

until…enter jude.

in the beginning, as we were establishing just how to go about living every day with a newborn, charley’s routines were severely messed with. gone were the frequent walks, the snuggles, the acknowledgement of her existence. when she was acknowledged, it was to be told to move, or go outside, or stop licking my hands and feet already. and then there was this squawking baby, who smelled like me, but wasn’t me. wtf was that thing? also, there was a steady stream of people coming into her house.

charley does not do well with transitions, and i know this has a lot to do with her life before me, when she was left alone all the time, chained to a pole, and tormented by neighborhood kids. when we pack for a trip, she worries. when we pack to move, she really worries. she becomes tense and insecure. and here was all this change, all at once.

charley and lucy had one smackdown fight, when jude was a few weeks old. they worked out their balance soon after, but i was hormonal and a new mama bear, and i was SO angry with charley for awhile. i know she sensed this.

fast forward several months. charley mellowed out considerably, and found her place in our bigger pack. she accepted jude as my puppy, or at least as an extension of me. as jude became more mobile, charley deferred to her when she approached. she simply stayed out of the way.

and then, jude began to walk. no longer was she this crawling, squalling, little creature. suddenly, she stood eye level with charley, and was intensely interested in her. though both h and i were relentless about showing jude how to properly approach, pet, and not sit on dogs, we began to experience harrowing split seconds when jude would dive for charley without warning, and instead of nervously trotting off, charley began to stand her ground. and then she began to growl nervously when jude approached, though she never bared her teeth or snapped at her.

[a little backstory: a couple years ago, h’s rough and tumble nephew, age 4, ran up to charley and kicked her hard in the ribs with cowboy boots. charley immediately retaliated by knocking him down and pinning him to the ground by his shirt. she could have easily bitten him, but she did not. she subdued him like a pup out of line.]

i didn’t know what to do, but when i smelled a threat to my baby, the balance of loyalty tipped mightily toward jude. and so h and i began to talk about the very real possibility that we’d have to rehome charley. but who would want a 6 year old, extremely alpha dog, who would undoubtedly revert to all her old unhealthy habits when ripped away from her pack? i put feelers out, sought advice from friends who’d faced similar situations, and began to work with jude and charley together.

though i’d made it a point from the beginning to introduce jude as a pack leader (i love you, cesar), i started working with charley and jude together to put jude’s dominance into practice. i began by teaching jude how to sign “sit” to charley, and i would let her make the command while holding her high above charley. charley acquiesced quickly to this. and then i set jude down to stand next to charley and tell her to sit. this worked too. several times a day, i would make charley roll on her back in submission while holding jude.

one day, something must have clicked for charley. she simply approached jude as she does me–with deference and affection–and licked her hand. we allowed jude to pet charley on the head, on the back, and then the ears and finally the snout. charley appeared a little nervous, but was submissive. since that day, charley has shown nothing but loyalty to jude.

h & i remain vigilantly watchful of jude’s interactions with charley, but charley has learned to relax. she has taken to guarding jude as she guards me. when jude is being danger baby, charley groans audibly from across the room, so that we will pay attention. she kisses jude’s toes and allows jude to pat her over and over.

once again, i trust my guardian angel.

in honor of uncle g’s birthday today (happy berfday! i love you! let’s have some whiskey!), here is an old photo of him with charley, who will continue to be my dog.

kisses for charley.

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yeah. re: marriage and more children…

yes, we are getting married. finally. we plan on driving to iowa city next month. jude’s gabby and pop pop will take care of her for the 4-5 days we are away. [gulp. can we really leave our baby for that long??] we’re still figuring out the logistics of pulling it all off. officiant, witnesses, getting a waiver the 3 day waiting period for marriage licenses, etc. not to mention lodging. it’s a haphazardly cobbled together plan at this point, and though i’ve at least got the time off from work, we’re trying to decide whether we really do have the funds to be traipsing off on a road trip right now.

i’ll be sure to keep you posted. we are so ready to go through with the actual marriage part of our marriage. even if it is hollow in the eyes of the texas legislature. we choose to see that piece of paper as a little weapon against the status quo. and should the momentum grow in states with a constitutional marriage amendment, maybe we can join a big class action suit. we’re investing in justice.

…hopefully in a month.

now, re: kid 2.0. no one is pregnant in our house. we’ve just been having more conversations about when and how. both our clocks continue to tick, and hilariously, it seems as though we are ovulating on the same day. so, about once a month, the conversation becomes a little more frenzied. and then the urgency passes and we feel like it would be insane to try right now, living on just my meager salary.

i do think we have come to an agreement that we will try to have another biological child, with uncle g reprising his genetic role. we have also decided to become involved with the foster system. we aren’t sure whether we’re heading down the foster/adopt route, or if we want to be a more temporary safe place. lots of question marks there.

i definitely want to flesh out this subject more, but i am distracted. our kitty, phineas, is missing. this is him, when he was a kitten:

green eyes.

he is a miracle kitty. here is a bit of his story. he was born an east side feral kitten, and grew to be a big, fat lazy (and healthy) house cat with the sweetest disposition ever.

we had storms the other night, storms with tornadoes in them. i think the weather freaked phineas out. and i’m pretty sure that our very-indoors cat escaped through the dog door. i hope he is in hiding, on the other side of our back yard fence, and will come home as soon as hunger outweighs fear. so far, however, there has been no sign of him. oh phinny-puss, please come home.

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love, calico style

yes, we still have pets. they are noticeably absent from photos of the judelet because she’s become quite the grabby girl. ears and tails and whiskers are no longer safe in our home. and so we are constantly playing a game of shepherding unsuspecting dogs and cats away from her death grip.

oh, but then there is claira. claira is our cat-matriarch. the fact that she is alive and thriving is a bit of a miracle. i think she is 7 years old, a rescued kitten from a mcdonalds parking lot, and she is FIV positive. she owns the house: all other pets bow to her. oh, but how she loves the humans. any touch, however accidental, is deemed affection. and so, she loves jude. so. much. h caught a bit of video yesterday, but it inexplicably cut off before jude began yanking claira’s ear, which was met with loud purrs. if you listen closely, you can hear the purrs here:

i think this is the beginning of a happy, symbiotic relationship.

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so far…

today is better. thank you for the encouragement yesterday. i heart teh interwebs sometimes.

woke up very early this morning due to lots of lower back cramping. h rubbed my ropey muscles and ligaments for awhile before we got up. the forecast calls for another possible triple digit scorcher this afternoon, and so after a hardboiled egg breakfast, h and i took a walk around the neighborhood at about 7 am. we got to say good morning to horses and dogs and cows and chickens. i had to stop a few times because contractions gave me a stitch feeling and i couldn’t move. overall, i was able to walk/waddle at a healthy pace with no hip pain. yay.

oh, and the mimosa trees are blooming. h picked me a blossom and we took turns sniffing it all the way home.

afterwards, h walked the dogs and i drove over to meet her at the nearby pond. we sat and laughed as our crazy pups swam after rocks i threw and fetched seaweed instead. h continued on with the dogwalk after awhile, and i drove home to climb back into bed.

yawn.

oh, and i found a little blood in my panties a little while ago…

midwife appt this afternoon. maybe there will be an update…

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family portrait.

Friday evening. Nearly 7 o’clock. We are in bed already. H is asleep next to me, a lump under the blankets, breathing slow and constant. She will be pleased to know that she is not snoring. Charleydog is curled snugly in a ball, sleeping between us. And Salcat stretches out between my legs, green eyes closed tight; he is drunk on the evening sun shining on his face. he smiles. And lucy is on the floor, snoring on her back, legs straight up in the air.

And here I am, wide awake with Annie Dillard’s recent novel. The baby is rolling back and forth in my belly, just under my ribs. If I touch my fingers to my flat belly button, she wriggles, ticklish. This is how I communicate with my daughter. Palms and fingers pressing and poking until she replies. I tell her not to be afraid to be born, that we’ll find our way through the process. I tell myself the same thing. Over and over.

Our whole lives are happening on this sleepy Friday evening. Everything is silence and sunshine and breathing. Our bedroom is big and in transition. Backpacks full of unpacked clothing. An empty dresser. Bare beige walls. I often refuse to let myself fully be where I am when there are details left undone. When the walls are painted, laundry sorted, nausea departed, then I will savor the perfection of now.

I miss a lot of perfect moments.

But not this one. This is us in our home. Resting. Nesting. Sal is purring in his sleep now. And the baby is quiet, sleeping and growing and silently preparing for the descent soon. Everything is in its right place.

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photo friday: in motion.

…and the first thought that came into my head? “sometimes i doubt your commitment to sparkle motion!”

non-sequitur: here are my in motion photos.

1. my charleydog. she is fastfastfast and can run for hours. i’m confident she’d give a greyhound a run for its money. see what i mean? my bitch gots wheels for legs.
2. lucydog. despite having no legs, she can romp through open fields with the best of them. this photo is her essence. just happy to be here.
3. dogmeeting. we used to live in a condo complex with lots of green space. soon, we joined together with other dog owners and created the dogmeeting, wherein our dogs would romp and we would drink. perfect after work activity. the only thing i miss about living in that place. featured pups: lucy, toshi the pug, and charley.

pups a go-go
lucy takes flight.
the ghosts of chamonix

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sorry for the silence around here. i’ve been faithfully reading all of you, but i’ve been a bit wordless.

i’m having a rough week. i’ve been pretty balanced throughout my pregnancy. i’m still off all my bipolar medication. i’ve not touched the liquor, either. i’ve kept up with my therapy. and i’ve been pretty well at the end of the day. hell, i even bought a house.

but. i haven’t been sleeping well lately. some of it is growing physical discomfort–sitting at work all day makes my tailbone throb to the point of tears–but mostly, i can’t shut my brain off. the manic side of me wakes up at about 3 am every.effing.day. all the worry, all the baggage, all the anxiety whizzes around my head like swarming bees.

the lack of sleep and growing anxiety are catching up with me, i think. this past weekend, i started feeling crappy, like i was fending off a cold or flu. i stayed home from work two days in a row. i slept a lot (thanks benadryl). and though i’m beginning to feel better physically, i am the proverbial basketcase in the emotions department.

i am weepy. so very very weepy. i can’t stop it. i can’t name it either. it’s just there. waterworks. poor, poor h. she worries. she frets. she can’t fix it.

and i’m frustrated. [cue more weepiness.] our beloved pets are driving me crazy. transition is rough for them, naturally, and since we moved in to our new place on saturday, we’ve had both kitty and puppy accidents. mostly on the stained concrete. easy cleanup. no big deal. oh but the cats are hell bent on escaping through open windows, and are already attempting to claw through the screens. and our little shit doxiepoo is working out his anxiety by digging holes in our brand new yard with the brand new sod.

we’re working with the dogs to get them adjusted and comfortable. longer walks, runs through open pastures in our new hood, etc. and the normal me would be able to take this transition in stride. but this crazy, hormonal, anxious me is harboring so much anger toward my dogs! and cats! i don’t want them to snuggle against me in bed. they make me feel claustrophobic.

i am experiencing so much guilt over this. when we decided to adopt our pets, we made a commitment to be responsible for them. i’m not planning to get rid of them or anything. but, as i told h the other day–while weeping and driving–would it kill them to respect our home? our stuff? ha. i know. i am insane. and pregnant. i know i know.

have any of you who have gone down the pregnancy path experienced such weird anxiety?

(i guess i have plenty to discuss with my therapist tomorrow.)

meanwhile, sparky continues to grow. here’s today’s belly shot at 23w4d. new bathroom, new mirror. crappy photo. sorry.

23w4d

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last goodbye.

gunnie was a little sensation on youtube. i had planned to film his first birthday for his youtube fans, but since that didn’t happen, i gave them this:

it was incredibly cathartic to do.

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goodnight.

at 8:30 tonight, we let our gunnie go.

already, he is buried outside the kitchen window, below his favorite window sill.

i held him as he went.

i will have more to say tomorrow.
for now, goodnight.

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warm fuzzies.

for photo friday, may i present the following FOUR fuzzy fotos:

1. judge clement earl pickles, age 3 months.
2. rabbi gunther buddy pickles, age 2 months.
3. my friend r. last summer, 8 months pregnant.
4. my sister e. last fall, kittens age 2 months.

clemmie couldn't escape the new camera for long!
pocket sized gunnie.
"she's kicking!"
new fisheye lens and eileen came to visit.

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