December 23

So today was my kids and my Christmas together since we will be with my family over Christmas Day. It was just the three of us. And the dog. The cat refused to participate, which was probably best since Chance snagged his catnip stuffed tree and ripped it up before Sousi got to even see it. When we finished dinner (chicken gravy over mashed potatoes and biscuits–and I actually cooked everything from scratch since I get grief from everyone for my instant potatoes), we opened presents from each other. Im not sure how others do it, but we always take turns so we can see what everyone gets and made the appropriate oohs and aahs. Bree said I did a good job this year. She was especially happy with the Baymax stuffed animal and Hobbit book. She’s a bit of a geek, like her mom. Poor Emma got two pair of gloves because I forgot what I had bought and already wrapped. Thankfully, she liked everything anyway, especially the Converse shoes she knew I had purchased a couple weeks ago and had been begging to wear ever since. And Chance loved his new bones, of course. Although he really, really wanted Bree’s stuffed animal. Unfortunately for all of us, he’s a destructive force with anything soft and stuffed. Baymax was immediately hidden. And me, well my kids gave me a cool sweatshirt they had painted a tardis on and a snow globe, which I love. And they also helped me clean up the basement earlier today. That I was super excited about considering we have not been able to use the basement since we moved in. Now we have a spot for yoga as well as doing crafts. But the real joy was hanging out with my kids, laughing and watching a sappy Christmas movie. And knowing how lucky I am. Tomorrow we will see my family, and then my kids will go with their dad to his family and I will head to Texas to see my boyfriend who’s with his family. It’s already a good Christmas and its not over yet. I’m thankful.

August 30

I took Chance down to play with my boyfriend’s dog, Barley. Some friends were over and the dogs kept each other company and stayed out of the way outside for a while. They are still young enough that they like to rough house for most Of their playtime. Chase and bite and chew on each other. We’re pretty used it and recognize that they’ve actually tamed a bit over the last couple of weeks. I think Chance, who is younger, is no longer teething so he’s not as anxious as he used to be. And Barley is a more laid back puppy to begin with. At any rate, they played pretty well outside, and as usual sat outside the sliding door looking worn out pathetically desperate to come in. Once again, we are used to this ruse. Once inside, a second wind hits and they begin a game of keep away. We can give them each an identical rawhide or bone or toy, and one will want the other’s, and so will begin a chase followed by barking and an occasional whelp when one gets particularly aggressive. It’s usually Chance who eventually won’t stop and thus, I end up simply taking him home. Tonight was no exception. I could see in his face that he was wound up, and no matter how I redirected him, he wouldn’t relax and just sit and chew on his bone. So we left. He fought me, tugging on his leash the entire way out the door. And I found myself rather irritated by when we finally got to the car. He sat next to me, panting, and I asked out loud, What is wrong with you? Why can’t you just behave when you’re here? People think you’re a crazy dog when you act like that. He simply looked at me, still a bit glassy eyed from adrenaline. And then I remembered how familiar that felt. My kids were sometimes the same way when they were toddlers. Acting up at other people’s houses, especially when there were other kids around. Throwing a fit when we had to leave. It usually embarrassed me, making me wonder why my normally sweet and usually well-behaved kids would turn into monsters. And always in front of others. Of course, I knew that wasn’t their normal behavior, and as a parent, I wanted others to know that too. I guess it’s no different as a pet parent. Chance is a sweetheart. A little rambunctious as a puppy, but not as undisciplined as he sometimes likes to act. So as we sat staring at each other in the car, I noticed that his amped up demeanor was hiding exhaustion. He’s hard to control because all kids throw fits when they’re tired. By the time we got home, he was his normal self. After a potty break, I had to carry him to his crate or he would have fallen immediately asleep on the sofa. I used to joke that babies were like puppies. Everything goes in their mouths, they drool, they crawl around through anything, they’ll go to the bathroom whenever or wherever. That was when my kids were babies. I’m thankful I remembered the connection tonight, for I didn’t stay irritated with him for too long. Puppies are like babies. And mine is still a bit in that phase. He’ll grow out of it soon enough.

July 23

I’m exhausted. And not because the new puppy kept me up all night. He didn’t. He went to his kennel at 9:30 pm and made no noise all night until I let him out at 6 am. But when I went home at lunchtime, he had gotten past the baby gates of his kennel and had roamed the house. A few things were chewed, but amazingly, I found no potty accidents and nothing of real value had been destroyed. So overall, Chance is being a great pup. It’s the constant worry about what he’s up to that’s wearing me out. It’s like having a toddler in the house. It’s quiet; where is he? He’s sniffing around; does he need to go out? And the puppy crate I ordered with a guarantee delivery for today never made it here. It’s putting a delay in my crate training. But if I can keep him to the routine we started, that will be good. He is a pretty smart puppy. He seems to be learning his name and listens when I call him. He even recognized our yard after just a couple walks in the neighborhood. I’m almost afraid to be too hopeful, but it does make me thankful I took a chance with this one. (Get it? Chance? Ok, I am tired.)