September 16

Things have been doggie dominated in my house since I brought Chance home a couple months ago. We are all getting more acclimated and into a routine, but there are still moments of extreme frustration. Like last night when I was on the phone with the cable guy who was walking me through a problem with a non-working tv, and I realized the house was too quiet. Once I was able to get away from the tv, I found the dog chewing the decorations off my daughter’s sandal. It was the first time he had actually destroyed a shoe and I couldn’t yell at him because I had a cable guy chatting in my ear. Instead I gave him my most “I’m disgusted with this” look and a shake of the fist while mouthing “bad dog!” None of which made an impact on his tail wagging as he sat waiting for what I could only guess was a treat. Or lunch time yesterday when my daughter sent me a picture of the bag of expensive orchard apples that had been scattered all over the kitchen floor and carried outside onto the porch. Now every apple is bruised or bitten. Apparently leaving things on the kitchen island is no longer safe, even though he usually never bothers stuff sitting there. And this evening, instead of heading out for a walk like normal, he unexpectedly darted out the door and took a quick left through the landscaping, pulling me almost directly though the butterfly bush laden with bees. What the heck, dog.

I’m trying to remember what I read last week about the phases of puppy growth. Apparently around his age is when the “teenage years” begin. When puppies start pushing boundaries and testing limits. Glad to see he’s on track. Part of me wishes he’d just jump ahead and past this. But I know now is the time to stick with the training and discipline because it will make a big difference once he’s full grown. I think if we don’t get off-track now, he’s going to be a great dog. Fingers crossed. In the meantime, I’m exceedingly grateful that he’s able to hang out and get worn out with my boyfriend’s puppy. After some time together tonight, Chance was asleep by 8:30 and I was able to get homework done in peace.

August 21

I dream of the day I am able to deep clean my house. I realized today when I came home at lunchtime to get the allergy pill I meant to take this morning but left on the counter instead that my house smells like D.O.G. That’s something I never thought I’d say. Seriously. I actually have a very keen sense of smell myself, so I’m usually pretty aware of odors. It was a bit disconcerting to admit that I don’t notice it much when I’m home. That means either the rain storm we had last night and the accompanying humidity today are just making it seem worse than it is, or I’ve let my housekeeping go. Since I’m going for honesty here, I’m going with the latter. It’s time for proper scrubbing, vacuuming, and spraying of all surfaces.

Yet while I acknowledge that I need to do some heavier cleaning at home (this weekend!), I also have to admit that my lackadaisical attitude lately speaks to my growing tolerance and/or patience level. Puppy training has been hard. And kind of consuming. Items have been scooped off of floors and dumped on top of cabinets. Stairs have been blocked off with baby gates and become a dumping ground for shoes. Things get thrown down to the lower level and out of sight of Chance while he’s not looking and then stay there. Rugs got rolled up and set on tables. My free time at home is spent walking Chance or playing with him or watching him play with Barley, my boyfriend’s dog. We’re learning how to incorporate him into the family, so it’s necessary time spent. In the meantime, though, I still have piles of papers in my office to file. My basement is still a disaster. Clothes get washed and dried but piled in the laundry room. And dust is accumulating. There was a day when I would have been pretty bothered by getting so far off of my normal cleaning routine. But I know things will eventually get done, just at a slower pace. I need to remind myself of this sometimes in other areas of my life. Work or relationships. Be patient and plug along at what I can accomplish. Eventually it comes together.

I suspect my household will never again be quite as clean-smelling now that I’ve invited this little whirlwind of a dog into it. But when I see his little face peering out the front window when I leave or how excited he is to see me when I return, I figure it’s a good trade. Something new to be thankful for.

July 30

There needs to be more time in the day after 5:00 pm. In the last week I’ve gotten on a completely different schedule and am now finding myself getting up earlier and earlier, and I don’t even have the dog to blame. Chance still doesn’t whine or bark in the night. My cat, however, thinks 5 am is time to wake up and attend to his needs. Out of guilt, I’ve been letting him sleep with me, something I don’t normally do. I don’t like the fact that he takes a bath at bedtime. Or purrs loudly in my ear. Or bites my hands when he wants to be petted. Usually, I shut my bedroom door at night, only now I have been keeping it open to hear the dog. Plus, the first couple of nights I tried to keep the normal routine, the cat sat outside pounding on my door and meowing loudly, in tones that sounded like I was being cussed out and yelled at. He wasn’t pleased with our new addition. Either I let him in and put up with his nocturnal bathing, or I locked him out and woke up to pounding. Ultimately, the bathing was less noxious. Given the state of affairs recently, I’m confident I will eventually be able to sleep alone again. The dog and cat have been sighted within inches of each other without incident. A hiss and a tail wag is the norm. At any rate, this morning I woke up at 4:30 with no one but myself to blame. I just woke up. And then had trouble getting back to sleep. I did, but only briefly before the alarm rang at 6:00. And the sleep was punctuated by strange dreams of bathing in a sink in front of a sliding glass door behind which was my entire extended family sitting on couches in what appeared to be my late grandmother’s living room. I’m not even sure what to say about that except I’m sure my day to day hassles are to blame. My kitchen sink sprung a leak yesterday, I’ve been trying to get the dog to go out of the sliding doors to the deck, I’ve been wishing my family lived closer. That’s what I tell myself anyway. So what am I thankful in all of this? Well, nothing as far as getting little sleep is concerned. Getting up earlier means I’m tired earlier, which means I have less time after work to get things done. I’m sure I’ll get used to the routine and maybe actually do more in the morning besides drink coffee and sit outside. I am thankful for a small break tonight though. My boyfriend invited me out for pizza and beer. No dogs. No house projects. No worries. That was really nice.