How often do you walk YOUR dog?

Today was the Big Day, Day One, the first day of separation for me and my dog, which I guess makes for kind of a lame subject but it’s my site and I’ll do with it what I want, dammit.

I actually had to leave her outside today because I suspected she isn’t really housebroken, she’s just good at recognizing that outside is a good place to do her business (as opposed to knowing that inside, isn’t). The weather was nice enough so I didn’t worry *that* much while I was at work (god, what a lie)… stuff. It’s been a long day. It’s going to keep being a long day until I can get this situation under control.

Gracie, whose name I’ve had trouble remembering these past three hours because I’m JUST THAT TIRED and I had a killer headache all tonight, is *not* housebroken, or if she was, that training was quickly undone from spending a month in a shelter where the floors are concrete, so if the dogs go to the bathroom in their kennels, no big deal. She has yet to do anything on a carpeted surface, however, so maybe we’ve got at least *that* going for us.

I bought a pet door this afternoon, only to come home and find that the sliding glass door is almost a foot taller than the pet door. In a moment of panic, I went back to Petsmart and returned the door and bought a *crate*, thinking, hey, I can crate train this dog in three hours!

Please to note I hadn’t eaten anything yet and blame my irrational thinking accordingly.

Needless to say, she peed in her crate the first time I left her in there (yes, I got her to enter it willingly on her own beforehand, yes, I praised her and pet her while she was in her crate to stress that it wasn’t a punishment zone, yes, I left the goddamn TV on while I left the room, YES, this crate is the right size for her), and that was a duration of 30 minutes. The second round of 30 minutes in the crate was successful, and we’re in the middle of a third.

I guess I’m just not sure if I want to crate train her or if I just want to find a right-sized pet door. Blarg.

It all goes back to my instinct to flee when a situation proves to be incredibly difficult. I knew a dog would come with challenges, but somehow– I don’t know. I crave commitment but am intensely afraid of it, I crave change but change stresses me the fuck out.

That being said, Gracie’s been sleeping on the higher-end dog bed (SIGH OF RELIEF) and she’s been eating her rice (AND AGAIN). O-wa.

I know I need to shut up about my dog already, but…

Hey, when you get your first dog, or first cat, or first fish, or first kid, you’ll totally understand and forgiveness will seep from your pores.

Gracie looks more like a Weimaraner mix than she does a black-and-tan hound mix. Well. Build-wise. Then again, what do I know about dog breeds?

I took Gracie for her evening walk and made some discoveries of both the good and bad kind.

The good: Some organization provides free doggy bags (um, no, not the leftover food kind) at the little neighborhood park down the street. Free bags!

The bad: Or at least the strange. This dog likes to pee and poop like 16-year-old boys like to masturbate. Let me just say that I had three bags on me at the start of the walk, and fifteen minutes later, i’d used all three. At least it’s only outside.

I’m having trouble dealing with the fact that I have to go to work tomorrow, but this time, it’s not because I have to go to work, it’s because I have to leave Gracie. Am suddenly feeling hypocritical for seeking out a dog that was specifically NOT riddled with separation anxiety issues. And I think I’ll have to leave her outside tomorrow while I’m at work because I have yet to get a pet door insert for the sliding glass door so that Gracie can go outside whenever she needs to, and I don’t think The Roommate is too keen on Gracie and I don’t want to deepen that potential dislike by having him come home (he always comes home before me at nights, plus he comes home for lunch) to a puddle in the kitchen, or worse, to poop.

Leave it to the adoption of a dog to introduce the subject of farts and poop to this site. It’s suddenly beginning to sound more and more like Dooce.

The color of hope

This is Gracie (sometimes known as Grey, also known as Baby, Sweetie, and Pretty Girl), the newest change in my life:

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She has hazel eyes that border on olive and they look very out of place in her otherwise black-and-white color scheme. Though, her coat is black in the way that coffee is black– in the light, it shows up as more of an espresso brown.

I’ve been trying to find a suitable name for her all day, as I’ve been trying to find a suitable dog name in general since I decided I absolutely HAD TO HAVE a dog. I don’t want something overly poetic, like Persephone or Desdemona, because I don’t want to be the kind of dog owner other people roll their eyes at ("What a pretentious dog name– it’s like she thinks she’s an English major!") and I didn’t want something overly cute, like Jelly Bean or Bootsie, because if I’m at the dog park and there are a bunch of guys around, I’d like to be able to call out my dog’s name without sounding like… well, like a girl. *You* know. A GIRL girl.

In the same light, I didn’t want to give her an obvious name like Pepper or Midnight or Shadow. I thought about Dell and its variations (Del Mar, Delaware, Delaney), Pen and its variations (Pendulum, Penumbra, Penfeather), and various cities (London, Brighton, Tallahassee).

The Guy came over and threw out a few suggestions after encountering first-hand the results of my dog’s stress levels combined with a questionable diet, leading to a disturbed digestive and gastrointestinal system, which is all just a long-winded way of saying my dog farts. He proposed I name her after "ladies" who refused to be ladylike in their eras– Molly Brown, Eliza Doolittle, Mae West. I kind of liked Mae because it reminded me of Mayzie, Dr. Seuss’ vainglorious bird, but I still wasn’t sure. I sort of wanted something that reflected what this dog is for me, namely, hope for an escape from my depression, but– nothing sappy or corny.

When I was saying goodbye to The Guy at the door, I asked him what he thought of the name "Gracie." I explained I’d wanted to name her that since before I adopted her, but it just felt like a cheesy sort of name– he said he didn’t think there was anything cheesy about it and he thought it was nice.

Since then (a whole 30 minutes ago), I’ve been calling her Gracie and I can’t stop, which I guess means that’s her name now. She looks at me when I call her by her name, and looks at me in such a manner, as if to say, "Woman, what took you so long to figure out my name? IT’S ABOUT TIME."

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Gracie walks, sits, runs, skips, and even breathes like a horse, and her long, long legs only contribute to the correlation. She *leaps* before she takes off running and does a little half-jump before briefly skittering across the living room in pursuit of a toy, and makes little whuffing noises when she’s lying down. Her coat reminds me of a horse, too, and I groom her accordingly; a soft wire-bristle brush acts like the currycomb and a soft-bristle brush sweeps off and collects the loosened fur and dirt. She had her bath this afternoon (and behaved marvellously), and now her coat is nice and shiny.

I’m trying to figure out what her history might have been. I don’t think her past family mistreated her because she doesn’t show any signs of abuse. She doesn’t shake and she’s incredibly personable. She understands the role of toys and fetches and tugs and chews contentedly, implying she’s had them before. Her manners, the flatulence aside, are commendable: she doesn’t jump up, she has yet to get into the trash, she doesn’t jump on the furniture, she doesn’t beg at the table for food (not actively, anyway). Because she’d been in the shelter since Feb. 4, I have to assume she wasn’t a lost pet; I’m guessing she’s one of the many dogs in this city who are given up by their families because of moving issues. The fact that she had hot pink nail polish on her nails leads me to believe the owners had children. I like to believe that Gracie was very, very loved in her previous home, and I’m sure she loved them back with equal affection.

She’s on the skinny side and I’m trying to fatten her up and improve her digestion, but she refuses to eat the chicken-flavored rice I made and mixed in with her kibble. ::sigh::

She’s crazy energetic if you ask her to be. The Guy came over tonight to see her, and as soon as she heard the knock on the front door, she perked up (she’d been napping all evening) and looked at me, waiting for me to get up so I could open it and she could see who was there. And sure enough, as soon as I opened the door, her tail started wagging furiously and she was pressed up against his legs, body wiggling in joy.

And yes, watching The Guy play with Gracie made me melt, just a little.

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And of course, one of the great advantages of having Gracie is, new subject material for my posts.

Whatever Lola wants

So, I got a dog.

She’s nothing like the dog I thought I was going to get, the dog I’ve had in mind for a week– appearance-wise, anyway. Personality-wise– she is, so far, everything I wanted. She doesn’t bark, doesn’t growl, doesn’t HAVE to be at my side every second, doesn’t jump, isn’t picky about her food or treats, and is all about the tail-wagging, though not so keen on licking. Strange that I should want a face-licking dog… strange to me, at least.

She seems intelligent and her breeding would certainly indicate a high learning curve. She’s a black Lab/hound mix with a few white markings here and there– a FAR cry from my shaggy Golden mix– and she gives the impression of knowing basic commands like "sit" and "down." I’m praying she’s housetrained, if only because The Roommate isn’t the hugest dog person in the world.

Already, the house feels different. Already, I know things are changing, though I couldn’t say whether for better or worse. There’s more movement in this house, life suddenly stirred into the air– the sound of her nails clicking on the stone tiles makes my heart smile.

But I’m overwhelmed, just a little. I chose this dog by myself, and she is solely my responsibility. As with every decision I make on my own, I’m worried– calmly terrified– that I’ve made the wrong one. That this will all turn out to be a terrible mistake. That I’ll somehow end up giving her a life worse than that at the shelter, worse than that at her previous home, wherever that was.

To do: eat breakfast, give The Dog a bath, give The Dog a name, and in no particular order.

An unserious interruption and I swear I haven’t had a drop of alcohol tonight

Some of the more colorful characters at the bar/pub/place of alcohol service tonight:

–The woman with the Mormon hair, you know, with the bangs and the volume and thick poufy texture. She was a crimping iron and a scrunchie away from being a spokesmodel for the ’80s.

–The big tall guy with the womanly coiffure and the oddly-shaped moustache who kept smoking those disgusting cigars and who was swinging and twisting his big tall ass WAY too close to me when the band was playing that Elvis song. There was absolutely no need for him to travel across that much floor space.

–The guy, THAT GUY, who insists on stripping you of any "personal space" whatsoever. The place could be empty save for you two, and he’d still plant himself literally two inches away from you. After approaching you with such determination, such purpose. And then not say a word, or at least not to you, because you can see his lips moving but he’s not looking at you, he’s not actually looking at anyone in particular, he’s just kind of staring off into space. And then he laughs, and falls back into an inanimate state.

–The yippy dog. This chick, whenever the band plays "Jump Around," doesn’t so much jump around as she does jump up and down, and in a way that J. pointed out to me resembles a yippy dog jumping up to get your attention. She even has that sort of expression on her face. It’s amazing.

–That asshole. I know there are a lot of assholes, especially on a very drunken Saturday night inside a VERY drunken pub, but, goddamn, he just looked like the kind of drunken ass who would, once sufficiently inebriated, look you right in the eyes and tell you with a straight face all your shortcomings and proceed to humiliate and insult you in front of everyone you know, plus a crowd of complete strangers. He kind of resembled Matthew Broderick in a less attractive and more drunken asshole way. Plus he consistently refused to move every time a server tried to get past him with several drinks in hand (one resorted to shouting, "I’m going to kill you!" after several attempts of "Excuse me!" failed to get his attention). NOT TO MENTION the fact that he ruined three PERFECTLY good Irish Car Bombs by dropping the shot into the Guinness as soon as the waitress brought him the drinks, then LETTING THEM SIT for at least 30 seconds. And then having the audacity to try and get the band to drink them anyway, even after they’d informed him of his royal fuck-up. Though the guitarist still drank his and reported it as being "like drinking cottage cheese." In my opinion, from what I know of unintentionally curdled dairy, I think I’d rather drink cottage cheese over *that*, any day.

–Pirates! Yes, pirates! In all their piratey pirate-garb wonder! With wenches in tow! Amazing!

–And Matt! And Hubert!

–And finally, that exceptionally suave Australian rugby player who is more drunk stone sober than I am completely wasted. His mouth is perhaps the most bacteria-free zone this side of the bottle of alcohol. The last I saw him, he had his latest victim wrapped around his finger, the blondness of her hair rendering her helpless against his debonair ways and seemingly blind to his ridiculously bloodshot eyes.

Time for bed. I have dogs to filter through tomorrow. ::sigh::

Still pining

I went dog-hunting today and went home empty-handed, very much dog-less and very much dismayed. The Guy had been kind enough to volunteer to go with me, and inevitably got subjected to my wild mood swings.

Understand, I have trouble restraining myself and tend to put all my eggs in one basket. I would see a dog and fall in love with it, insert its image into my visions of the future to see how it would fit, believe that the fit was perfect, convince myself that this, THIS was the dog for me, the one and only– only to discover, oh, it’s a boy dog, or, oh, it refuses to look at me and pulls hard on its leash and won’t lick me, or, oh, it snarls whenever I or The Guy tries to approach it.

Or, in the case at Dewey, oh, she won’t be available for adoption until 1:56 Monday and there are two people ahead of me already (and who in their right mind would turn down that dog? My only chance of getting her banked on those two parties not showing up).

In short, it was three hours of building dreams sky-high and watching them crumble to the ground, leaving behind a very, very large mess. By the time The Guy and I had lunch (the first thing either of us had had to eat), I’d stopped speaking and pretty much stared out the window the whole time.

There are two more animal shelters I’ve yet to investigate and, as The Guy told me (though he said this after the fourth disappointment and I was SO not in the mood to hear it), new dogs arrive at shelters all the time… but it’s hard to let go of a dream, even if it was a foolish dream to begin with. It’s hard to convince myself that the dog at Dewey (which is perhaps one of the worst-kept shelters I have ever visited) *isn’t* the one for me, even though her temperament was lovely and she was a small-built Golden and she wagged her tail furiously and licked me when I put my fingers against her cage door and never barked. It’s hard to convince myself that the family who takes her on Monday will give her a better home than I could have, that indeed, there are other dogs out there and one of them will be even better than this one was.

Despite my unwillingness to believe tomorrow’s or next weekend’s efforts will be more fruitful, I nonetheless stopped at Costco on the way home from The Guy’s and bought a dog bed. And I’m stopping by my parents’ house to pick up the excess dog supplies I’d gotten for Sass which stayed behind when she was taken to my sister’s place.

On top of it all, about an hour ago, I checked my e-mail, and in my inbox was a message from the Adopt a Rescue Pet woman whom I’d contacted regarding the Golden mix (the dog that was STOLEN). She’d written back to let me know that the dog would be at Petsmart today and tomorrow from 12 to 5.

And the thing is, I was there. At Petsmart. From 11:50 to 12:20. And though I don’t remember seeing her– and I’m sure I looked at *every* dog– I remember getting in my car and, oddly enough, thinking I’d seen a nametag on one of those cages that read "Cupcake" (this dog’s name– something I will change right away if possible).

Part of me wants to hold out hope that she’ll be there again tomorrow, though I can’t understand why she would be because she’s just so damn adorable (though maybe she doesn’t like other dogs? little kids? cats?  Or maybe she isn’t housetrained? Or maybe she barks like a fiend and chews everything in sight and runs away?), and part of me doesn’t think I can stand another disappointment. So I’m going back to that Petsmart (which is on the other side of town) tomorrow morning, but I’m not expecting to find her, or I’m not expecting her to have the right temperament. Or maybe, as with so many cases online in both the canine and human world, she’ll look NOTHING like her photo and will actually turn out to be a Doberman/German Shepherd mix. Or maybe she’ll turn out to be a boy. You never know.

All I know is, I want a dog so much it’s ridiculous. I want a dog more than some parents wanted their child. And why not? Sure, dogs don’t grow up and give you homemade drawings to stick on your fridge (unless it’s one of those painting pets), and dogs won’t support you when you’re old and wobbly, but dogs also don’t steal your car and take it out joyriding or get caught with bags of weed and get thrown in jail. Dogs also don’t get snippity with you and run up the phone bill.

As Dave Attell put it, only about boats instead of dogs:

"I’d rather have a *boat*, ’cause you can name a boat. And a boat doesn’t get in trouble like a child, it doesn’t do drugs, or get arrested, or go away to Burning Man and come home and say, ‘Daddy, I’m no longer a boat, I think I’m a *ferry*’– it doesn’t do that!"

(For the longest time, I thought he was saying "fairy." That clever Dave Attell…)

The flash turned them pink

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I finally got around to putting up pictures of the roses The Guy got for me on Valentine’s Day. These were taken… on Saturday afternoon, so, when they were six days old (he gave them to me Sunday night). A week and four days into my ownership of them, the flowers are still hanging in there, though the tight curling of the petals makes me think of mummies. Go figure.

The Guy says the flowers were only supposed to live for seven days (seven nights? he made some sort of Chanukah-Hannukah-Channukka-however-the-hell-you-spell-it reference), so it’s pretty impressive that they’re still alive. It works wonders, that Sierra Mist!

I didn’t bother to do color correction for the photos that are uploaded in that album, though I touched up the two posted here… my camera apparently oversaturates. My roses are more of a traditional-rose red, that crimson, blood-red shade. And if I could imbed their scent into these files, *trust* me, I would.

In other news… Feather will rage at me for this, but I’ve officially become a fan of DMB. The "Live at Red Rocks" compilation is just SO. DAMN. GOOD. The guitar for "Proudest Monkey"? The percussion for "Satellite"? And, my god, do I even *need* to mention "Dancing Nancies"?

I think the total running time for both discs is just over 2 hours. On Tuesday at work, all I listened to was this compilation, which means that, yes, I listened to each disc nearly four full times. Addicted? Lazy? I can’t explain why I didn’t take it off repeat, but, there it is.

One of my coworkers complained about flowers, the fact that they wither and die and it depresses her. I think mortality makes them all the more beautiful, somehow– but that’s just me.

And, yes, I STILL want a dog.

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Victimized

Somebody took my dog, the dog I found ALL ON MY OWN two days ago and have been thinking about nonstop ever since. The dog that managed to steal my heart through the vacuous powers of the Internet, the dog I was already coming up with names for.

I called the rescue society this afternoon to see when I could go and meet this dog and possibly smuggle her into my car and abscond with her back to my house, but as soon as I mentioned her (posted) name, the woman informed me that she was with a foster-to-adopt home and the family still had one week left to decide whether they wanted to permanently keep her.

I was in utter and complete shock; the website, which I was under the impression was up-to-date because there was a little comment in the posting that said "up-to-date," said she hadn’t even *found* a foster home yet. My disappointment was on par with that of meeting up with someone from an online dating service only to realize that their "athletic" build is athletic all right, only also buried under 50 pounds of excess flesh, and oh yeah, they look NOTHING like their photo. Um. Not that I know this from personal experience.

But– my dog! My dog has been stolen, and with absolutely no regard to the fact that THIS DOG WAS SUPPOSED TO BE MINE. And I was so disheartened and upset on the way home thinking about it that I completely forgot to make my turn, and driving down Eastern during rush hour, you don’t want to be on that damn street any longer than completely necessary; thus, errands = put off for another day.

It all comes of having a personality that knows no middle ground. There will never be another dog that will be nearly as perfect for me as I (intuitively) know that dog was. Just as there will never be another relationship following the one I’m currently in, there will never be another batch of chicken soup as impressive as the first one I made, and there will never be another Pixar movie as good as "Finding Nemo," oh, woe, woe is the weary world, let the earth melt away into a puddle and the sun shortly thereafter explode.

At least now I’ll have something to talk about tomorrow morning. A whole hour of bitching about this family that is depriving me of my one chance at flying-solo happiness. I’m sure she’ll *love* that.

I’m sorry, but it SUCKS

Earlier this afternoon, I was watching snippets of "Project Runway," incidentally, the exact same (and only) episode I’d seen before, the one with the wedding gown designs. And as the models were strutting the catwalk, I noticed that there was a shadow projected onto the backstage screen, or maybe it was a silhouette since I can’t figure out how it could have been a shadow– anyway, it was the "Project Runway" logo, only backwards, and only part of it was visible.

And I just can’t believe it’s coincedence that the last four letters of the show’s name, the only four letters that showed up on the screen, spell "YAWN."

Heidi Klum may be showcase worthy in the silent pages of a magazine spread, but an attention-grabbing and riveting progam host, she ain’t.

With a knick-knack paddy-whack

I WANT A DOG.

Actually, I want a cat. Actually, I already have a wonderful squooshmuffin of a cat who lives at the old house, a cat to whom The Guy is hugely allergic, a condition which prevents me from even entertaining the notion of getting a cat for this house. So, while I’d really like a cat, The Guy’s allergies nudge me to my next option, which is:

A dog.

A real dog, not a pansy dog like the five yippy things my mother has raised in her house. And what used to be MY DOG has been relocated to San Diego, where she is so deliriously happy that I don’t have the heart to ask for her back. Though how my sister can handle four, yes, FOUR dogs all by herself is beyond me.

I want a dog. It’s all The Guy has heard for the last two days as I’ve been pitifully announcing this heartstring-tugging desire nonstop to him, to anyone who will listen, actually. I need something to love intensely, an outlet so I don’t end up smothering *him*… my bedroom is so quiet and so empty, and, my god, how wonderfully a dog would fill this house with a little more life, a little more sunshine.

I’ve already staked out corners in the house for her bed(s), her toy box, her water dish, her food dish. I’d like it to be a female if only because, in my experience, male dogs will lift their legs on *anything*– not to mention the incurable humping– and, somehow, it just feels right that my first dog, Sassa aside, would be a girl. I’ve made allowances for waking up an hour or two earlier in the mornings to spend time with the dog and take her for a walk or run, for being home as much as possible and not traipsing off somewhere for the day without making proper accomodations, for nightly brushings and teeth cleanings.

A Golden mix would be nice, I think; I love Goldens, but the purebreds are a large breed and I need a medium-sized dog, one with shaggy fur and a lolling tongue and a plumy tail.

The Guy was very supportive of my endless babble about dogs tonight and says that if this is what I really want, if I really think a dog would help me out, he won’t be one to discourage me from it. So there’s hope. We’ll see. Which is what I said when I was thinking about moving out, and then BOOM! I moved out and here I am and I’m not exactly sure this was the right thing to do, but, you know, this is just a house, and a dog, a DOG, it’s a BIG FUCKING DEAL. A dog!

Dog dog dog dog dog.

-"Are you happy with your wash?"
-"I don’t know– I’m a dog!"
(Eddie Izzard)