Well, the benefits and drawbacks of owning a dog continued to wage war in my mind this week. I spent half days thinking about how great she is for our family and how much the boys love her. Then I spent the second half of the days deeply regretting that we altered our lives in this way and wishing I could undo it. It’s been quite the rollercoaster of emotions. But I’ve come to accept that this is our life now and I like it. Annie has been more of a handful than I was expecting, but with every day it all becomes more and more routine. She feels more comfortable, and we become more accepting of her quirks. We all definitely love her, though! Even Greg!!
Overall, it’s been a pretty crazy busy week. Not at all “productive” in the way I usually think of that word (work! to do lists!), but it was filled, intense, and so, so exhausting.
I’ve learned that leaving Annie alone, even for 45 minutes, does not go over well with her. In the few days I had to run some errands I came home to total disasters over the house. She can get to any food on tables or counters if nobody is around to yell at her. One of the boys left the pantry open once, so she took every single dessert and snack out, one by one, and left little tooth holes in them. She apparently loves plastic packages because she shredded apart a package I had sitting out ready to go to the UPS drop box. She also took another package of swimsuits I was going to return and emptied it out and carried the swimsuits all over. She pulled a blanket off the futon. She bit holes in one of our cellular shades. She ate a brand new container of cinnamon butter. And she’s pulled out various fabric and yarn and chewed it up. It was mildly funny at first, but once she actually started destroying things I was pretty fed up. We borrowed our neighbor’s crate to try and use that when I leave the house, but we haven’t had a chance to try it yet. I just can’t deal with her destroying things every time I walk out the door without her, though.
On Monday, Shepard came home with a very red eye. I assumed it was pink eye because that seems to be running rampant through the school right now. And of course – they had a concert – so some sort of medical thing had to go wrong! I kept him home on Tuesday to take him to the doctor and she said that it definitely wasn’t pink eye. She suggested it was allergies. Either from the high pollen counts over the weekend, or from getting a new dog. Instead of suggesting we find out for sure, she just searched for the cheapest allergy medicine to put him on “in case it’s long term because of the dog.” I was pretty irritated about this resolution, so I made my own allergy appointment for later in the week. We were really fortunate there was a cancellation so we didn’t have to wait two months to get in. Why are allergists so hard to see?!
Anyway, the possibility that Shepard was allergic to Annie was the main reason for all the upset this week. If he really was allergic to dogs, I didn’t want to keep her. I DID, but I didn’t want Shepard to have to be on medicine for the rest of his childhood. It wasn’t worth it. So I was trying to keep in mind that she was still just a temporary part of our family. Which didn’t make the harder parts of owning a dog any easier. Besides the temper tantrums she had when left alone, she was also horrible on the walks I tried to take. My back has not hurt this bad in years. I have to have such a death grip on the leash and she never stops pulling. One of the main reasons I wanted a dog was to go on walks. I didn’t want those walks to be miserable because she’s so hard to control. So many emotions.
On Wednesday, I had a vet appointment to get Annie’s stitches out and get her final vaccinations. I thought that visit was really encouraging. The vet spent an hour with me going over everything a new dog owner should know. Also being very reassuring about the potty training struggle, letting me know it was totally normal. And on that front – Annie hasn’t had an accident in the house since Wednesday morning. She also hasn’t been allowed upstairs since then (where she was going the most), but I think we’ve finally made progress! The vet guesses that Annie is between one and two years old, rather than the originally assumed three. I’m hoping that explains why she’s still pretty naughty sometimes! She also guessed Australian Shepherd for the main breed. And everything else went well! Annie is healthy and they all thought she was such a sweet and good dog.
Wednesday night was pretty traumatic. The boys and I decided to take Annie on her first harness walk. We went to the school playground. It was sprinkling and nobody else was around, so I let Caden hold her leash and the three of them were just running in circles around the playground having the greatest time. And then Annie saw another dog and took off. Caden and I both started running as fast as we could to try and get her. She was around a corner, so we couldn’t see her at all. Shepard was instantly so upset he was sobbing. I thought he was right behind me when I ran past. Annie stopped when she got to the other dog (I don’t think that owner was very happy with us!), and we got ahold of her. I turned around to reassure Shepard and he wasn’t there. We went back to the playground and searched everywhere to no avail. Caden and I started running around the block in opposite directions screaming his name. There have been some recent attempted abductions in Beaver Dam this week, so of course that’s where my mind went. I mean, the likelihood of someone looking to kidnap a child at that most perfect opportune moment of a dog getting away from us, was pretty slim. But we couldn’t find Shepard. Finally, Caden spotted him hiding inside some hedges along the school fence. He was still so upset and it took forever for me to pry his hands away from the fence and get him to walk home with us. Once we finally headed home, Caden started crying because he was so upset he let her get away from him. So many complex feelings going on. Again.
So back at home, after everyone sitting in silence for an hour, the boys decided to get Annie riled up with her toys again. She jumped on the futon at the exact time Shepard ran into the back of it and her toenails scratched Shepard across the eyelid. He ran to me and was crying with his head on his lap. When he lifted his head – no exaggeration – his entire face was covered in blood. It was pretty scary! But we got it cleaned up and it wasn’t as serious as it looked before. But he did have a nice puffy eye for the rest of the week. TOUGH DAY.
Late Thursday morning I picked up Shepard from school to bring him to the allergist in Madison. We spend sooo much time going to doctors with him these days! The appointment went pretty well. They were very kind and listened to my concerns – not only about the dog possibility, but also about why he coughed all winter long. And then they did the official allergy test. He was awesome throughout the whole thing. And final result – Shepard isn’t allergic to dogs. Or allergic to anything! The eye was most likely red (it wasn’t red anymore at this point) because of something viral. So I’m thrilled he doesn’t have any allergies. And a little ticked off that the regular doctor was happy to just put him on allergy meds without thinking it was worth finding out for sure if he even had them. But all is good. No more reason to hold Annie at a distance either. She is ours.
Thursday night was the boys’ spring concert. It was a rushed evening of barely getting home in time to pick up Caden and then trying to get dinner on the table, still get Annie outside and exercised after not being home half the day, etc. So much chaos!
Looking handsome and posing like boys!
The concert went really well. Caden was singing his heart out! We couldn’t see Shepard very well during the songs, but he didn’t look like he was nervous or anything. I’m glad we all made it to the concert in relatively good health this year!!
On Friday afternoon we took Annie to the dog park for the first time. Columbus has a really nice six acre dog park right along the river. Annie LOVED it. She gets so excited when she sees or hears other dogs outside and I’ve been too nervous to get close enough to see how she acts around them. But no aggression in sight, she really just wants some playmates! She was having the greatest time playing with all the other dogs. She seems to really like going after the ones that are bigger than her. She seems fascinated by smaller dogs and seems to want to sit on them. It was pretty hilarious! We took her again Saturday morning, after buying the annual pass. I think we’ll be spending lots and lots of time at the dog park from now on!
And finally, finally, on Saturday I finished up some dolls I was trying to work on all week. It was not a good week for work. Is it ever anymore?! I love doing it, I love the finished product. But finding the time to just sit down and work feels nearly impossible these days. And it’s only going to get worse as our schedules get very crazy this next month and a half. Summer won’t be any easier with kids home and running around all day either. Almost a full school year behind me and I still don’t feel like I have the slightest grip on this work at home full time thing. It’s frustrating.
So! That was my week! It was a lot. It was exhausting. It was just about more than I could handle. I don’t want weeks that are that emotional.
Moving on! I don’t have any major intentions for the week, other than that I want to enjoy it. The boys have spring break Wednesday afternoon through Wednesday morning of the next week. I hate the timing, but we’ll try to make the most of it. I asked them each individually last week how they wanted to spend spring break. They both answered “Play with Annie.” So I think we’ll try and take her to some other parks, have picnics, doing simple things that we haven’t enjoyed since last fall. I’d like to try and take a trip to the zoo. Either Milwaukee or Madison, haven’t decided yet. They want to eat at Ponderosa, their favorite restaurant. And of course we have Easter. I’m sure it’ll fly by, but I hope we can enjoy it. I don’t plan on doing any work that week, so I can just be present with my kids. And pets!
Easter festivities start today with the annual egg hunt at the park and then our annual egg dyeing party right after. It looks like the weather is going to be perfect! It should be a really fun day. Then a couple of days of errands and catch up before the fun really begins!
Monday – Leftovers of today’s roast beef sandwiches
Tuesday – Probably more leftovers of the hot dogs and sausages we’re having for lunch today
Wednesday – Steak Stir Fry
Thursday – Ravioli
Friday – Pizza, maybe something unique (PS – Last week’s California Pizza was delicious!!)
Well, time to get back to work! Have a great week! Happy spring break!