Lately it’s been all about the dog. And the dog is great, but there’s also the kitties.
ESP, the wonder kitty
And the garden…which will be scattered throughout this post.
Side Yard Tomato Garden
This work week went by quickly for me. Tao of Bird returned home from his month-long visit with his father on Thursday, with slightly more (or less) fanfare than usual. My Birdy. He’s been afraid of dogs ever since his beloved Twyla died, and then he had a bad run-in with a dog at a friend’s house. His fear of dogs is real, but it’s also dangerous to him, because it causes him to behave in all of the ways that make a dog attack you if he is to run into a dog who might attack him.
We’re still getting tomatoes. I actually took these photos after I harvested a handful of cherry tomatoes & there are more on the vine.
Regardless, I didn’t get a dog to cure TOB of his fear of dogs. I got a dog because Twyla died 2 years ago, and I’ve had a dog for most of my life and it was time to get a dog. Time to resume nightly walks. Time to nurture something. Time for ME to have a dog. So, I considered TOB’s fear, but I took a gamble – which is something that parents do frequently – and adopted the dog.
I spent a serious amount of time considering how to break the news to TOB. There isn’t a lot of communication between us when he’s at his dad’s. He prefers it that way. And I didn’t want him to feel anxious about the dog for a prolonged period of time so he could build it up in his head and have it affect his time there. So, I waited. Two days before he was supposed to come home, I texted him. “I have something to talk to you about. Can you please call me when you get a chance.”
ESP among the tomatoes.
He called immediately. I told him. “I got a dog.” I said. He said “Like, you BOUGHT a dog, or we’re TAKING CARE OF a dog? Or maybe you are FOSTERING a dog…or is it a forever dog.” “I adopted a dog. She is a rescue. She’s a parvo dog. You are gonna like her so much. She’s SOOOO sweet. And I promise that you can set the pace for getting to know her. I’ll do whatever I need to do to make you comfortable with the dog.”
“I won’t ever be comfortable with the dog.”
“Well, ok. If it turns out that you just can’t be comfortable with the dog, I will find a new home for her. We’ll figure it out when you get here.”
“You can’t just give the dog back, mom. It’s fine. I know you need a dog to take walks with at night. I’ll be fine. I’ll just be in my room A LOT more.”
“We’ll figure it out when you get here.”
“Want me to send a picture of the dog?”
“NO. I gotta go.”
Pepper plants and back yard beds.
Two days later, he’s home. None of us was sure when he’d get here, but he showed up while I was working in my room with Lulu, but my housemates were in the living room with their dog. She barked at TOB. He dealt with it OK, Went to his room. Allowed minimal interaction with the dogs. Just enough to make them a little curious about him. I asked him if he wanted to feed Lulu a treat. “NO.”
The next morning, I let Lulu out of my room while TOB was in his bunk. I told him she was there, went to the bathroom…and heard a loud “WOOF!” and TOB’s door slam shut.
“THAT’S why I don’t like dogs!”
Rosemary, sage, aloe, flowers…and Samantha’s rear end.
All apologies, I settled Lulu down. Explaining “She barks at you because she doesn’t know you yet. This breed of dog was bred to protect her family. Once she knows you are family, she’ll protect you, too. When you are ready to come out, you can give her a cookie. Until you get comfy with her, you can be known to her as ‘That guy who just randomly gives me cookies all the time.’ and of course she’ll love you!”
TOB timidly steps out of his room. Lulu sniffs him. Wags her tail. He gives her a cookie. She patiently waits for more. Then he pets her head. I tell him “I read that Great Danes are really sensitive to vocal tones. They tend to prefer women, because they like the higher tones, and they get sad when you use the cookie monster voice with them. They’re really sensitive, and they want you to be happy.”
My neglected sage plant. She’s a survivor!
TOB nods. Waves me away.
I walk outside with Lulu, TOB follows, says “Hi, Lulu!” in high-pitched voice. I say “Lulu says ‘Oooh…there’s that guy who gives me cookies!” TOB responds “When I was afraid of dogs” (past-tense!!!) “I think it was because I’m a pragmatist, and I don’t hear the dogs saying those things that you say they are saying. Mostly I just think about their teeth.”
We sat down in the chairs in the backyard. He said “Remember when I asked if Lulu was a temporary dog or a permanent dog? Well, now I’m hoping she’s a permanent dog. I really like her, and I don’t think I’m afraid of dogs anymore. I’m glad you decided to get her.”
And that, my friends, was that. A rare, ACKNOWLEDGED, parenting win. I couldn’t have been more relieved.
Now we just gotta get the CATS acclimated.