Thursday, March 14, 2013

Dog Days

One of my clinical group friends needed a favor.  She was going to Florida for the first week of spring break, and didn't know what to do with her dog.  I'll take her, I said.  I'll be here in New Haven, and it's better than you spending an arm and a leg putting her in a kennel for a week.

Mary, aka Bear

I adored Rupert, in spite of the fact that Rupert was the neediest dog I had ever owned.  Love and excitement and an inflated sense of our own maturity spurred us to get a dog when I was fresh out of college.  I could barely afford rent, let alone Rupert's seemingly weekly trips to the emergency vet due to whatever he'd most recently ingested.  He needed five or six walks a day, daycare when that wasn't possible, he took six months to housetrain (and even then, he wasn't perfect), he ate at least ten pairs of shoes, destroyed countless bras, and left a very nice rug in decidedly questionable condition.  But I adored him.  I loved him and everything he represented, and to this day, I miss him.

Bear (as seen above), is far less needy.  She's housetrained.  She knows her name.  She requires only four walks a day.  But you guys, I'm so over it.  I've had her for two and a half days now and my nerves are raw.  "Bear, stop."  "Bear, NO!"  "Bear, leave. the. cats. alone!"  "Bear, get down."  "Bear, don't jump."  "BEAR!"  

Teaching a dog manners in the one week you are babysitting them is more confusing for the poor animal than it's worth.  So I do the best I can, shutting doors and protecting the cats, and taking her for long walks in an attempt to wear her out.  I remember putting so much effort into raising Rupert, and loving (almost) every second of it and this - well, this just feels like work.  I also remember feeling like I wanted to babysit for every single solitary child I met and this is no longer true either.  I still babysit around here, but never for kids older than two (because again, trying to teach manners in a three hour time window is more effort than it's worth) and inevitably I come home emotionally drained and disgruntled.  I'm sick of pretending at all of this, I'll think to myself as I drive home, reminding myself grimly that every hard-earned twenty dollar bill is what puts gas in my tank and food on our table.

I mother the boy's dog, and I love it.  Sprocket listens to me, and minds his manners.  I take him running, I pick up his poo, I look forward to snuggling his sweet self every time I go over there, and it makes me laugh when I climb the stairs to his door, hear Sprocket's tail start to thump, and the boy tells him, "Your mom's here!  Go get her!"  I trust I'll feel similarly enamored of my own children someday, in a way that won't even compare to the weariness I feel about babysitting and nannying now that I've been away from it for several months.

Is this what getting older feels like?  Is this me getting crotchety, or just growing into my priorities?  After all, I'm pursuing midwifery, not a lifetime of nannying or dog-watching.  I hope it's the latter and not the former, but regardless, next Tuesday morning cannot come soon enough (Sorry, Bear.).


Anonymous said...

"Your mom's here! Go get her!"
Ok that's adorable :)

Allison the Meep said...

Yes, I agree with Lisa - that is pretty adorable.

Sissy said...

"Is this what getting older feels like?"

Yes. Decidedly yes.