I think I finally understand why parents put their children to bed so early.
Every night between 11 p.m. and 1 a.m., I put our two puppies in their room for the night. Their room is a safe place away from the cats and the big open spaces of our house. It’s where they eat breakfast and dinner, and where they occasionally use the bathroom when they’re not feeling well or have an accident (or when it’s raining outside and we’re not letting them out). Basically, it’s their sanctuary from the world.
I do my best to keep it clean with fresh blankets every few days, a steady stream of water in their dish, and plenty of toys for them to play with; I’m kinda awesome at keeping them comfortable.
The only downside of their room is now they’ve outgrown their gate for it and can easily stand on top of it with their front legs ready to climb out. It’s adorable when you come home from work and they’re ecstatic to see you.
“MOM/DAD/RYAN! OH MY GAWD YOU’RE HOME. PLEASE LET US OUT, WE HAVE TO PEE AND WE WANNA JUMP ON YOUR FACES.” (I imagine that’s their first thought upon seeing us, but I have no idea. I’m not a dog.)
Anyway, I don’t feel guilty admitting that I like putting them in their room for the night. When it’s time for bed, I clap twice, they get up, move onto their blanket in the room, I lock the gate, they sit for their cookie, they eat said cookie and go right back to sleep. It’s a nice way to wind down from the day.
But I digress. It’s nice because now I know I’m going to be uninterrupted for the rest of the time I’m awake working on projects or watching Netflix or doing whatever is that I’m doing.
And tonight, I realized how much of a blessing that alone time is considering that while I have a room, I never use it to actually sleep in. I just use it for storage.
And I think that’s why parents set bedtimes so early. I mean, it makes sense to send your children to bed early so you and your significant other can finally have some peace and just be together without any distractions (accidents and incidents pending).
It’s a three hour window that allows whatever weird activity you wanna partake in to just happen. It’s magical that time, really.
That’s my epiphany for the night. I’m gonna go watch The Wolverine and read The Fault in Our Stars because I can.
About five weeks ago, we adopted two puppies and introduced them to our household. We already have five cats and house training animals isn’t a new or daunting task for me.
House breaking the cats was fairly easy (it’s a box in a corner, not that hard to train) and we’ve house broken dogs before, so I thought it would be easier this time around.
Really, how hard could it be to get a few pups housebroken and not terrorize the house?
That’s what they’ll write on my tombstone.
While it has been a trying and exhausting experience, I’ve learned a lot helping raise these pups. Here’s what I’ve learned this far:
– They quickly become your children after a few shorts hours.
– They will wake you up to play at the most intrusive hours of the night and a full night’s sleep becomes a distant memory.
– They do not understand “no jumpys.”
– They do understand that “sitting pretty” will get them treats faster.
– Feeding sharks would be less treacherous than feeding two hungry puppies.
– No matter how great you think the toy is, they will inevitably go after the box.
– They will cuddle and snuggle you…
– Right before letting a foul one out.
– They don’t care if you just cleaned the house, it’s play time and there’s a slipper that needs to be destroyed because it’s pink.
– Establishing dominance means nothing when you get under-minded.
– They will find things you thought you threw away and show you how much of a hoarder you really are.
– This doubles after working a stressful day.
– They love walking yet refuse to walk together peacefully.
– You’ll find excrement bags in your coat occasionally and not even be fazed by it.
– You’ll take a nap in your truck just to get 15 minutes of peace.
– They’ll make their own special place to sleep, usually around the same place you’re trying to work in said special sleeping place.
– Claw and chew marks on your clothes become badges of honor and you wear them proudly.
– Neighborhood dogs will scare them no matter how many times they’re exposed to them.
– Your little girl will try and climb onto your arms while you three are walking because she’s scared, but you can’t pick her up because she needs to learn to be courageous.
– Your little boy doesn’t care about your opinion because you’re not mom.
– You’re also not dad either, so it puts you in an awkward position.
– Power tools to fix play pen doors are a must.
– There’s nothing worse than the guilt of unintentionally leaving them alone all day while everyone was working and they were cooped up all day.
– You still take 30 seconds to figure out which one is which even though you know five ways to tell them apart without thinking.
– You use pet and nick names more often than their real names.
– Pet names include “idjits,” “dynguses,” “goobers,” “püps,” “monsters,” and “buffaloes.”
– You’re trying to make nicknaming them into an art form.
– You’ve debated learning French and Italian commands to train them separately yet at the same time. This idea sounds cool, but would probably fail.
– You’ve gotten really good at cleaning up “accidents” that you have different mixtures and methods for each type.
– You’ve also gotten sick because of all of your cleaning supplies you’ve used.
– You’ve gotten really good at sniffing out the accidents and messes.
– That’s a skill you’re almost embarrassed to admit to having, yet it could save lives one day.
– Clean socks no longer exist in your house.
– They stalk the cats. You warn them, but they don’t listen. You let the cats kick their asses.
– You console them after the aforementioned ass kicking.
– You’re given reading on how to raise them perfectly and bring it everywhere.
– It would probably help if you actually READ THE DAMN BOOK.
– They never take good pics for you. Everyone else they sit still and pose, but for you they just lie down and look sleepy.
– People will bully you for more updates about them.
– Despite all of the playful roughhousing between them, they still love each like siblings do and can’t bear to be apart from one another.
– Stairs become a fun pastime when you’re trying to get them to go outback and romp around in it.
– They love the snow.
– They love the mud.
– They really love to bring the mud in the house and take down anyone who tries to get the fresh musk of nature off of them.
– I’m fairly certain that raising these pups has prepared me to raise children…
– Although I doubt you can rub your child’s nose in their messes without Child Services being called into your house.
– No matter how terrible of day you might’ve had or how wild they’ve been since you’ve been home trying to unwind, you still love them unconditionally and will punch anyone in the face who says they’re not adorable because seriously, look:
HOW CAN YOU NOT LOVE THOSE FACES!?
I miss my dog.
It just occurred to me that the two year anniversary of when we had to put him down due to his fledging health is right around the corner.
Around this time in 2011 (the lead picture is about six months prior) he got into some heavy chocolate and sugar cake.
Normally, he could eat it without any complications; he had an iron stomach. Seriously. It’s not like we purposefully fed him fast food or sugary foods or anything, but whenever he would steal dinners from us, it never negatively affected him.
He was Elvis, Master of the Iron Stomach.
However, after eating that dessert he started acting really strange. He started staying outside longer, sleeping more often, and I had to drag him into the house from the backyard on several occasions.
Then, my dad and I found him in the basement on the cold cement floor just lying there. He wasn’t letting us get near him. We finally took him to the ER vet for testing after an arduous lifting process from the basement to my truck.
After several tests were completed, the doctor told us that Elvis had developed severe diabetes, kidney failure, and pancreas problems. We were at a loss. It just happened so suddenly and he was only five when all of these issues came up out of nowhere.
The doctor told us to wait a few more days before we made any decisions. That was Sunday afternoon.
By Tuesday morning we were told that euthanization was the kindest thing to do. He was no longer stable and was not recovering.
My dad and I went to the hospital, spent a good 10 minutes saying our goodbyes, crying the whole time, then the doctor came in and gave him the shot. It took less than 25 percent of what was necessary for him to go meaning he was already verge and we gave him the necessary nudge.
I still cry thinking about that day.
We tearfully watched them cart away his body knowing we’d get him back in a giant wooden box. We paid the bill, went home and did what all people do in times of despair: we each took a carton of ice-cream and watch our favorite TV shows.
I made the phone calls to the family members. They all offered their condolences, like you do when something terrible happens.
When my mom came home from work, she started to cry and we had a TV style family hug in our kitchen.
I miss him. I miss my dog who used to think it was OK to climb onto the couch with me while I was napping on a summer afternoon even though he never fit. I miss the overly excited welcome whenever I came home from college. I miss the dog breath whenever he kissed me.
I miss my buddy. I just wish I got to spend more time with him.
I love you, Elvis.