Friday, May 11, 2007

The Hits Just Keep on Comin'



I have reached a new stage in parenthood, and (mostly) I like it. No diapers, no bottles or sippy cups, no baby food. Getting ready to leave the house in the morning requires much less stuff and more action. Reminders for hair and teeth brushing, checking whether attire is appropriate, making lunch (hate this task), making sure the pets are fed...





Dropping the girls off at school has also changed drastically from last year. Then, I dreaded the sight of my youngest's school, knowing that she would cling to my leg and sob as though I would never return. Her teachers assured me that she shook off her sadness within minutes after I left and spent the next three hours engrossed in all that was surrounding her, but it was torturous to hear her panicky cries and feel her warm little arms encircling my thigh. Every time I left her there in the first two months of the school year I returned to my van, drove around the corner out of sight and parked along the side of the street to cry. In those moments I had abandoned her and she didn't understand why. I chastised myself for forcing her to be without me and wondered whether the message she was receiving from me was that I didn't want to be with her. God, I hoped not.

This year, she skips into her classroom eager to see her friends and greet her teachers with a squeeze. Her face is lit up with a smile nobody can resist returning and, although I get five or six hugs and walk out the door to, "I love you, Mommy! I'll see you at lunch!" repeated until she can no longer see me. It is such a relief to have been cut loose from the guilt and worry. I know that soon enough she will follow in her sister's shadow and prefer to spend time with her friends far more than me, and I know that I'll look back and long for the separation anxiety. Or maybe I'll be busy with something else. For example, something that looks like this...

















or this...




Yeah, seems my trip to my dad's house sent a message to the dog he wasn't too excited about. I came home to a dog who is hell-bent on proving he is the poster pet for LOYALTY. He follows me around the house all day long. He has chewed through two crates in two weeks, one heavy plastic and one metal, apparently to let me know that he doesn't like it when I leave without him. He has lost 10 pounds, shredded his gums on the weld spots of the new crate, and has taken to sneaking upstairs at night and sleeping in the doorway of my bedroom. My husband is getting a little creeped out and worries that next, the dog will smother him in his sleep and claim his side of the bed in order to prove his devotion.

The vet calls it separation anxiety and claims it is not terribly unusual. He outlined some possible treatment options: seeing an animal behaviorist (him, I assume, not me), specialized obedience training, doggie Prozac. You know, I'm nostalgic for the days of sitting behind the wheel of my car around the corner from the preschool crying into my hands and knowing that my daughter would eventually get through this phase. My insurance won't cover a prescription for doggie anti-anxiety pills and I'm not sure I can reason with him very effectively. My oldest daughter suggested getting him a puppy so he won't be lonely. Yeah, that's what I need, another 'kid'.

10 comments:

Suzy said...

Dogs, yeh. I once hired a personal animal behavorist for my german shepherd and we both signed a contract that said the trainer would not leave until the dog was fully trained. The trainer died first.
Great post Kari.

Love,
Suzy

Jerri said...

That's some impressive damage on that dog crate, Kari. I have a friend whose Yorkie cut his own face to ribbons chewing his way out of a crate.

Good luck with this.

Scott from Oregon said...

poor little guy...

Eileen said...

This is a tough one! Congratulations you have another child...Did you check into the Doggy Day Cares? My friends who use them love them, not sure about the cost thou. My Vet, once put a dog we had years ago on Valium (human) it was cheap, and it did help a lot. He was getting older and more and more stressed out. You might want to ask. I can't believe the damage he did to those crates! That is one determined dog, but he loves you and loyalty is priceless. Good luck to you both!!

Eileen said...

Wanted to add HAPPY MOTHER's Day!! Hope you have a special day.

Deb said...

What kind of dog is this?! I'm not sure whether to laugh or cry for you - and him, the poor little guy. I'm with your oldest daughter. Although it might just send him over the edge completely. Looking forward to more doggy stories now.

Happy Mother's Day to one of my favorite moms!

Love.

Carrie Wilson Link said...

Ye gads! Go read Sue in PDX's blog. Her dog takes Paxil for separation anxiety, I'm SERIOUS!

holly said...

Love this post. I'm going to read it, and look at that carrier everytime I'm sure I need a puppy. And everytime I feel myself caving into Amelia's begging!

Ziji Wangmo said...

Had to find out more about your dog - oh-my gawd! Look at that crate! What kind of dog do you have...a border collie?
Poor thing...poor you!
Hope everyone is feeling a bit more settled now.

FRANK said...

Very useful and excellent information..


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