An Anxious Seperation

From Guest Blogger: Sugar Sweet
Crazy lady is a "cat person." She lives an independent and solitary life, filled with writing, books and travel. Cats are independent and solitary creatures, who demand affection on their own terms. She feels a strange kinship with those evil tormentors (oops, sorry, CATS). She never liked dogs. Crazy lady used to believe that dogs were needy and stupid. Then, she inherited Abby, a pit & boxer mutt.
The first day crazy lady brought Abby home, the mutt started to bleed all over the furniture, carpet and newly cleaned hardwood floors. Crazy lady flipped out and thought Abby was dying. She took the dog to the emergency room, where she discovered that Abby was "in heat." Did you know that dogs get periods? Crazy lady was clueless. The web did not exist, back then. The vet was very nice about the "emergency visit" and didn't charge crazy lady full price. Instead, the vet took the time to explain doggy menstrual pads and cycles. She also gave crazy lady a couple of books written by Monks. They explained how to raise puppies, and the general characteristics of dogs. Finally, she put crazy lady in touch with a local dog training organization, so she could learn the importance of obedience and maintaining a pack hierarchy in the household. Crazy lady's dog education started the evening Abby was rushed to the emergency room.

 

That same evening started something else-- whispers from loving friends, who said "give her up." They insisted that crazy lady was insane for keeping Abby. Her kind friends were worried about the stress of having a dog on crazy lady's already hectic life and limited income. Back then, her day job was working for non profits, and her night job was writing $50 stories for horror magazines. Her friends kept telling her, over and over, "You don't owe Danny. He's dead. He would understand, if you gave Abby to a better home." Crazy lady ignored her caring and concerned friends. Hip dyplasia diagnosed at an early age? Pain management programs for dogs? Acupuncture? $8000 for hip replacement surgery? Zero understanding of the word "no?" A midnight trip to the emergency room because Abby bit her eye? The "give her up" whispers escalated, but crazy lady was stubborn and falling in love. Abby had floppy ears, a wonderful disposition, and a full "body shake"whenever crazy lady walked into the room. Unconditional love was rare, and Abby provided her with endless devotion. So what if she had very little money? Abby had wormed her way into crazy lady's heart.

Then, total destruction of her house-- and crazy lady paused.

Crazy lady clearly remembers the day it happened. She was tired, depressed and worried. She had to work late, and Abby was home alone for too long. The mutt was already showing signs of stress-- drinking too much water, destroying anything left on the counters, eating entire tennis balls, and pulling the sheets off the bed. The Monk books said Abby had separation anxiety, and they gave crazy lady some tips: crate Abby during the day, give her more toys, turn on the radio for background noise. The books warned crazy lady to "never be angry at the dog. Too much time would have passed, and they don't know what they did wrong."

The doggy books never explained how to handle the shock of seeing thousands of pages ripped from novels and tossed all over the floor. Hundreds of books, bought by crazy lady with hard earned money since she was 12 years old, were demolished. First edition Anne of Green Gables, her very own short stories published in Fantasy magazine, and her collection of Freud's letters were completely destroyed. Crazy lady was swimming in shredded book bindings when she walked through the door that fateful evening. She looked towards the living room, and saw her furniture ripped, with the stuffing tossed on the floor. The teak chairs were chewed to pieces, and the computer cables were pulled from the carpet.

Crazy lady sat in the hallway and cried. She called a close friend, sobbing, and asked, "do you want a dog? I don't know what to do." She remembers her friend's response: 

"You want real problems? I'm pregnant with twins, HIV positive, my husband can't keep a job, my mother is still clinically insane and locked up, and I can't see my ankles. Stop bitching, clean your house, and kiss your damn dog."

Crazy lady tried to argue. "But I'm not a SAINT--"

"Shut up," said her friend. "You convinced us that you wanted that dog, even after we begged you to give her up. That dog loves you. You are that dog's world. You don't give children back because they have problems. You figure it out, and find a solution that works. You have friends and family that will help you. Just ask."

"Whatever."

"Don't be an idiot. What's the damn dog doing, right now?"

"Licking my face."

"Ugh, I can't deal with you, right now. Call me when you have REAL problems!"

Crazy lady hung up the phone. Abby was licking the tears from crazy lady's face and shaking her butt. Crazy lady took her friend's advice and gave Abby a hug & kiss. She got off the floor, cleaned the house, then bought yards & yards of fabric to cover her book shelves and furniture. She hired a friend to walk Abby twice a day; and her parents would visit, to play with Abby and keep her company if crazy lady had to work late. Later, when she could afford it, she started Abby in doggy day care. And, as Abby grew older, crazy lady was able to find a job that let her work from home. 

Abby died in January. It was a challenging 14 years for both of them, but crazy lady would never have changed the time she had with Abby. I'm quieter, more of a loner, and more obedient than Abby. But when I greet crazy lady with a "full body wiggle" hello, she laughs. She's still a cat person, but Abby's joy taught crazy lady to love dogs. Because of that mutt, crazy lady loves and accepts me for the dog I am. Thank you, silly dog.