Doing it in chunks is definitely working. The filing cabinet is almost entirely cleared off. I’ve started noting my mileage for my doctor’s visits—definite progress toward my taxes.
So far, one and a half shelves holding only things that I absolutely need: catfood, water, etc. I’ve cleared out boxes in front of the water heater, and can almost walk to it without pushing something out of the way.
- 1. Brown shoes
- 2., 3., 4. Champagne glasses
- 5. Blue zipper pullover
- 6. Grey pants
- 7. Black pants
- 8. Hand held mirror
- 9. Dog picture frame
- 10. Red star makeup bag
- 11. Shock Collar
- 12. Best of Cesar Milan
- 13. Old Cable Modem
- 14. Cesar Milan Season 1
- 15. Some sort of gelled gloves
- 16. A Bent something or other
- 17. Eyeliner
- 18. Diaper sacks
- 19. Dead pen
- 20. Bendy skeleton
- 21. Rusty green mini stapler
- 22. Unidentified object—if you spot it and recognize it, kudos.
I saw someone post on Facebook the other day, “People who don’t walk their dogs every day are assholes.”
I am an asshole for this and many other reasons. But I am a pretty terrible dog mom.
The minute I saw her, I fell in love. I had made the mistake of getting a dog out of absolute need: I was scared to be in my own house after a break-in and multiple incidents of vandalism. Every little noise; every little sound that sounded “off,” and I’d feel like I was climbing out of my skin.
It was not the best of times.
I decided on a puppy despite a friend’s experienced advice. I wanted a female, and I wanted her to bond with me. I didn’t know a whole lot about dogs, and what I did know was mostly wrong.
I spent a couple of weeks looking through the local Humane Society’s site and couldn’t find what I needed. It apparently wasn’t puppy season, and what they had at the time were pitbull-type breeds. While I was—and am—totally against dog specific legislation, I didn’t think it would be prudent to get as my very first dog one that was—in my mind—more labor intensive than say, a Lab.
I really, really didn’t know anything about dogs.
I found true love on Craig’s list; a young couple with a baby had adopted a teddy-bear of a puppy who was far too wild for them with their baby. They had gotten her from the Humane Society and had her for three days before they decided they couldn’t handle her.
I saw this and knew she was mine. The first minute I held her (obvs on her best behavior), I felt a knowing, a belonging that I had never felt before.
And she came home with me.
And she was a terror. I had named her Durga, picking the name before I found the dog—again, against the well-seasoned advice of my experienced friend. Sanskrit for invincible, for fortress, it was exactly what I needed after the break-ins. Durga is a Hindu goddess, a warrior with the appropriate weapon for every situation. Defeater of demons and yet possessor of the lotus.
I really, really needed some lotus juju.
What I didn’t know until later that Durga is a manifestation of Kali Ma, and if there’s anything non-Hindu people know about the Hindu religion, it’s Kali Ma. In fact, Kali sprang from Durga-maa’s forehead, which is to say Durga actually contained Kali. And more.
My Durga, my pretty little puppy, was the epitome of “being careful what you wish for.”
We watched Cesar Milan together as I hoped against hope that either of us would learn something that would make our life a little better. We didn’t. I enrolled her in obedience school, which she promptly failed out of.
She’d herd me down the hall, snapping at my ankles and calves. She’d come at me with her monstrous puppy teeth, jumping and biting down on clothes and skin alike, ruining shirts and making scars I still have to this day. I was terrified of my dog.
I’d call my friend J in tears, saying that the next day I’d return her to the Humane Society. I just could not live with her. “Tomorrow,” I’d tell her. “Tomorrow I will force myself to drop her off.” But tomorrow came, and I’d try again. Stubbornness reigned. I did not want a 10 pound dog to be the boss of me. I didn’t want to fail when I so desperately needed a win. I knew there was a sweet dog behind the teeth—I had met her and fallen in love. I just needed to find her again.
She was finally beginning to settle down—just a little, and we had settled into a life of a lot of play and as many walks as I could squeeze in.
But then she ran out in traffic, slipping through the front door and out into the street. I called her and she wouldn’t come back. I went toward her and her little puppy legs pumped faster than I’ve ever moved in my entire life.
She came back when she was damned well ready to.
I borrowed a shock collar to try to teach her not to do it anymore. I knew even less about shock collars than I did about dogs. The next time she slipped out, this time through the gate and into the street, I pressed the button.
She fell over and lay completely still.
I thought I had killed my dog.
I screamed, picking her up and carrying her inside. She panted heavily but her eyes were white, the irises rolled so far back in her head I couldn’t see them. As she lay on the couch, I stretched over her, crying and begging her to move. The shock collar had been set on the highest setting for a 100 pound dog. My 10 or 15 pound puppy didn’t have a chance.
As it turned out, she was indeed invincible. After I cried over her for what seemed like forever, she popped up, wagged her tail, and started licking my face.
Horrified by my ignorance and grateful for her survival, I hugged her so tightly that I probably almost killed her a second time. Not only had she survived the shock, but she had also completely forgiven me and was ready to play the moment she could stand.
I never shocked her again, instead throwing it into a box that somehow got shuffled to the garage. It was in a box I cleared out this week.
Five years later, it’s finally time to let go of that garbage.
We both survived her horrific puppyhood, and I ended up with an awesome dog. A really, really awesome dog.