Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Plants Don't Bark

You know those friends we have that help us move, confide in and think they know us better than anyone? We claim they know where we have "hidden the bodies" or help us tend that graveyard of skeletons in our closets.    They don't know anything compared to our pets.  In my case, it's my dogs.

This is a "shaming picture of my dog, Murphy.
I found this BBQ grill brush in her crate.
Thank goodness there is no site to "shame" dog parents!

My dogs have seen things I would never share with my friends.  They come into the room when I get out of the shower, I don't kick them out of the room if I'm having sex and I don't leave the room if I'm having a private conversation on the phone.  My dogs not only know where I hide the bodies, they know why exactly they need burying.

I am often asked if I still have my dogs. Let's face it, two dogs plus a kid, in a one bedroom apartment isn't exactly ideal, but dogs are not disposable. Just because I have gone from a Mc Mansion in the 'burbs, to an apartment in the city.  They bark when I would rather they be quite.  They need to be feed and walked, and they are not shy about reminding me with a bark if I'm stalling them while I'm involved in a Twitter chat.  Yes, dogs are work, but it's the good kind of work.

Plants come to my home to die, because lets's face it: Plants don't bark.  Last year, my son gave me and his stepmom tomato plants.  Every time I go pick up my son, I smile at the tomato plant thriving in my son's step-mom's yard.  It's a beautiful plant that brings an abundance of tomatoes, while my gift has decomposed and contributed to the growth of the grass in a backyard somewhere in Murrieta.  I'm okay with it, and so is my son.  My son knows I am far from perfect, but he does know I love him and a dead tomato plant has only taught him to deal with disappointment.  (My parent of the year award  must be lost in the mail.)

Murphy, Flapjack, my son and me circa 2004

My dogs get me out of bed in the morning.  It used to be my son, but he is with his dad half the time.  Children also grow up.  Soon he will be a teenager and will be too busy being angry with me to wake me up early and only rely on me as a food source.  But my dogs, they will never reach puberty.  They will nurture my maternal instincts because they can bark.  I was reminded this morning that my dogs keep me going.

I woke up to hear Murphy with her usual growly wine to take her outside.  (Flapjack will be here after September 1st.)  I opened my eyes and immediately noticed I had no air conditioner, my mouth was bone dry and my body just ached, especially my hands.  I did not want to get out of bed, but I could not let Murphy start barking.  (This is why plants die in my home- they can't bark.)  If  I don't have to get out of bed in the morning and I feel awful, I won't.  I think that's why I prefer living alone.

When a human stays with me, they take into consideration that I may not be feeling well, and will take the dogs out for me, to let me get the rest I might need.  It's really nice sometimes, if I do need a break- don't get me wrong.  I will admit, that with scleroderma and sarcoidosis, rest is good, but only sometimes.   I can lay in bed all day and I will not feel better.  If I get up, it takes me less than an hour to shake off the blah to push through pain that comes with living with a chronic illness.  For me, my state of mind can be my biggest motivator or  my biggest obstacle- but that's a whole other post.
Flapjack, after finishing a great book

Back to this morning: I threw on a hoodie over my Callahan Auto Parts shirt, pants (this time), shoes and take us out.  As soon as the door closed behind us, I saw the early morning sky and my mood was instantly lifted.  I walked out onto the sidewalk (because dogs aren't allowed on the beach) and I instantly felt better.  (I'm okay with no dogs allowed on the beach.  I like laying in sand that doesn't feel and smell like a giant litter box.)  I walked us to where we could both enjoy a view of the ocean. When we returned to the apartment, I resisted my urge to go back to bed.  Sure, I could have if I wanted to, but I wanted to get outside and see more.  Yes, of course my son motivates me every day, but he's not here every day.  My dogs are no substitution, they are part of our family.   I may look like an overgrown teenager from the 1990's with my t- shirts might read; Callahan Auto Parts, Saturday Night Live Quotes or Caddyshack movie quotes at 6am, but I make them look good.  Especially when  I walk my dogs, for whom I am grateful to every day for getting me up, and moving.

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