Sunday, July 31, 2016

Playing the Dog Card

This week Precocious Daughter and I dog-sat. Her father went on a trip to Colorado with some buddies, and PDaughter volunteered/was volunteered to keep Darling Dog.

Because they are old friends.

I was not consulted by either of them; it was presented to me as a fait accompli (which is French for "my ex can be a right sneaky bastard when he wants"). But I was OK with it. I love DDog and miss him. Also, the fact that my ex trusts me to watch his dog for a week without going all Fatal Attraction on him reassures me that we are maintaining a cordial post-marriage relationship, and yes, that's important to me.

Still, my apartment has been a happily dog-free zone for almost a year now. We have a cat who poops and pees in a box and a guinea pig who poops and pees in a cage, and neither requires exercise that involves going outside. And they are not shedding, slobbering, odor-producing machines.

And this is post-domestication.

This week I learned that having a dog in an apartment is very different from having a dog in a house.

In a house, you open the back door and let the dog go outside, do his business, bark at squirrels, take a nap, whatever. If he wants to go out 72 times a day, OK; you pause the show you're watching and walk six steps to the door.

In a fourth-floor apartment? At well-defined intervals you leash him, walk him down a long hallway, take the elevator, hustle him over to the nearest grassy area, and hope he doesn't relieve himself at any point before he hits vegetation. Then you walk around in the insane Texas heat until one of you begins to exhibit signs of sunstroke and make the journey up the elevator, down the hall, and back into the apartment.

You do this four or five times a day, every day.

There are many full-time dog owners in my building. They are heroic. Or possibly insane.

So we had DDog for two weekends and a week in between. The weekends were fine; splitting walkie-duty among myself, PDaughter, and PDaughter's boyfriend meant that no one had to shoulder the burden alone.

For most of the week, PDaughter was home all day; I walked DDog before I left for work and after I got home, and she did the rest.

But band camp started on Thursday. PDaughter was away several hours a day. So I burned two days of vacation in order to not leave the dog alone all day.

That's right: While my ex spent a week in the mountains, hiking and four-wheeling and smoking tons of legal weed, I stayed home during an insanely busy time at my IRL job so that his dog wouldn't be alone and unwalked for more than a couple of hours a day.

I don't know what the fuck is wrong with me, either.

Not ruling out mental illness.

But it was fine. We had fun. It was undeniably nice to have the days off. After the first couple of days, DDog mastered the art of not peeing in hallways or elevators. We vacuumed a lot. And, you know, I really dug starting each day with a walk. I may actually continue that now that he's back home.

My ex picked up DDog about an hour ago.

We had a perfectly nice, friendly visit.

But by the time he and DDog left, I was so stressed out that I immediately began downing shots. That's just the effect he has on me.

Also, I had to straight-up ask him to thank his daughter for dog-sitting for a week. He didn't compensate her for her services, and he strongly hinted that he'll hit us up again the next time he goes out of town.

And I'm a fucking mess after spending a half-hour with him.

And my apartment smells like dog.

I don't know how to end this.

I wish I could move on.


  1. I can't live without the company of dogs. Literally.

  2. There is nothing wrong with setting boundaries and communicating them nicely and firmly. If PDaughter is old enough to have a boyfriend, she's old enough for you to have the conversation about not obligating YOU to anything without asking. It was amazing and freeing for me to realize I could say "no". And I am a good southern girl, raised to be nice. Since this seems like only the first of such impositions, practice saying "That won't work for us to have DDog at the apartment when you're gone. You'll need to board him." I'm a dog person, but that's not going to kill DDog, PDaughter, or your ex (though they'll all act like it is the first time.

    Obviously, the pick up visit wasn't all nice, or you wouldn't have been so stressed afterward.

    I get the feeling that you were raised as I was - be nice. Don't rock the boat. So set your boundaries, and say NO with a big smile on your face! You will be amazed that it feels freeing, the world won't tilt off its axis, and people won't think you're a bitch. If they do, fuck 'em.

  3. Like Bill I can't live without the company of dogs. Even in the summer heat I have trouble sleeping without at least one of them next to me.
    But we've also been to many dog shows and I know the difficulties of keeping a dog in a small space.
    And dealing with elevators.
    I'm sorry your canine therapy didn't end so well.

  4. I'm with Bootsy.


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