Keep in Mind, all posts are stream of conscious entries with little or no editing or rewrites. There's my disclaimer.
It's been several days since my last post and the little writer within is pissed off at me for not letting her out to play, even for the ten minutes I spend to type up one of these babies. I have to explain to her, and to any of you who wondered what happened to that commitment I declared last post, that I would have loved to have been dancing on a keyboard with my fingertips, but I was too busy washing every bloomin' thing in my house: Every. Damned. Day.
Every morning after seeing my daughter off to school, I come back home, strip the house of fabric and either stuff it in the washer, bleach it or steam the hell out of it. If you're just dropping in then you don't know that we recently rescued a dog from the pound who had demodex and sarcoptic mange that he passed along to me and my family. Yay!
So there hasn't been any time to write, other than a few strongly worded emails laced with the subtle threat of litigation to the Boulder County Humane Shelter, though I know they are just trying to save as many dogs as they can and in their haste, a sick pup makes it through the system and into some unsuspecting families home, turning the joy and excitement of bringing home a new best friend, into a nightmare.
There are good things that have come from this experience, I suppose, as all hard experiences are laced with gifts, though we don't often recognize them. In our case, we discovered that we're not really ready for a pet. Not ready, and possibly never will be ready. My five-year-old may have been scarred for life against dog ownership, though she is eager to try a cat next. It's the independence thing. I love, love, love dogs. But when it comes down to it, I guess I'm more of a cat person, though I didn't know it til just this week.
As it turns out, I can't handle anything else in my life that desperately needs me. If I have any energy left after sharing so much of it with my family, that's mine and, while I do enjoy a good game of fetch, i don't want to play it several times a day. I work from home and i don't need to have anyone here watching my every move and following everywhere, whether to get something out of the fridge "Are you getting something for me?" or to the bathroom "is it time to play now?", or even just changing positions in my chair, "Is it time to play now?" "How 'bout now?" "Now?" Frankly he was driving me crazy.
Walking my daughter to school became a chore where I had to split my attention between the dog and my daughter and too often, the dog got more than my daughter. Where I used to play and joke with Nila on the way to school, Now i was in full business mode trying to reign in the dog. I realize he was a puppy (now) and just needs training. But that's another thing. I don't want to do it. I just don't have the time and energy. i don't want to take him for walks. I don't want to wrestle him back into the house and everytime I want to go somewhere and he darts passed me into the garage. I don't want to wrestle him to the back of the car when he does get to go with us. I don't want to have to be constantly vigilant to make sure he doesn't chew up anything in the house, car, or yard if you don't have eyes constantly on him. I don't want to have him sitting there constantly staring at me with those big eyes, looking dejected because I have the callousness to try and get some work done. I didn't know all this before. Now I do.
My whole family feels the same way, and his absence has been met with a collective sigh of relief. And here's the gift of us getting scabies from him. I wouldn't have been able to give him up without this experience. Before this happened, i wasn't happy, none of us were, but we couldn't come to the conclusion that the sweet puppy who was sometimes so much fun to play with, and with the super sweet personality, needed to go back. None of us had the time and energy to spare that a new puppy needs, but we wouldn't have known that without bringing one home. We would have compromised and struggled and, frankly, been weighted down, which we really don't need right now. But thanks to this awful experience, I had very little qualms about taking him back. That I caught it from, I could deal with that, but that my sweet daughter caught it, too? Oh, he was gone the next day. And it's awesome!
I played with my daughter all the way to school this morning! I no longer have to hang back when she's climbing over rocks or a jungle gym, I can play again, too! Without having to listen to the yelping of a dog I had to tie up to do it. I don't have to be constantly vigilant making sure he doesn't eat something else that's going to get him, and possibly us, sick. And he ate every gross thing his powerful snifter could snuff out: dead mice, old chewing gum, poo. lots and lots of poo. I can frolic gain when I go hiking! I can leave the house for hours without feeling guilty about having a dog locked up in a crate or what he might be chewing or digging up in the backyard, or barking til a neighbor shoots him. these worries are no longer mine!!! Now all I have to do is get rid of these damned relentless bugs!
So I missed yesterday's workouts. My commitment is to work out my body for at least 30 minutes most days of the week and to write, if no where else, then here, 6 days out of 7. Yesterday I didn't get either of my workouts. why? Was I out partying down or biking some epic trail? Climbing some incredible mountain? Nope. Neither. I was visiting the doctor to confirm my suspicion which was that my family and I had been invaded by mites compliments of the cute little doggy we rescued from the pound a month and a half ago. Yep, mites. itchy, itchy mites. Argh! When we adopted from the Boulder Humane Society we did so because everyone had told us that they do a great of taking care of their worms and other ailments before they put the dogs up for adoption, even spaying or neutering them and it's all included in the $200 or $300 dollars you pay for your pup. Well, out of everyone who told us that, none of them were officially employed or even volunteering for BHS. We made an assumption and what do assumptions get us?
In all actuality, they do a really great job there and as far as pounds go, they're pretty awesome. They honestly care about the animals and it's a no-kill shelter. We felt good about supporting them instead of buying a dog from a breeder, you know the win-win for everyone, and probably a year from now, or maybe even sooner, we'll feel like it was a win-win. But today? Not so much. As it turns out, while they do spay or neuter the pet and administer a wormer, they can't really guarantee the pet has a clean bill of health because for the most part, the animals are with them usually less than 3 days of observation. The BHS has an astonishing turn over rate. Most animals have a home waiting for them as soon as the stitches are tied from their spaying/neutering. Apparently, statistically, Boulder County absorbs A LOT of animals. People out here just plum love animals. So with such a turn over rate, they don't get a chance to see every hitch hike an animal might have on board. And that's what happened to us, though we were under the assumption (remember what those get) that every animal was free and clear and carried nothing that might invade your household, intestines or dermal layers. We assumed wrong, and I have great idea for an additional document to be added to the little folder they give you when you adopt your pet. This document would begin: " Warning! While we have done our best to ensure a healthy pet for your family, your pet may still have some health concerns that you should be aware of, some of which may be transmitted to you, your family or other pets."
I plan on writing this up for BHS and sending it to them, not just for them, but for anyone who adopts a pet. People should know exactly what they're in for when they adopt a pet. We were completely ignorant, and I hold BHS partially responsible for that. Over the last month and a half we have battled pernicious little round worms, (contagious to humans and other pets-I found that out 3 weeks after the dog had been licking my daugher's face-since these are fairly common this should be listed as a bullet of average issues animals may face) that took over a month to kill off. The first month we had our dog, he basically slept all day, every day. We think he was dying. About 3 weeks after we had him, i discovered two bald spots and pointed them out to the vet who took a skin scrape and determined he had a demodex mite infestation--basically the mange (ever wonder where that term "mangy mutt" came from? this would be why. As a child I remember my mother often shrieking "Don't touch that mangy mutt!" whenever a strange dog came up for a pet). We were guaranteed that these were not contagious to people and was easily treated with Ivemectin, and anti mite med. Give them the meds and come back in two weeks for another skin scrape. In two weeks, we went back for a skin scrape and yep, still mites. Medication raised. Then I found out they were no longer covering the cost and that he would need to come back every two weeks for further skin scrapes until the infestation was contained, possibly two more months at the tune of $40 to $60 a pop.
Well that was unexpected. But what was even more unexpected was when I started having an intense itching in my own ears that started keeping me awake at night. One night it got so intense I woke up at 4 am with my ear pounding from pain. Off to the doctor's I go. What was it? Inconclusive, though :"there might be a connection to the new dog in the house. Try these drops and let's see what happens." The drops were $278, and they did work for my ears. But then two days later I had a rash around my hairline, on one arm and...well, that's all you need to know. Off to the doc's. Guess what? i have mites. My doctor is fairly certain they probably came from the dog...who just came from the pound and was already being treated for his own mite outbreak.
Now here's where it gets contentious. The vet at BHS assures me that the dog didn't have a mite that could be transmitted to humans. That she saw no other mites in the scrapes she examined. My doctor says that you can get mites from your pet and prescribed a cream to cover the whole family (everyone has to be treated at the same time) and to basically go home and fumigate the whole house. The vet calls me and again reiterates that she doesn't think they came from the dog. I would prefer to just stick the vet and the doc in the room and let them battle it out with their respective books of knowledge, but I don't really give a shit. i just want the mites gone and so far, the implication, scratch, scratch, scratch, is that you can in fact get mites from the dog. If not the dog, then where? And what a coincidence that I should have mites at the same time that my dog has mites. Hmmmmm...I think I'm going with the MD on this one. As of yesterday, we have steam cleaned carpets, upholstery, cars, and currently washing the Mt. Everest of clothes and bedding. Our exterminator is coming on Monday. Can't wait for this to be over. Kind of pissed. Perhaps litigiously so, though it's a good organization and I think the vet is a good one, just closed minded. Perhaps I would be too if I worked with animals all the time. Still. I'm pissed. An that concludes today's rant! On the plus side, the dog is fabulous, sweet and super smart.
I'm staying with a friend of mine who is a very successful executive. He used to work from home before getting a huge contract at a Fortune 100 company, so he's not in his home office any more. He invited me to stay here, and so I'm sleeping in the office of an incredibly successful executive, investor, director of some large public companies, and otherwise incredibly prolific and brilliant guy.
It's 99% pleasant. We get to have brilliant conversations about money, strategy, investing, history, governance, travel, and so on in the evenings and weekends. I normally don't like chaos, but the home office is the most wonderful blend of chaos I've ever worked in. It's stacked with stuff - a couple of iPads, old discarded smartphones and Blackberries, a wireless printer, luggage, filing trays, tables. On the top shelf out of reach is a gigantic Grey Goose bottle, a painting of Buddha, and some sort of ornate chest.
The 1% of unpleasantness? My friend has a gigantic wolfhound. In the morning, someone picks up his dog and cares for it during the day, and the dog comes back at night.
It's a beautiful dog. But it doesn't respect anyone except my friend, and it wants to jump all over me or whoever else is nearby. He's clawed the hell out of my arms and I've got cuts on them. I need to study basic dog survival techniques post-haste because it's a little ridiculous.
This dog could cause massive problems for anyone. It's huge. It's enormous, with tons of weight and power and energy. And it's a hyper dog that doesn't like being inside, and we're on the 16th floor of a highrise.