stormy--'s Diaryland Diary

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The Day I became a mom

Hmm…. Is that what they call a “clickbait” title? I think that’s the lingo that the kids use nowadays. (Man, typing that makes me feel so old.) I’m not technically a mom. Well, I kind of am. I’m a dog mom!!

So one weekend at the beginning of April I noticed that a small animal was hiding (more like cowering) in the small space between my house and the outside AC ground unit. The very first moment I noticed him I did that startled jump-back-and-let-out-a-small-exclamation-of-surprise thing. I thought it was a wild animal. Maybe even an over-sized rat. But then I realized it was a very small dog.

He was so scared that he kept shivering. But I coaxed him out from behind my AC unit with a few pieces of leftover grilled chicken. I took it as a good sign when he let me pet him. I took it as an even better sign when he let me pick him up and even gave me kisses (he was probably just thinking I smelled like chicken but I’m still saying he was giving me appreciative kisses). He didn’t have a collar so Alex (you know, my special guy) and I took him to the animal shelter. I hated leaving him there. He was so scared and was shivering so hard that I thought something might be wrong with him. The only time his shivers calmed is when he was in my arms. So, yeah…. My heart melted fast. So I told them that if no one came for him that they were to call me.

Apparently he was chipped. But when the shelter contacted the owners, they said that the dog had run away two weeks before, it had been their mother’s dog but she passed away months ago, and they weren’t interested in getting him back because they had two other dogs and money was tight. That infuriated me because that leads me to believe that they weren’t even out there looking for him. It’s like, “Oh, he ran away? I guess he’s on his own now.” Anything could have happened to him. And he’s so small. He’s an itty-bitty thing. How he survived two weeks on his own is baffling to me.

It was shelter policy that he stay there for several days. I hated it but it actually worked out well for me since I was working in the city for that week and several days of the next. But I did visit as much as I could and I even had Alex visit just to make sure he was okay. It wasn’t until Alex was driving us out of the shelter parking lot with the dog in my arms (I’m so clueless about pets that I didn’t even think to get anything to transport him safely. But don’t worry. That has since been rectified!) that the magnitude of what I had just committed to dawned on me. Let’s just say I kind of freaked out a little. I kept saying, “What do I know about taking care of a dog? I can barely take care of myself!” Alex even had to pull over into a parking lot so he could reassure me that everything was going to be okay. And when I finally got it together, we went shopping.

When we walked into the pet store, I just stood there a few moments thinking, “Huh?” It’s sort of how I felt walking into Home Depot for the very first time. I don’t think I ever stepped foot into a Home Depot until I was a home owner, and the very first time was SO intimidating. Now it’s like old hat. (Well, certain sections of Home Depot are like old hat. I don’t think the lumber or tool section will ever be old hat to me. I’m more of a pro at the garden center and cleaning supply sections of the store. But, I’m sure with time the pet store will become old hat to me as well.) We bought so much stuff. I guess it makes sense because I had absolutely nothing to take care of a dog. And toys! I kind of went crazy buying him all the toys I thought were fun and cute. There was so much stuff that I kept teasing Alex that there wasn’t going to be enough room in his SUV for us and that we might actually have to bungee some stuff to the roof of his car. But, miraculously, he made it all fit. We were loaded down but we all fit.

So, yeah. I’m a dog mom now! Barkley (that’s what I’ve named him) is a five year old long haired chihuahua. But he’s actually smaller than a normal chihuahua. I’m sure when he was born he was the runt of the litter. He weighs just over four pounds (hence why I thought he was an over sized rat when I first saw him) and he has a beige coat with just a little white here and there. He’s the cutest and sweetest dog ever! I’ve taken him to the vet (well, actually Alex took him to the vet for me since I was busy with work) and he’s been to the groomers. So, he’s now clean and was given a clean bill of health.

Barkley is scared of basically everyone who is a stranger and he’s beyond scared when it comes to bigger dogs. But even though he’s scared he doesn’t bark - which I’m told is odd for a chihuahua. I’ve only heard him bark three times. Once in the animal shelter when there were some other, bigger dogs around. And it wasn’t a bark so much as a distressed yelp. It was a sound that made me go immediately into protective dog mom mode and I wanted to kick the other dog’s asses even though they didn’t do anything wrong. Another time when the landscaping company I hired to work my yard this summer was using a leaf blower. I think they were close to the house and the noise was too loud for his little ears. And the third time I heard him bark was when he burrowed into his cuddle blanket and then couldn’t find a way out. So now I’m not sure if I should be worried that he doesn’t bark or take it as a wonderful gift. Something I’ll have to ask his vet the next time we see him.

So, I bet you’re all wondering how a busy girl like me, who these past few months has logged more hours staying in the city than being at home, is going to take care of a pet. Well, I decided to take a step back at work. I’m still going to be involved, but just not to the extent that I am now, if that makes any sense. Pretty much I decided to go back to playing the role that I had been playing in years past.

And this decision was made well before I rescued Barkley. It just got to be too much. I was miserable. I’ve been so unhappy. And the anxiety and panic attacks were getting worse. One day I was in the conference room on a conference call with three other people in the room. I could feel my anxiety building and I knew what was going to happen. My chest started getting tighter and tighter, my ears started a low hum sort of ringing, and it was like I developed a sort of tunnel vision. All I kept thinking is that I couldn’t let anyone see my weakness because they would use it against me. I just stood up while someone was in the middle of speaking, said “This meeting is over”, and then booked it to my office where I ignored everyone and everything until the panic attack passed. (I did apologize to the person I interrupted. I really felt bad that I was so rude. I just told them that I wasn’t feeling well that afternoon. Which is true, just not the way people would automatically assume.)

I’ve been having long conversations with my sister and even Alex about work. I’ve come to the realization that the only reason I’ve been insistent on staying there was because of my grandpa. I still want to make him proud even though he passed away years ago. But after my grandpa took over raising me, all he wanted to do was make me happy. Even when I went off to college, whenever I would see him or talk to him on the phone he would always ask me if I was happy. I think he would have moved mountains to make sure I was. Even though I would love to continue his legacy, it doesn’t make me happy. I realize that my grandpa would be so disappointed if I continued doing something that didn’t bring me joy just to honor his memory.

So, I have this month that I’m going to be busy with work - these next couple of weeks I’m going to be working from home but I will have to go into the office for a week and a half or so at the end of the month (Alex said he’d care for Barkley for me). Then I’m back to being who I was before. I’m actually excited. My birthday is in June and I kind of think of all of this as a birthday present I’m giving myself.

And I have plans! I’m going after my own dreams again. I can’t wait to get back to it. When I think of my future now, I just feel so lighthearted and just plain excited. I know this is what my grandpa would want for me because I’m happy. Or, at least, I’m getting there.

You know what else makes me happy? Little dogs named Barkley. And peanut M&Ms. And my pink, fuzzy slippers. And my cuddle blanket. Okay… I’m just naming everything that’s around me right now….

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9:42 p.m. - 2021-05-05

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