Deer are Big Up Close

This morning, when we got back from our walk, there was a deer in the back yard. Sonnyboy took off after it. It tried to just go to the other side of the yard and stand real still, but the dog was having none of it and chased the deer through three back yards and then–surprise–came back when I called him!

All that time we spent chasing bunnies and then coming back paid off!

But that deer came right by me! And it was so big. I mean, obviously, they’re big. But there’s a difference between seeing one across the field from you or even in front of your car and having one bound by you, not ten feet away.

I briefly fretted over whether it was cruel to let the dog chase the deer, but then I decided a. he’s never going to catch it; b. it’s not good to have the deer so close to the house because coyotes will follow. So, it’s probably good to give it the opportunity to rethink whether coming into the near backyard is a good idea.

The dog was all smiles afterward. And it made me happy to see him so happy.

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Ghost Dog

So, my yard is a normal width, but it’s very deep. In my mind, my back yard is divided into three-ish sections. The actual back yard, which goes to the back of the shed, the way back yard, which goes from the shed to the creek, and then the way, way back yard which goes from the creek to the pasture/field.

This morning, it was very dark when I walked the dog and as soon as he got out of range of the garage light, I lost sight of him. But I could hear him for a little bit at the neighbor’s. I stood there for a bit, waiting for him to decide there wasn’t anything good to eat in the yard, and then I called for him. He didn’t come. I got frustrated and started walking toward where I was sure the dog was. He then came running up from behind me, seemingly confused about where I was going.

So, we head together into the way back yard and he leaps over the tree, which is still there, yes, god, no no one has showed up to cut it up yet, but hopefully soon. And I follow him over and then he goes across the creek to sniff some smells and to poop.

Now, here’s the thing. It’s fall, so it’s very loud in my yard. Even if you can’t see someone, you can hear them because everything crunches. So, the dog is crunching around in the way back yard and I can hear him coming closer to me so I’m telling him what a good boy he is and asking him if he’s ready to go for a walk and I hear him come right up to the bridge, but as dark as it is, I can see the other side of the bridge and there’s no dog there. Not one I can see anyway.

And just as I’m standing there wondering if I can truly be seeing nothing or if maybe I, I don’t know, imagined hearing the rustling of the leaves and underbrush, Sonnyboy comes walking the exact same way, making the exact same noise, except, since I see him, it’s clear that I should have seen the first dog as soon as I heard him.

And, also, if there was another animal out there, it was close enough to Sonnyboy that he would have chased it.

I don’t think it’s Sadie, both because I feel very certain she is genuinely gone, for reasons that are mostly boring and woo to go into, and because she would have come across the bridge to see me. She loved me.

But I know there are at least two other dogs buried in the way back yard–Tip and Smokey. And I wonder if one of them heard me talking about a good boy and was like “Hey, I’m a good boy. That must be me!” but then was like “Oh, you’re not someone I know” when he got to the bridge?

I’m going to rationalize this into being something ordinary. I know me. I know how I work.

But I’m telling it to you as it happened to me. It wasn’t at all scary. It was just weird.

The Stairs

Yesterday the elevator was being serviced, so I used the stairs. I did not have a panic attack. I did not need anyone to hold my hand.

I can’t really describe to you how it makes me feel, to have lost the ability to do something and then, maybe (I’m going to take the stairs again today) regained it.

Also, because his collar is too big for him, the dog slipped off his tether last night. Moments later, I found him at the back door. And it made me so happy. Because I really want him to understand that, if something happens, he should come back here.

I ordered some new yarn for an upcoming afghan and the place I ordered it from had to send me part of the order from their UK warehouse. It arrived before the US part, so I went to talk to Angela at the Whites Creek Post Office about it and she had my yarn! The package had been damaged so she made me take pictures and then open it to see if anything was missing.

It contained three extra skeins of yarn. So… that was weird and nice. Oh, my package tore open and someone stuffed more yarn into it?

I’m loving this pattern I’m learning for the baby blanket so much, I have pretty much decided that I’m going to just use it for the big blanket, too. I mean, why go to the trouble of learning how to use two different hooks on the same square if you don’t do it at least twice?

Dog Weather

This is apparently perfect dog weather. Sonnyboy bounded around the yard, played in the creek, sniffed secret sniffs, chased a shadow, came when he was called, and leaped twice over a giant log. Now he’s napping like a champ.

I’ve been doing my October thing. I was worried with the medication that I wouldn’t be able to. I mean, I feel like this year has been a slow rewiring of my brain in ways I’m not sure about yet. I don’t know how my creativity’s going to play out.

So, it’s going, but it’s going differently. It feels more abstract. The lessons are harder to put into words. It’s just different.

But I’m different, so I think it’s okay.

Purple Afghan

I love how it turned out.

I also love that it looks almost as nice on the back as it does on the front. Trust me, too, when I tell you that, in real life, it has a really lovely “old sweater” comfy vibe.

Yesterday, the animals met the baby. It then took the orange cat some time, but this morning, as I was getting dressed, he came into my room, meowed loudly so I would look at him, and then he peed right by my closet. On purpose.

So, I fucking guess he figured out what happened to the Butcher and why.

But before that, he seemed mildly curious about the baby, so it wasn’t a total disaster.

But this dog. Oh, this dog. First of all, when you come to my house, normally, you have to be greeted by one million loud barks and jumps and maybe you even need a dog on your lap.

But the second he saw the baby, he went quiet. He still greeted everyone and leaned on everyone who sat on the couch, but he didn’t bark. He sniffed the baby so gently and then licked his hand. And then, later, on, licked his head. And he didn’t bug my sister-in-law while she held the baby.

And when I held the baby so the baby could reach over and pet him, the baby drooled on him and that was fine. I’m not 100% sure if he, at two months old, can really grab things on purpose yet but he sure likes finding new things in his hands from time to time.

I think Sonnyboy really got that this was a puppy. Or as close as we weird things can come to making a puppy. And, in typical Sonnyboy fashion, he was open to it. Okay, there’s a baby now. Let’s fix its hair and not make a lot of noise and give it some room.

I said this on Twitter, but I mean it all the time. I think Sonnyboy is a great dog and I am so glad to know him. But from the start, he should have been a family dog. I know he doesn’t feel cheated. I know he’s delighted to have a home and a couch to sleep on and a wide group of people who love him. And also, for some reason, lots of chicken biscuits to eat on our walks (seriously, people. If you’re not going to eat all your chicken, don’t buy it.). He’s happy to be out of whatever stupid situation caused him to need to be rescued. But he would have been a great family dog.

And who ever left him tied to a tree in rural Smith County cheated him out of that. And I don’t think I’ll ever forgive that. This is a dog who should have been raised up from puppydom with a child. And he might not know he’s been cheated, but I see it.

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Dramatic Running

I don’t know why, but for some reason the new kitty–who, good lord, by this point isn’t remotely new, but the nickname has stuck–has started running dramatically through the house. Not zoomies. But just, when she needs to get somewhere, rather than walking, she runs.

It cracks me up because it’s just so weird.

The other night, I heard a lone coyote singing very close by. I think it must be more common than I realize, because the dog slept through it. Last night he barked at my across-the-street neighbors for, as usual, getting out of their car. I’m just saying–he normally barks at anything.

I continue to fret about the orange cat. He continues a slow decline marked by periods of forgetting he’s in decline where he tries to get the dog to play with him. I just don’t want him to suffer, but cats are so grouchy, how do you know when they’re physically suffering and when they’re just overburdened by the ennui of constantly dealing with fools?

4:45 is Early

I’m going to talk to the man who headed up the JCC in 1957 today. I have to be there by 8 a.m. I also had to walk the dog. So, I had to get up an hour early and whew boy is it very dark then.

But Orion was high in the sky, walking his dog, as well. And the moon was a thin grin in the west. So, we weren’t completely alone.

And the dog found half a rabbit and some poop and he rolled in the rabbit and tried to eat it, but I dragged him away, because who in our neighborhood other than him leaves poops that big? And who can catch a rabbit? Not him.

There is but one answer and I didn’t want to tangle with a coyote, who I suspected was very close, because that rabbit was just half-eaten.

Tortilla Soup

I made tortilla soup, like, not a fancy recipe. Everything except the onion and the green pepper was either from a can or a pouch, including the shredded chicken. It’s pretty dang good. But, like, you’re not going to come raid my fridge over it or anything.

But you guys. This dog! He sat intently by the stove the whole time I was cooking it. He drooled all over the couch while I was eating it. He did this weird stompy dance while I was putting half of it in the freezer and the other half in the fridge. And then, he stayed in the dark kitchen right by the fridge making weird lipsmacking noises.

He’s certainly liked some things before, but this was… I don’t even know. This was Sonnyboy’s jam, as the kids say.

Let’s all vow to love something the way that Sonnyboy loves tortilla soup–with surprise and delight and dancing.

This Dog

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I let the dog off leash probation and he had a day of doing the right thing and a day of doing the wrong thing and now he’s back on leash probation.

Last night, he apparently didn’t go pee when I put him out for the evening. I was suspicious because new kitty was on the steps and I know how afraid he is of her, but… well, he peed on the floor and then mopped it all up with his dog bed. Which I guess I appreciate.

But then! He almost bit me trying to get a can of wet cat food out of my hand! Like, not deliberately, more just “I’m being a doofus and not being careful and I really want that cat food.”

Can you put a dog on whole-life probation? I need to take him for a long, long walk tomorrow, I think.

In happier news, I finished my afghan. I went with a non-fancy border. The only tweak I made was to make the second round of it–even though it’s just a regular old granny square stitch–going the other way. That’s the one thing about these two-color granny squares–you don’t just work them in the round. You flip them over and go the other way. So, many of the squares have front and back sides of stitches visible. So, I did the same with the border.

Also, the whole house smells like cat piss and I can’t locate a source. It’s one of those cases where I can’t tell if I’m just not finding it, if maybe a change in the weather has caused old smells to reemerge, or if the cat may be just leaking a little bit, which, god, I hope not, because that would indicate the end of him.

I really, really want that cat to just go in his sleep one fine sunny afternoon. Or in a knife fight. Something that would be sad, but I could live with.

Can You Fistfight a Dog? Should You?

This morning… okay, first, what you need to know is that, unless you check and make sure it has latched, there’s a 50/50 chance the kitchen door is not latched. It’s just shut. Since I walk the dog at the buttcrack of dawn and I’m not always 100% completely awake, sometimes, it’s not latched. I try hard, but I am also mostly asleep.

So, this morning, Señor Asshole bounds off as usual into the neighbor’s yard. And then, because it’s dark, he promptly vanishes, even though I talked to him again today about the importance of being a good boy.

Off I tromp through neighbors’ yards, looking through their garbage for him. No fucking sign.

I decide my only hope is to go to where we normally start our walks, out by the creek, and see if he shows up. I turn around to head back that way and who comes bounding from behind me? And then who trips over something in the neighbor’s yard and does a full front roll?

Yes, Señor Asshole.

But where has that motherfucker been? I’ve been in everyone’s back yards. I saw no sign of him.

So, we go for our walk. We get back. The orange cat is outside, which is… not where he was when we went for our walk. We get into the garage. There’s the kitchen door standing wide open.

So, I think that asshole came back to the house. INTO THE HOUSE. And left me wandering around the neighborhood for fifteen minutes, calling for him.

I’m going to have to start leashing him up before I even open the door, which I hate, because back when he behaved, the moments where he was in my back yard, near the door, doing his first pee of the day, gave me a chance to get the elderly orange cat situated with breakfast without the dog or the other cat bullying him out of it.

Still, it must be done. This is the third neighborhood gallivant of the week and it’s only Wednesday. That’s one day gallivant-free and I need like 95% gallivant-free walks.

Poor Dog

My two goals for today are to go outside and to take a shower. I took the dog for a brief walk. You’d have thought he’d been freed from prison. He ran everywhere. He ran to the end of the driveway. He ran over to the neighbor’s. He ran to the peonies. He ran the whole length of the back yard. He ran across the bridge. He ran back to me to get his leash on.

I told him before we went that I still wasn’t feeling great and I needed him to be a good boy, and I swear to God, he tried so hard to be a good boy. He sat when I put his harness on him. He came when I called him. He came right over to me so I could easily put his leash on. He made sure I got over the log okay.

It was so sweet! And he remembered the whole walk that I needed him to be a good boy.

Now, I know he has a whole repertoire of behaviors he thinks are “good boy” behaviors. Now, I know he’s put his brain to it and come up with his own list of things that make him a good boy. Which I also think makes him a very smart boy.

Literally my second favorite thing about him after “has a giant heart,” is watching him figure out how to be smart, how to know things. And he never was a stupid dog. He was a dog with an untreated medical issue who didn’t have enough stimulation. Get him on thyroid medication and give him some shit to learn and by god, he will teach himself how to learn to do it.

I now really want a shower, but I’m recovering from all this good-boy-ness.

Quiet

I had to walk the dog this morning, since two days without a walk is the far end of his tolerance. After that, he starts pooping in the house. And I knew, since he hadn’t had any exercise in two days, that he was going to run all over tarnation.

I have no voice. Not even a squeak. So, I’m glad that I’m an animated person, because I realized, every thing I say to the dog has some visual component.

“Good boy,” is usually paired with me lowering my hands and wiggling my fingers in a scratching motion, no matter how far he is from me.

“Come here,” usually comes with snaps or claps.

So, there I was, doing all my things in silence. He didn’t seem to mind.

I’m not feeling much better and the lose of voice sucks, but I still think I’m on a slight up-hill trajectory. So I’m going to try to take a shower and go into work for a little bit.

Is the Bug With Me?

There’s just a lot of shit I wish I’d paid closer attention to. I know, in the end, we’re all made up of atoms that are held together by… I don’t know… masking tape? But today, when I was walking the dog, I squashed a bug on my forehead. Like disgustingly mashed it against my skin.

And then I wondered, how many of the atoms from that bug are now in my forehead?

Am I a mosaic of everyone who’s ever rubbed up on me? Are the dog and I sitting here now, him on the floor, his butt resting on my shoe, with atoms drifting between us?

How long would we have to sit next to each other to be fully intermixed?

I’m Afraid I Killed the Dog and Me

As you all know, it’s been the summer of “WTF, fleas?!” around here. I’m going to have to bomb the house. But before I do that, since I have to have a day when I can clear everyone out of the house for a few hours, I washed the dog in super-strength anti-flea shampoo. The kind that warns you that you should rinse yourself for twenty minutes if you even so much as look at your dog while it’s lathered in the stuff.

The result was that I had an enormous headache all night and I can tell the dog is feeling a little puny this morning. But those tiny fuckers are dead.

I also went all around looking at vinyl flooring and, yep, most of it is sticks and stones. I genuinely don’t understand, considering how many of us are living in mid-century homes, why flooring companies haven’t figured out that if they give us updated mid-century styles, we will buy them.

I truly hate shopping. I had thought I just hate shopping for clothes, but no, now’s the time to admit that I hate shopping in general. I miss the Professor, who I could count on to go shopping with me and make it at least not so fucking terrible that I want to lay on the floor and just cry until it’s over.

I needed S. and her tiny Bruce Willis-looking son, but I didn’t realize that I needed her until it was almost over. But when you have friends who like to shop and don’t find it the next worse thing to having a syphilitic nose, you should ask them for help. I guess I need that tattooed on me somewhere where I can see it regularly.

But also, can I just say how much I love that the dog gets in the tub on his own? I can’t really say when he started doing this, but he just does it and it is awesome.

Changing Paths

I have switched outer squares. I admitted to myself that I didn’t like the flower square I was making because the flower was too small and my idea of just filling it out with other, different flower squares was supposed to mask my unhappiness with the square.

There’s probably a lesson there. But I’m going to try real hard not to learn it.

I did, however, find a square I like that I think will make a fine outer loop. Also, it’s pretty “border”y, so that will let me have a simple border for the whole thing:

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Reasons I like it (even if the edges aren’t looking exactly straight here). It’s got kind of pokey features similar to the interior motif. It’s got open areas like the interior motif. It’s got a roundness to it that reminds me of the other square and, like the other square, it’s built on eight repeats in each round. And it’s got dimension without being too heavy. And the flower is nice and huge. Plus! Popcorn stitches.

I also think I have solved the dog’s flea problem. I can’t find any evidence that anyone else is having problems with the Serestro collar, so I don’t think it’s that fleas have developed an immunity to it. But what are the chances I’d get two collars in a row that would fink out?

So, this morning, I scrutinized Sonnyboy. He had no fleas near the collar or on his head or neck. None on his upper shoulders. And then, beyond his harness, on his back and back end, a ton of fleas. So, if the collar is working on the front end, why isn’t it working on the whole dog?

After our walk this morning, I took off his harness.

I don’t know why that should matter, but my fingers are crossed.

Also, my dad went to the doctor and he is cleared to drive again. His doctor thinks it was just some cartilage breaking loose, so he’s got a cane and hopefully can limp along until his scheduled surgery.

Some Fools Fool Themselves, I Guess

I’m feeling better this morning. It’s just hard. I love them and I wish I could figure out how to spend time with them in ways that don’t make me feel like I want to hide until the visit is over.

My dad has a friend and he’s constantly talking about how this friend treated his kids so bad and now they’re messes and how you can’t ride someone all the time and expect them to be okay.

And I keep listening to him say these things and I keep waiting for the connection to be made and… nope.

We got the dog to play a few rounds of fetch. I couldn’t tell if he liked it. He seemed to be having an okay time, but after a short while, he took the ball and went in the house.

I feel you, dog.

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Rabbits

The dog took off across a stranger’s yard today after a rabbit and I was not happy, but I didn’t freak out. The thing I’ve decided about him is that he’s really not motivated by you being mad. I have kind of decided that he thinks my angry voice is a warning. Like “For sure don’t come over here because there are dragons” or “Hide while I go check this thing out.” or “Run away, Sonnyboy! Run away!”

So, if I want him to come back to me, I have to make it seem super awesome. And so far that’s worked. Which is not to say that I don’t worry every time he does something stupid.

I guess, too, that I feel like I’m focusing a lot on the dog lately, because he is unconcerned with any larger issues. The dog will never worry about healthcare. He’s not anxious about whether we can get our shit together.

I’m working on an afghan for my step-niece. I was hoping to have it ready for her birthday, but her birthday was yesterday and I still have to figure out if I can finish it how I want to. Plus, as is my way, I have a ton of ends to tuck.

But at least at this point, it looks like what it is and it is marvelous, so everything from here on out feels like just finishing up.

IMG_2251It’s the most sculptural thing I’ve done, I think. I don’t remember ever thinking about how an afghan would work in three dimensions before.

How Far?

Thanks to therapy, the dog and I have been walking to school every morning, even though the hill is steep and scary. When we get back, the dog is exhausted. I feel really proud of that–that I’m able to wear out the dog.

I don’t know if we’ll keep up going that far when the weather turns hot again, but man, when it’s lovely like today? I feel so lucky.

I pissed a dude off yesterday. He called me at work to complain. I don’t know if he was satisfied by the exchange. It didn’t seem like it. You ever talk to someone and where they’re coming from just makes so little sense that you can’t exactly even tell what’s happening in the conversation? I felt like that was happening to both of us.

I do sometimes feel like I have gotten way off the beaten path and not noticed. I will say that.

 

This Dog

Today I chased the dog through three backyards and then, when I couldn’t catch him and I couldn’t even see him, but I heard him rustling in the bushes ahead of me, and I called out one last time, he came from behind me.

Which leads me to wonder who I was chasing?

And also, is the dog secretly faster than I realized? I lost sight of him for just a second, then started following “him” again, but during that time, he and his stunt double must have switched places.

Or else I am in the dog version of The Prestige. Which means that, though there is a dog sleeping at my feet, somewhere out there he also runs free.

Slow Day

Yesterday, the dog leaped down the hill into the meadow to chase a rabbit and I could tell when he did it that he landed hard. Then I gave him a bath and the kids came over.

So, today, we just took a short walk. We did get a bunny chase in and, embarrassingly, almost chased our own cat.

I’ve also started a baby blanket and I’m highly amused by just how fucking hard the spiral afghan was, because now I’m just churning out little flowerdy squares like nothing.

I also like this afghan because the baby will live out in the boonies and the main colors in this afghan are a kind of soft green and a soft yellow–like John Deere colors, but for a baby. Also, the flowers went through a brief stage where they looked like ninja throwing stars.

I want to do those cool pedals as the border, but I’ll have to see if I have enough yarn to make it happen.

Walking in the Rain

The dog and I went for a walk, even though it was raining. He went on three bunny chases. One was clearly just optimism. No bunny; he just hoped a bunny would be there when he got there. The second was a genuine bunny, but it was so close to the woods that it was gone by the time the dog had taken three steps toward it. The third time, though, I think was just for fun. He got back from the second run, seemed so happy with having done it, and he took off again.

I mean, I don’t blame him. Bunny chases are awesome. He sprints off as fast as he can. He comes to a screeching halt. He stares intently into the woods, sometimes pacing a little, and then he comes ambling back to me so that I can take his leash again. All the while I’m telling him what a good boy he is and how brave he is for taking on the bunny and how proud I am of him coming back when he’s called.

I need to remember to get a ball the next time I’m at Petco or Tractor Supply. When we first got him, he was not interested at all in Fetch. It seemed to hurt his feelings that we would throw his stuff away from him.

But now he seems to enjoy playing. I mean, he’s not serious about catching the bunnies or he’d be sneakier about it. It’s just fun for him to chase after them. I mean, two out of three bunny chases today, there was no bunny. And he’s gotten much better about coming when he’s called and he really seems to enjoy the part of bunny chasing where he returns to me with effusive praise.

I wonder now if he might enjoy Fetch. But, oh boy, I am wondering if I can do it–train him to play Fetch. I’m not even sure how I got him to start coming pretty consistently when he’s called. I mean, I know at some level, it’s constant repetition, strong expectations, and rewards he likes. But the things I’ve managed to train this dog to do are mostly matters of grave importance–like recall and not walking like a complete doofus on the leash–or are building off skills he already had–like he likes to get up on the couch, so training him what “up” meant was not difficult.

And I think he could definitely learn to play Fetch. But, y’all, I’m not sure I’m smart enough to take this dog and give him a whole new skill. But I think he would love it, so I want to try. If he’s willing to stick with his hill-rolling-down practice even when it terrified him so that he could reach these days of happily rolling down the hill, I should be willing to work on my Fetch training skills even when it’s hard so that we can get to happy days of me throwing a ball and him running after it.

Dog Fight!

Y’all, Sonnyboy got mad yesterday! The orange cat had struck him repeatedly in the face and the dog gave a big old angry growl/snap in the cat’s direction. If you know how dogs say “Fuck off,” you know the cat wasn’t in any real danger, but I was still surprised!

I was telling the vet that Sonnyboy never seems to get down or mad. I mean, the Roomba cornered him in the bathroom and he just took it knocking into his legs for a minute until it decided to go elsewhere.

Sometimes I forget how old Sonnyboy is, because I feel like he’s experiencing a lot of things that most dogs experience earlier. Like running. Like cuddling. Like it being safe for him to be deeply annoyed and then mad at the cat. I don’t ever want him to be mean. And, frankly, I’m not sure he has a mean bone in his body. But I want him to feel comfortable disliking things and not standing for them.

And today, you guys, this morning, he threw himself down the hill and he slid on his back head first halfway down and I was a bit scared because on your back head first seems like a dangerous way to go down a hill. But he got up and he came over to me and he seemed satisfied.

And I feel lucky that this wondrous mystery is my friend.

Magic

Nothing makes me happier than when the dog comes when I call him. It feels like magic. Today he was across the neighbor’s yard, heading into the far neighbor’s yard and I called for him and he looped back around in a big circle and came running right to me.

I don’t know why it worked when so many mornings this would have involved me wandering through back yards calling his name while he hijacked an AT&T truck, but it did!

Also magic: if you’re making a twelve-square afghan, when you’re at three squares, you’re only 1/4 done, but when you’re about to finish your 4th square, you’re 1/3 done.

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There’s Only So Much Poop in Your Dog’s Ear You Can Live With

On Friday, I met with my therapist, which went well, but still took a lot out of me. I’ve only seen her three times, but I now know to kind of expect that I will sleep a lot after it.

So, Saturday, I wake up at 7:30. I take Sonnyboy for our normal walk. He somehow manages to get so tangled up in his harness that he can’t walk–and remember, he got out of the house, so it was on right when we were in the garage and yet, by the time we got to the AT&T yard, he was a mess. So, I had to wrestle him out of his harness and try to get him back into it, which he “aided” by repeatedly sitting down in the most convoluted way. But eventually, I got it.

We got up to the road and he almost immediately rolled in poop. Not on his back, which would be gross enough, but all up in his head and his ears and down his front legs and I tried to drag him out of it, but I am not stronger than him and that poop was, apparently, awesome.

He smelled so bad. It was like a mixture of regular poop smell with like rotting raw beef. I shudder to even remember it.

Then he went full-steam after a bird and got tangled in some barbed wire. Not terribly. But then he was limping and I tried to get him to show me his paw and he was like “And now I’ll just lay down in the middle of the road! Please do not look at my paw, I am busy licking it.” But then he got up on his own and it seemed to be tender but not terrible.

But so here we are, coming down the home stretch and who is standing by the tree but the little old lady he terrorized the other week and her dog who he tried to force to play with him?! But she sees he’s kind of limping so we exchange greetings and she asks what’s wrong and, of course, I’m trying to hold him back from her dog and her tiny little dog is like “Son, I will eat your face off.” And I believed him.

So, I tell her the barbed wire story and just as you would hope from any grandma-looking type, she starts to coo over him and she clearly wants to come over and pet him and comfort him.

But I have to warn her off because he’s covered in poop.

So, so much for making a friend of an enemy yesterday.

We get home and I am just like, I can’t deal with the dog yet. Oh, right, also because I notice on our walk that he is riddled with fleas. I mean, just riddled. Like that motherfucker looked to be hosting the flea circus family reunion. And I’m like “You have a quadrillion dollar flea collar and I pet you all the time. Where did these come from?!”

So, it’s not just a matter of poopy-head. It’s also fleamaggedon.

I eat my breakfast. I go into the bathroom to get it set up for bathing him, because normally the trick is to have everything for Sonnyboy’s bath ready to go and then you have to cajole him into getting in the tub and it takes half your life.

And I’m supposed to meet S. for coffee at 10:15.

But I wasn’t even to the point of getting the dog shampoo opened when I first said, “How’s about a bath?” and Sonnyboy came in and deposited himself right in the bathtub. From out of nowhere! Or, you know, somewhere in the house, but not in the bathroom.

But he doesn’t like to have his head in the tub when he’s getting a bath and his head was where all of the poop was, so, dear reader, I just washed his head outside of the tub and said, “Fuck it, I’ll just towel up the floor.”

And a lot of fleas came off in the wash, though not as many as I’d feared.

But I am disgusting now, so I text S. to let her know I’m going to be a tiny bit late because of Walkpocalypse 2017 and I get in the shower myself.

Problem 1 settled. Walkpocalypse dealt with.

But what about Fleamaggedon? So, I got him a new collar. I got him two new dog beds and his two old dog beds went in the trash. I sprayed down the couch and the Butcher’s bed with flea spray. And though I had been using Frontline on the cats, I picked up some Advantix.

Reader, I defleaed that mean old orange cat by myself. And he is still pissed at me. He spent all morning hiding under my dresser making mean meows at me. He did come out for breakfast, of course, but he was snitty about it.

New kitty, of course, didn’t care. Except for all the fighting and the killing, I’ve never owned an easier cat.

I ended my day thinking, “Okay, problem solved.”

But, like Jason rising from Crystal Lake, I sat down to poop before going to bed (yes, that’s TMI, but it also brings the day full circle, so I’m leaving it) and there I am, stuck on the toilet, and something(s) starts biting my legs. The fleas from the bath, who got caught up in the hair and thrown in the trash can are out for revenge.

It sucked, but I laughed. And sprayed down the trash can.

Shame?

This morning, the dog peed in the living room. I was in the bathroom, coincidentally, also peeing and I looked over and there he was. You don’t want to learn that your living room slopes toward the bookcase that’s too heavy for you to move under these circumstances, believe me. But here we are.

I soaked what I could get up with towels, then ran a mop over it. It still smells not great, I think, but I’ll do a serious mopping of it this weekend and see where we end up.

The interesting part is that at first, he acted as if nothing was amiss, just a dude peeing in the living room, as you do. But when I appeared with my arms full of towels, he got a kind of weird look on his face and he retreated to the dining room where he watched me.

Y’all, I THINK HE UNDERSTOOD THAT I WAS MAD. I decided to roll with it. When I sat down to put my shoes on, instead of giving him his morning butt scratches, I just glared at him and put my shoes on. Then we had an uneventful walk. I didn’t push the being mad at him thing too much because I want this to be constructive for him, not scary. Plus, he’s like a goldfish. Too much mad won’t matter because he’s not going to remember what I’m mad about.

And it’s not like we haven’t gotten mad at him in the past, but I know he never got it. He was just like “I’m doing a dumbass thing.” Utter disconnect. “You’re yelling and it’s alarming! Why is this happening?”

Today, I know he was like “Oops, you’re mad about the pee.”

And let me tell you, it was really hard to stay mad after watching him make that realization, but I felt like I had to roll with it a little bit so that it would sink in.

I wanted to throw my arms around him in a huge hug, though. But man, I did not want to positively reinforce that nonsense.

Plus, I’ve never really seen Sonnyboy down. If he’s ever been sick, I’ve not noticed. Sure, sometimes I’ve seen him feeling a little puny, but he shakes it off. So, there’s an outside chance he’s not feeling well and that’s why he peed (though his nonchalant attitude while doing it doesn’t really favor that interpretation) and I don’t want to punish the sick.

If I had to guess, based on her singing last night, I think new kitty caught something and brought it in the house to eat it and Sonnyboy, in the morning, peed where she made her kill.