Archive of ‘Personal thoughts’ category
We are all bloggers for a reason. In one way or another most of us have difficulty expressing ourselves in real life. Some of us struggle with health issues, both mental and physical. Some of us lack confidence, some of us are socially awkward, and some of us just feel an inability to connect with people we interact with every day. One of the best parts of writing online is knowing there is a community of people out there who get how it feels to be alone and who might also feel different than everybody else.
As pet bloggers, it’s easy, too easy, to hide behind our words and our animals. Many writers even share their stories in the voices of their furry ones, putting that little bit of distance between themselves and their readers. I understand the drive behind that. It enables connection without giving away too much. We tell ourselves it is all about our pets, that people only comment and care because they like looking at photos of our more adorable counterparts.
I am here to tell you right now that this is simply not true. Even if you are writing in the voice of Patches or Callie or Thor, we all know it is you underneath. We all care what you have to say. Sure, we love your animals, but we come back to your blog because we want to learn more about you, the writer behind the fuzzball. You are the one with whom I cry when you have to visit the emergency vet; you are the one with whom I laugh when your dog scales the kitchen cupboards. Pet blogging may be about the animals on the surface, but scratch it a little and you’ll find it’s all about the human connection.
And we have one righteous community full of worthy humans, don’t you think?
Since the majority of us are women, I know how hard it can be to put yourself out there for judgment by the great unknown. Society doesn’t make it easy on us. No matter what we look like, we know it’s not good enough. I have yet to meet a single woman who is okay with how she appears in photographs. A woman will see a photo of herself and automatically wrinkle her nose before making a disparaging comment about her skin, weight, hair, eyes, pick-your-body-part-of-choice. Every. Single. Time.
I’m completely guilty of this. Just take a look up at that photo on the right there, the one of me holding Shiva. I think it is a terrible picture. My hair looks flat, I am leaning at a weird angle, the sun is unflattering, I look like I have a double-chin, and don’t even get me started on my eyebrows. But the thing is? I remember when that picture was taken. It was last summer. We had just moved in to our house in Bedford, Nova Scotia and we were hanging out on a rare sunny day in our private backyard. I remember feeling happy that day, relaxed. There was nothing else for me to do but enjoy the moment. As much as I despise the way I look in the picture, I am also glad the day was captured.
This is why I leave it up there. Sure, I could swap it for a picture in which I feel I look more presentable, but that photo is of an authentic moment between me and Shiva. It is what this website is all about. And so it remains.
Besides, this picture on my “about” page is much worse. And yet, doesn’t it personify my relationship with Shiva perfectly?
This is why on December 18, 2013 I hope you will join me and fellow bloggers Go Pet Friendly, I Still Want More Puppies, Kol’s Notes, No Dog About It, The Daily Dog Blog, My Brown Newfies, CindyLu’s Muse, Life With Desmond, Bringing Up Bella, Heart Like A Dog, Peggy’s Pet Place, and NEPA Pets in the Grand Unmasking. We want to see a picture of you - with or without your furry one – and learn more about the creative mind behind the words on the screen.
I encourage you to be as free as possible with your photo-taking. If having your picture taken makes you uncomfortable try to relax, play with your pet, go to a location you love. Try not to think so much about the camera and think more about having a good time. If make-up makes you feel better, that’s fine. If you have a favourite outfit or a favourite hairstyle, go for it. Take a selfie (and I recommend this link for some wicked tips) or have a friend or loved one capture a candid moment. I assure you, no matter what you think, you are going to look gorgeous.
But we also want to know the details. The juicy bits. To get you started, here are some questions we’d love for you to answer. On the big day of the blog hop, feel free to tackle as many as you’d like, and definitely don’t hesitate to throw in a few questions of your own. The more you are willing to divulge, the better!
What’s your favorite non-animal related book?
What’s your favorite non-animal related movie?
What’s your favorite non-animal related food?
Who’s your favorite actor?
What’s one thing you have to do every day?
What makes you feel fabulous?
What do you wish you were more skilled at?
What’s your favorite holiday?
What do you like to do in your free time?
What one word would people who know you use to describe you?
If your pets could talk, what one word would THEY use to describe you? What is one thing you’ve done that you’re most proud of?
How is your pet most like you?
What can your body do for you that makes you most proud?
If you could change one thing about your life what would it be?
Other than blogging, what are three things you do that bring you joy?
What’s one thing you could do to be more kind to yourself?
What drives you nuts about your pets? What melts your heart?
If you didn’t have your current pets, what pets would you choose to have?
Once you have your photo and put together your answers, make sure to link up on the linky tool! I certainly don’t want to miss out on anything you have to stay. And I can’t wait to be able to put a beautiful face to a familiar name.
Grab the badge and join in! I will warn you, participation may end in gaining many new friends who share the same fears. It’s a risk you’ll have to be willing to take. Don’t forget, if you give yourself permission to be unapologetically you, it encourages others to do the same and who knows what the fall out might be…
At the start of the month my brilliant web designer friend, AJ Emm (I hope I can consider her my friend), came up with a fun blog challenge that attracted me instantly: 31 Lists in 31 Days. I love lists and I love challenges so I signed up on day one. And then promptly forgot about it. Not atypical behaviour.
I’ve never been a rule follower when it comes to these things. I think it is because in my real life I have to obey every single rule I come across, even the one about eating asparagus with one’s fingers, that being a rebel online is my only outlet. Repression. It works in mysterious ways.
Regardless, today’s list was actually supposed to be about 5 Halloween costumes. Since I am not a Halloween fan and the only costume I’ve ever enjoyed was the year I dressed up as Charlie-Brown-dressed-up-as-a-ghost I decided to rewind a bit and check in with the list from day three.
5 Things I Wish I Were More Knowledgeable About
1. Cat behaviour. There are dozens of seminars offered in every city on understanding one’s dog and interpreting canine body language, but why are there never similar lectures on figuring out what the heck your cat is trying to tell you when he is climbing the curtains at three in the morning? Even the books are fairly limited. It’s an area in which I feel like a complete dunce.
2. Quilting. I’ve always wanted to learn a craft and learning to quilt has always had an almost romantic appeal. There are so many hidden symbols and traditions and as a historian I am fascinated by the centuries old practice. Unfortunately, I barely have the patience to learn how to sew on buttons.
3. The French Language. I feel as a Canadian I should be able to speak at least rudimentary French. Much to my humiliation I forgot most of it after high school and even my reading has degraded to nothing. My lack of ability was noticeable when I lived on the East Coast, next door to Canada’s only true bilingual province. Je m’appelle Unilingual Moron.
4. Writing. I would really like to take a writing class, even just an online one for fun. There is so much I have to learn about mechanics and story building. I never even took a single English class in university and I regret that now.
5. How to Play a Musical Instrument. Music has always been important to me but other than fiddling around with my electric keyboard as a child and one six week session of guitar lessons I’ve never been able to play much worth mentioning. I’d like one day to be able to sit down at a piano and hammer out something other than “Oh Susanna.”
All of this navel gazing has gotten me thinking about how much my desires have changed over the years. Ten years ago I was terrified of cats and certainly never envisioned living with one. I wish I could say my dog at the time took precedence – featured in the photo above – but poor Nikita was even barely on my radar. Nope, instead here is what this same list may have looked like a decade ago. Ah, 2003…
5 Things I Wished I Were More Knowledgeable About at Age 21
1. Driving. I still don’t know much about it, honestly, other than the fact I am terrified every time I step on the accelerator. But back then I was naive enough to think I would get over my fears one day.
2. Moving to Ireland. Yeah, I am not even going to touch that one. Man, did I live in lala-land back then.
3. Sex. Because I hadn’t had any yet a the time. At this point, I have nothing to hide.
4. The Political System of Belarus. I remember being in a panic over my Comparative Politics class December of that year. I had one semester left and was determined to keep my 3.9 GPA. I have no idea why now.
5. How to Dance. Yep, never really learned that skill either but back then it seemed important.
What about you? What 5 things do you wish you knew more about?
Things Making Me Feel Needlessly Guilty
The three times I used Shiva’s surgery as an excuse for asking another dog owner to re-leash his or her dog.
The fact I wish I had thought of this sooner.
I spent the extra bit of money I had for this month on symphony tickets instead of savings.
The fact that I almost wish our Christmas this year would be as quiet as previous years. As lovely as it will be to spend the holidays with family, the coordination makes my head ache.
The Nanaimo bar I ate for lunch.
My cat. I haven’t seen him since I startled him off my chair. No wonder he hates me.
Things Making Me Feel Needlessly Happy
Our wee little tree and twinkle lights on the staircase. if I could, I would cover the house in them.
The fact that there are so many programs celebrating the beauty of dogs. Like this one:
Re-reading one of my favourite books from a wiser perspective.
December is just one day away.
Shiva’s purple polka-dotted coat made by my kind and generous practically mother-in-law. We are so lucky.
The yummy roasted potatoes I just had for dinner.
Things Making Me Feel Needlessly Nostalgic
This photo of Shiva with our old lilac bush.
Mint chocolate Girl Guide cookies.
The thought of giving up my Blackberry.
The wish I had blogged more last year so I would have a record of all we experienced. The knowledge that even if I attempt to tell the stories now, they won’t be the same as they would have been.
Things Making Me Feel Relieved
Tomorrow is the last day of Movember.
Things Making Me Feel Less Relieved Than I Expected
Tomorrow is the last day of NaBloPoMo. I kind of wish it wasn’t.
Today didn’t have the greatest beginnings. The pants I planned on wearing had a rip in them but I had to wear them anyway and hope nobody noticed because no other pairs were clean. Also, I haven’t purchased a new item of clothing in over two years and I am running low on options. Shiva spent forty-two minutes of our forty-five minute walk sniffing a single clump of snow so I didn’t get the exercise that usually helps me face the day. I was worried about a friend who had to face a pretty scary job interview and my leftover spaghetti lunch spilled out of the container and into my tote bag.
Gripe, gripe, gripe, gripe.
As it is the American Thanksgiving and as I missed out on writing my annual Canadian Thanksgiving post due to indolence, I wanted to take some time today to share my overdue gratitude. Apparently, though, all I can think of right now are the ways things didn’t go right, instead of the countless ways they did.
I mean, my cat and my dog actually shared the same chair! This should thrill me for at least a month!
Which, really, is a general problem of the human brain and the purpose of this day in the first place. Why do we seem to ignore the millions of things that go well, in favour of fixating on the few things that go less well? If there is anyone out there who knows the answer to this, please provide me with the link to your blog yesterday.
Each year I tell myself I am going to cultivate a daily practice of gratitude. Each year I do nothing. I get stuck in the medium, pondering the best way to go about expressing my thankfulness as opposed to just expressing it. Missing the point seems to be a habit with me.
Last January I found this great idea on Pinterest – as one does – that suggested creating a gratitude jar. The image iself was beautiful. A lovely glass vessel decorated with gleaming ribbon and filled with little white notes neatly clipped. It seemed so simple and yet so special. The initial concept was that at the end of year, or in the midst of a particularly rough day, I would pull out the hand-written thoughts and remember how much good there is in the world. It was a brilliant idea, a genuis idea! I instantly fell in love.
But I didn’t budge an inch. Instead I obsessed with finding the right jar and then determined I would never create anything as pretty as what I saw online, deciding to just give up completely. It was too much work. I’ll do it next year. Maybe.
Who can compete with this?
So here I am. December is a sleep or two away and I have done nothing but bitch for eleven months. Again.
It’s ridiculous because the thing is, I have a million things for which I am grateful. The point of the jar isn’t to make something that looks appealing in a photograph. The point is to dedicate a bit of time to feeling positive about my life. It doesn’t matter if it goes in a glass decanter covered in unicorns and sparkles, it only matters if I sit down to acknowledge how lucky I am. There doesn’t even need to be a jar! I can use a shoebox or an old pot or a grocery bag!
Because as much as I complain I am grateful. I am grateful I even have all three of the aforementioned things around to use! The box means I have something to protect my feet, the pot means I have a way to cook dinner, and the bag means I have enough money to purchase food. I am grateful I have a computer that still works enough for me to type this. I am grateful I have a blanket on my lap and a healthy dog beside me and a furnace that supplies heat. These are all amazing things! Stupendous things! Things that should make me dance every morning on my way to the shower!
Well, maybe not dance. With my lack of coordination that early in the morning I am likely to fall down the stairs and throw my whole gratitude thing down with me.
So even though it is only November 28th and not January 1st, even though I don’t have a special jar, or special shiny paper or even a pen that doesn’t leak, I am going to start this thing today. I may have to write my notes on tissues or the back of old pay stubs but hey, I should be grateful I even have a pay stub on which to write! I may not remember to do it every day or even every week but it’s not about ticking off a box on my to-do list. It isn’t even about perfection. It’s about doing something for myself that may one day change my perspective and may even lead to doing some nice things for others.
It begins now.
It has come to my attention that I have not expressed in full the amount of anguish we experienced during the night of Shiva’s injury. It is true, I definitely held back. Many things occurred that Sunday evening which I could never divulge. It was just too personal and writing about the pain at this point would provide no benefit to myself or anyone else. However, there is an aspect to the horrific series of events that I do feel is worth imparting. Not in relation to the wound itself, in retrospect it wasn’t as serious as it could have been, more in relation to the treatment.Or the potential lack thereof.
Part of this withholding is no doubt due to shame. In order to be worthy of value in 2013 we are told three things: we must be forever 21, we must be thin, and we must be wealthy. To be anything else puts one in a place of derision. Well, it’s obvious I am not 21 and I wouldn’t be that age again even if it were possible. I am also not particularly thin. But I gave up caring about stupid things like the number on the scale a long time ago. Thinness rates as high on my radar as fashionable. Or being good at tennis. It just doesn’t matter. It’s the third requirement that pokes me in the side and reminds me I am not good enough.
I have made mistakes, there is no question. I own them. It is entirely my fault I am in the financial situation I am in. There were decisions that were made and they probably weren’t the right ones. Kicking myself in the head about them does not solve my current problems. Ducking my head and getting to work does. This is what I think we are doing but it’s going to take some time. Do I wish I could go back and change things so life would be easier now? Sure. I can’t. Does this make me a horrible, worthless human being?
According to some, yes. According to some, maybe I shouldn’t even own a dog at all.
This brings me to that terrifying evening three weeks ago when all of my greatest fears came to a head. Standing in the small examination room, looking down at the quote from the emergency vet, knowing we simply did not have the money to pay. There was no way around it. Could we get the money in the future? Of course. We both have solid jobs, we can sacrifice. But before the vet lifted a hand to stitch Shiva back up, they needed the cash in hand. That second. The clock was ticking.
It was one of the most excruciating moments of my life, knowing that I may not be able to help my poor puppy simply because I didn’t have the money.
Embarrassing? Hell, yes. Mortifying. My tears only made me feel worse but I couldn’t stop them. I had always feared the moment would come and when it did, I was unable to control myself. It felt so hopeless. I mean, what were our options? We either magically came up with $1,300 or… Or, what? There was no second option.
Luckily, we are connected with some pretty amazing people. It took but a few text messages for family and friends to offer their help. I will be grateful for the rest of my life to my practically mother-in-law and my two close friends for being there in a time of desperation. If not for them, I don’t know what we would have done. My mind draws a blank. Now that Shiva’s ordeal is over, this aspect of that night still plagues me. What if we hadn’t had friends or family to whom we could turn? What if we had been alone? What would we have done?
I don’t know. All sudden I felt no different to those who surrender their pets to shelters simply because they can’t afford veterinary care. If we hadn’t been able to pay for Shiva’s surgery that night, that may have been an option. We would have had to bring her home, maybe try to stitch her up ourselves without pain medication and then hope for the best. Euthanasia as a concept was unthinkable. I’d like to think the vet would have forbid it.
But perhaps we wouldn’t have had the wherewithal for even that. Perhaps the only option would have been to bandage Shiva up and drive her to the nearest shelter, pretending we had found her running at large. Perhaps we would have had to lie and pray that someone else could help her. It isn’t beyond the realm of possibility. But it’s a possibility that breaks my heart.
I don’t blame the vet clinic. I want to be clear on that. They do what they have to do and I completely understand why they need the money right away. Even in the depths of despair I did not question this. As the kind assistant explained why they would need financial approval ahead of time, I told her over and over again that I understood, I just didn’t have the money. No amount of pet insurance would have helped, either. Please correct me if I am wrong, but per insurance companies act much like dental insurance. One needs to pay upfront and than receives reimbursement later. It isn’t much help when you don’t have the payment ability in the first place.
Who is to blame? No one.Ourselves, I guess, for being in this situation in the first place. But I know we are not alone.
After going through this nigh traumatizing experience I have to wonder how many other loving pet owners have gone through the same thing. How many others were either forced to euthanize because it was the cheaper option or who felt compelled to abandon their pets outside of a shelter in the hope they would find help in the morning. I can only imagine the fear, and the shame.
For the first time in my entire life, I think I might have a goal. If I ever have money or if I am ever in a place where I can start something, I finally know what I would do. It is now my dream, fantasy, lala land imagining, to start an organization to help people pay for emergency veterinary expenses. I won’t ask questions, I won’t require proof of income or ask to see credit card statements. If someone calls in the middle of the night, saying their dog or cat or bird or guinea pig needs veterinary help and they can’t afford to pay right away, I want to be there to say it will be okay, your pet will be okay.
How many pets would have been kept out of the shelters if such an organization existed? I can’t help but wonder. It’s a huge gap that needs to be filled. One day, I hope I can do my part to lay some concrete.
Gosh, I have been so good with this whole NaBloPoMo thing until now. It’s the first time I really am sneaking in an attempt at writing only slightly before the stroke of midnight. Not bad considering there is only one week left. I’m doing much better than I expected.
I have a good excuse so even if I hadn’t managed to slide open my laptop before Friday ended, I would have given myself a pass. After all, I just spent the last two hours in conversation about art and writing with a literary genius. Well, a literary genius and the 1,699 other people in the audience. Oh, and Alanis Morissette was there too. Regardless, I figure if I just soaked in two hours worth of advice from a woman I have admired since I was a teenager, I can be forgiven for being too spellbound and overwhelmed to have a whole lot to say myself.
Besides, there is something more important going on here than my inner wranglings and my sudden onset of celebrity-star-struckedness. I don’t know if anyone has noticed but there have been a few changes around here. A house-cleaning, if you will – a simplification. The Art of AJ has done it again. Thanks to her magical work, I am so pleased to show off Rescued Insanity – The Next Generation!
Or something much less cheesy.
It’s cleaner, it’s brighter, and it’s a whole lot more comfortable. The new look feels a bit like a liberation. There is so much room to kick off my boots and flail around. The furniture has been pushed aside and it is time to dance! I’ve always flirted with the line between pet blog and personal blog and now I feel like the scenery matches the direction. It’s a new era, in a way, with one hundred percent more authenticity and without losing an ounce of Shiva.
Thank you for sticking with me after all this time. For listening to my stories and hanging in there when they dried up. The Petosphere is a beautiful place. I am so grateful you still consider me a member. And thank you to AJ Emm for putting it all together so quickly. Everyone of you means a lot to me. I definitely could not and would not have pulled through alone.
Fear works in weird ways. I am terrified of driving but riding in the passenger seat of a careening vehicle doesn’t bother me one bit. I shrug at air travel, roller coasters, and rickety bridges, but the climbing wall at the gym takes great courage. In university, whenever I saw mandatory presentations on the course syllabus, I felt so much anxiety that I sometimes ended up dropping the class. Yet, in junior high and high school I eagerly signed up for theatre classes and was an active member of the drama club.
What’s the difference, really? Why do I still feel so much fear upon entering a room full of strangers and yet feel nothing but excitement when starting a new job or moving to a new city?
It doesn’t add up. I try to tell myself that if at the age of fifteen I could deliver a ten minute soliloquy on tampons during a one-act festival in front of an auditorium full of Mormon teenagers, I can handle introducing myself to a person I don’t know. And yet I just can’t seem to get the words out. It is just so much easier to sit at the one empty table, pull out my phone, and pretend no one else is in the room.
Heck, now that I am remembering said one-act festival, I recall how miserable that whole weekend was for me during all the times I wasn’t on stage. While performing, I was fine. Nervous, sure, but not nearly as frightened as I was when it came time for lunch and I had no one with whom to sit. Practices were torture, waiting for my turn. And there was nothing more awkward than hanging out in the green room between scenes. Reading lines someone else has written under the bright lights was easy. Being myself in daylight when I could see the expressions on my peers’ faces, was much, much harder.
Blogging is the same. In real life I am private, reluctant to share even the most basic details of my life with others. It takes a long time before I am comfortable enough with someone to even talk about my family or my favourite colour. It takes even longer before I divulge more personal information. Yet, online, there isn’t much I hold back. Sure, there are some lines I won’t cross, some secrets that aren’t mine to tell, but my life is an open book, as they say.
Why is that? Why do I have such a hard time being myself with physical people I can see and such an easy time baring all to the world under the sheer cover of my computer? Why is it so difficult to just be me when someone is smiling back?
Why could I belly dance in a Middle Eastern restaurant but I can’t sing in front of my practically husband? Why am I fascinated by spiders but my skin crawls at the thought of a worm? Why can I handle a million swearing customers but have to psyche myself up to book a dental appointment?
I guess there is no use in asking such questions. There is no logic to fear. I’ll just have to continue plugging on and bumbling my way through the ickiness of inadequacy and self-doubt. After all, I am hardly alone.
They never told me I would love the snow.
It turns dark to light, illuminating once-frightening places.
“Your hair is like the stars,” she says when I step towards the approaching bus.
I startle and frown, not understanding.
She gestures to my hair, the over-long tresses adorned with fat flakes. A smile curves her lips.
“Oh!” I touch fingertips to my hatless head. I am flattered without knowing why. “I suppose.”
Halifax snow is a bucket, more Poseidon than Jack.
Edmonton snow is a feather. It lands soft on shoulders and brushes off with a flick.
I expected to fear the sky. It’s too large, to limitless, too wide.
The Maritimes were a reprieve with their hills and trees.
They were an escape, a place too hide.
The Prairie is open, flaws bared for all to see. I feel self-conscious, unprepared.
Like I am giving a speech and forgot my notes.
I dislike how it is too bright, too blue, too uncovered.
Clouds feel safe, warm, protective.
But now there is snow and the sky is my friend. It sparkles and floats and charms.
It shows me the way and covers my flaws.
The snow here is cold, colder than I expect.
It doesn’t melt when touched and squeaks rather than crunches.
It is likely I will lose a few toes before winter is done.
But I won’t mind, as long as it snows.
In an effort to get my head together and focus on what is essential to me, as opposed to flaking out on the couch and blowing everything off, I recently participated in a 21 Day Project hosted by none other than happiness guru, Gretchen Rubin. Those in the Petosphere maybe be more familiar with the fantastic piece of work Ms. Rubin inspired, The Puppiness Project, over at Something Wagging This Way Comes. But I digress. Whether you have heard of her before or not, I think the she has a worthwhile perspective and insights almost equal to the writer of the aforementioned dog blog.
Throughout the 21 days, Gretchen (after the therapeutic journey she put me through I feel like we should be on a first-name basis) asked many probing questions to help me learn more about myself, my motivations, and how my brain works. It wasn’t always easy to come up with an answer. Though the project is long over, I am still puzzling over some of them. Okay, all of them.
As I say, it’s been a process.
One of the questions that has most preoccupied me is the one that asked me to come up with twelve personal commandments. Twelve! Gretch – yep, we’re tight enough for nicknames too – wrote in great length about her own on her website as well.
I love the idea behind it, having mantras to return to when things get stressful or confusing, but I think I might be a six or seven commandment kind of gal. Here is what I have come up with so far:
1. Always, always, always be kind
2. Dealing is better than delaying
3. In order to get to the end of it, you have to go through it (I ripped this from Suzanne Collins’ Catching Fire)
5. The more I put myself out there and authentically be myself, the more I give others the permission to do the same (I ripped this from the brilliant author of The Daily Dog Blog)
6. Revel in the moment
7. Do it anyway
8. You can handle it
9. You are not alone
10. You are capable of helping
11. Be grateful
12. Nothing changes if nothing changes
Hmm… Not sure I am happy with them. But it’s a start!
Do you have any personal commandments? I’d love to hear them!
I am the world’s worst patient. Probably because I have none. Patience, that is. Ask me to wait five minutes for my computer screen to load? My brain melts. Primarily, I have zero patience with myself. I expect myself to perform at full capacity at all times and if I don’t cut it? I chuck myself out. It doesn’t matter what the task is. Watercolour painting, horseshoe throwing, or computer programming. If I can’t do it perfectly after a quick lesson? I quit.
When I was fifteen I had all four of my wisdom teeth removed. None of them had actually grown in yet so it required full on anesthesia. All I remember is panicking that I wasn’t going to fall asleep and then waking up several hours later wondering why this strange woman kept telling me it was time to go home. I wanted to keep sleeping. Forever.
I gave myself a day of feeling like crap. My mother drove me home and told me to go to bed. Bundled in with ice packs on both cheeks – no way was I swelling up like a chipmunk – I allowed myself to wallow in self-pity. The constant taste of blood at the back of my mouth, the wooziness of the sedation, and the headaches resulting from the pain medication, I let myself give in for one whole day.
But the next morning? I fully expected myself to be one hundred percent better. No way was I going a day without showering.
Much to my horror, I was not doing much better. The nausea had faded but the rest was still there. Still tasted blood, still felt dizzy, still was in pain. To me, this was unacceptable. I had things to do, people to see. I was schedule to volunteer at a food bank two days from now and dang it, I was going to be fully presentable before I ever went out in public. I didn’t handle the disappointment well. Not only did I take my frustration at not feeling better out on myself, but I made sure everyone around me felt my pain. Including my mother.
It wasn’t pretty.
Luckily for the rest of the world, I haven’t been that under the weather since. Regardless, even when I am suffering from a cold, I am pretty impatient with my symptoms. Feeling ill, in my opinion, is no excuse for not being able to get out of bed and get things done.
Until now, I have never projected this impatience on to other people. No, I am not the world’s best nurse but I understand that everyone handles sickness differently. I don’t expect others to jump up and walk the dog at five thirty in the morning even when they feel like their lungs are trying to escape out of their throats.
But with Shiva, for some reason, my expectations are skewered. We are on her second week of kennel rest and – to my shock – she seems to be doing okay. Sure, she grumbles a little when I pick her up to carry her down the stairs, and she sighs when I slide the cone back over her head after taking a potty break outside. Yet on the whole, she seems to accept the current situation. She’d love to chase the cat when he rolls around on the floor in front of her, but she refrains with nary a whine. It’s strange,
I’ve got food, I’ve got water, I’ve got a cute purple coat, what more do I need?
At first, I wondered if she was just depressed. Maybe she has given up hope of every going on a real walk ever again?
Or maybe, just maybe, Shiva has more patience with herself and with us than I anticipated. Maybe she understands that she feels off and that this is just the way things are going to be. She doesn’t put up a fuss when we lay her on the couch and prevent her from doing things on her own. Instead, she wags her tail when we shower her with affection and waits for us at the bottom of the stairs before we carry her to bed at night.Perhaps a part of her knows this is temporary, just a resting place.
If it was me who was in her position, I’d drag myself up every single one of those steps. I’d refuse to pee unless my humans let me walk outside by myself. I certainly wouldn’t tolerate the cone without looking as pitiful as I possibly could. Heck, I’d rip that thing off the instant they left me alone.
Luckily for us, Shiva is nothing like me. With only some understandable stress, she has kept it together, remained positive. In many ways, she is the world’s best canine patient. Even injured she has a much stronger spirit than I. Once again, she has shown me just how much I have to learn.