Monday, February 18, 2013

I feel like I got hit by a Scion.

If I ever live with someone again, it's going to be that person's job to put me to bed, because I am dumb about that. I am dead tired. I am so tired I can barely focus my eyes. But the thought of getting up to take out my contacts and wash my face seems even more exhausting than sitting here, so I'm still sitting here.

I feel like I got hit by a truck. But, I actually got hit by a Scion.

My poor Carly.  :(

Porter in the tow truck.

This morning, I woke up to take a shelter dog on KDKA-TV with my friend Jim Krenn. It went pretty well, see? Then I ran home to pick up my foster Beagle, Porter, because I wanted to take him to work with me. 

So, I put Porter in my Subaru and decided to go a different way to work. Everyone knows that the Squirrel Hill tunnels are hell on Earth, so I never, ever drive through them. I always drive through Squirrel Hill. But today, since it was President's Day and the roads seemed clear, I decided to get onto the highway. I was driving in stop-and-go traffic on 376-East when I got plowed into from behind.  Porter went flying and at first I didn't even think about anything else, just Porter. Then I realized I had been hit.

Porter was ok. So was I and the other driver. She actually couldn't have been nicer. She was young and pretty, wore lovely gold eyeshadow, and she felt so badly that she cried the whole time we exchanged info. I was in shock, just staring at my car, so she sort of took charge. At one point I pulled a piece of her headlight out of my trunk and handed it to her.

My insurance company sent a tow truck. I emptied my car and loaded several bags, my lunch box, and my Beagle into the tow truck. Porter just cuddled into me as we rode off, with my battered car on the flatbed behind us.

We went to the collision center and Porter waited sweetly by my chair. 

If you have to have a bad day, have it with a Beagle.

The car rental company came and gave me the biggest minivan in the world, I think--a Town and Country. I could drive a whole soccer team in this thing. It was so big that Porter could get his front half in, but then his back legs just scrambled and I had to hoist him.

I was feeling sort of discombobulated so I drove to my parents' house and let myself in. It seemed like the best thing to do at the time. By that time my neck and lower back were starting to hurt pretty badly, so I called my dad's chiropractor and made an appointment. 

I'm not sure how long it will take to fix my car and back, but I'm glad I had my little Beagle with me today.

I'm really, really tired.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Beagles are so sincere.

I love having a foster Beagle.

Porter the paleontologist.

I asked my mom if she liked Porter, and she replied, "What's not to like?" It's as simple as that. He has such a sunny disposition. The little guy looks up at me with an expression that's so innocent, so hopeful, and so sweet. Every moment seems to give him such unabashed delight. It's a pleasure to watch him pad around.

He's also a quick learner. It's fun watching a creature who doesn't know anything about our world start to process and comprehend things. When I met him, he was afraid of me, toys, swinging doors and every household noise. Now he's gained confidence, knows his name, and obligingly obeys when I say "Come," "Wait," and "Sit."

He also knows a couple unique when I'm cold and I want to go back inside, I say, "Time to go in," and he knows that he has to hurry up and decide which bush to pee on before he gets hauled back into the house. I can read the expression on his face as it changes to "Oh darnit, fine, I'll just pee here!"

Firefly the cat is making progress, too.

Look! She is ALMOST in the same room as the Beagle.
Firefly, my 13-and-a-half-year-old Butterscotch Calico, is not a friendly cat. She's sweet and lovable with me but get visibly pissed off when I have visitors. I did not expect her to adjust well to Porter. In fact, I thought she might present a dealbreaker, and I'd have to sheepishly end my foster period at the adamant behest of my cat.

My co-workers suggested that Firefly would "get used" to having a foster dog, but I couldn't make them understand that I didn't want her to have to suffer, even temporarily. I didn't even want to upset her for five minutes! She's a cranky cat, but she's been by my side through thick and thin and I love her with all my heart.

Anyway, she's definitely pissed... Every day when the Beagle and I get home from work, Firefly runs to greet us at the door, discovers that Porter is still with me, and bristles as though she's saying, "Are you kidding me? Again?!" Then she storms off.

But I've developed a good routine, which Porter knows and obeys. Porter gets shut in his bedroom when Firefly eats, wants to cuddle with me, and goes to bed at night.

And to my huge surprise, having a foster dog has made my feisty cat friendlier! It's like she's competing for the attention that she used to take for granted. She'll now come out to socialize with guests, and when Porter is in his bedroom, Firefly climbs all over me, desperate for affection. I'm always very happy to give it to  her.

My muppet.

I've been thinking about the quote "Happiness [is] only real when shared." It might be a bit of a stretch to apply the sentiment to pet ownership, but my life feels significantly richer these days. I feel lots of love, and I feel like I want to give it to others. I feel more patient. I feel less concerned with trivial worries. I feel more like myself.

Thanks, foster Beagle!

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Recipe for mending a broken heart in 50 days

If someone comes along and devastates you--ruins you for what will feel like the rest of your life--you will feel very lucky if you can do the following:

Find good friends. 
Cry to your mom, if she'll hear it. Schedule dinners and brunches with people who love you, even if your limbs feel too heavy to pull out of bed, even if you know you're going to cry in front of them and come home feeling soggy, drained and bruised. Let a very good friend tuck you into their bed and hold you while you weep. 

Find a professional.
He or she will probably say the same things that your friends are telling you, like, "It's better to know about this now than later" but somehow it will sink in differently. 

Find someone who's worse off than you are, and help them.
Maybe a sick, abused dog who no longer trusts anyone either. You can learn to trust each other.

Find good things.
Be relentless about this. Feed yourself good food. See doctors. Exercise. Get enough sleep. Get a haircut. Buy a new couch if you can. Make crafts. Try Zumba even if it makes you feel feel like a flailing muppet in a sea of mermaids. 

Find the holes in your story.
Why is your heart so broken? Maybe the story you were telling yourself was never true. Maybe you weren't as happy as you wanted to believe you were. Maybe now you can finally stop walking on eggshells all the time. 

Find out what you've been overlooking.
Maybe, just maybe, the sweet, deadpan guy you never seriously considered is flirting with you. And maybe he's secretly funny. Maybe you should let him take you to an arcade. Be nice to him, even if you're still trying to quell the banshee inside. He might be just what you need. 

Saturday, February 9, 2013

I wanna be your dog

It's official. Porter has moved in for one month as my Foster Dog.

Porter, if you're new here, was rescued by Humane Officers when another dog in his home was beaten the death with a metal bar. Porter has heartworm and an upper respiratory infection, and needs a quiet place to recover.

It turns out that it's really easy to foster this sick little Beagle. So easy, in fact, that I keep thinking I'm doing it wrong. This is what he does most of the time:

This is how he commutes back and forth to work with me:

And this is how adorable he is when I tuck him in at night:

He has his own bedroom and futon.

It's been a long time since I've lived in a multi-species household, and even though it's a little complicated, I quickly remembered how much I love it. A home feels really good with both a dog and a cat in it. Last night when I got home from the gym, Firefly gave me her sweet, sincere hello and Porter did did the full-out doggie routine of "Oh my god I thought I'd never see you again!" It was great.

The kids. 
But the best part has been watching Porter learn how to be a dog. He's four years old, so normally, this wouldn't be remarkable. But, Porter spent his first four years living outside under the care of an animal abuser. So, I've been able to witness as he discovered, for the very first time:

- Dog toys. He's terrified of them. So, we've had to find and invent games he likes, like running through a blanket, bullfighter-style. Then he wiggles around under the blanket, wagging his crazy little tail.

Porter and me.

- Windows. He's fascinated by them.

- Cuddling. He's still timid about this, but he'll put his head and elbows in my lap while his back legs and butt stand up and wiggle.

It's wonderful to see his sweet, pleasant little mind work, too. He doesn't seem to know what any words mean, and it only seemed to click this week that the shelter gave him a name: Porter. But, he aims to please. Whenever he does something wrong, he'll only do it until I correct him and then he promptly obliges. Porter wants very much to be a good dog.

Today we're going to go to a dog wash and give him a bath. Then we're going to the pet food store because even though Porter will eat brussels sprouts, he won't eat Kibbles n Bits! In between that, I'm hoping to score Pearl Jam tickets. Wish me luck!