Sean’s been out of town a lot lately, so when I saw this blog post from one of my favorites, Cup of Jo, I laughed out loud at the image. It’s so comforting to know that when home alone I’m not the only person that eats a completely random assortment of foods or talks to a pet. Sean’s most recent time away was this past Sunday & Monday. On Monday I asked Aiden about his day and I think he fully enjoyed his midday walk with his dogwalker despite the grey weather. Then, over and over, I sang to him phrases from a Beauty & the Beast song. Specifically: “I want adventure in the great wide somewhere/ I want it more than I can tell/ And for once it might be grand/ To have someone understand/ I want so much more than they’ve got planned.” (Around 5:20 in the video I’ve linked, if you want a refresher.) I feel on the brink of one of the greatest adventures of my life, so I’m not looking for more adventure. But I think Aiden was cool with it even though no one could understand where the urge to sing this particular song came from.
This past weekend our neighborhood hosted an event for people and their pets. Wags N’ Whiskers was within walking distance from our house and perfectly aligned with my new resolution to be a better dog mother. It was a beautiful day for it.
The event was mostly an opportunity for vendors to come out and sell their goods to animal fanatics. The event advertised portraits with your pets, which was the main reason I wanted us to go. At first I thought we could have our portrait sketched. We’ve recently discovered that Aiden is afraid of a regular camera (not our iPhones), so a sketch would work well for our very skittish dog. Unfortunately it turned out to be professional photos with a beige background so we didn’t end up getting a family photo.
This adorable little boy could not get enough high fives from the dog mascot. And don’t you love the ‘do on this lady to the right?
How funny is the dog kissing booth idea? People just go wild for their animals, don’t they?
Aiden gets really excited the minute we pull out his leash. It takes about 20 minutes for us to walk down to our neighborhood’s downtown area/dog park. I wish there was a way to explain to him that sometimes we take long walks. He tugs and tugs as we walk to the dog park buring off almost all of his energy before we even get there. We just can’t go fast enough in the beginning. He starts to get tired as he runs around with other dogs and then is barely able to get himself home. If only he understood English.
Here’s Aiden’s crazy eye. Sometimes this means he’s ready to play but here I think it means he’s starting to get tired.
Because we had been feeding him the worst dog food on the planet we switched his food recently. We didn’t think it was possible, but Aiden has much more energy with his new food. Going on long walks like this help him stay calm for the rest of the day. Well, almost.
Aiden and I went to the vet several weekends ago for his annual check-up and shot renewal. The vet is stressful for all parties. Stressful for Aiden because anything other than getting some lovin’ at home, going for a walk, getting a treat, or going to the dog park is stressful for him.
He’s stressed in the car on the way over. He’s stressed in the waiting room (and sheds everywhere!) and if I don’t keep him on a short lease he disrupts the other dogs. His tail is in between his legs the whole time we’re meeting with the vet because he’s forced to get close to this strange human.
The experience is stressful for me because I feel like a terrible dog mother. Gosh, why didn’t I remember to furminate my dog before coming here so we didn’t create these tumble weeds in the waiting room? Aiden, please just listen to me this one time and get on this scale. I promise you belly rubs for the rest of the day. Do I really have to pick you up and place you on this thing? They ask about his diet. Oh, you mean I’ve been feeding my dog the worst dog food on the planet for years (Beneful)? Then they ask about his activity. Uh. We have a dog door that leads to a tiny back yard….does that count? (No, that doesn’t count which is why I don’t actually give that answer.) But this means I also don’t really know the answer to other important questions about how he’s doing because I’m not walking him.
I’m not even a dog person. I plotted to kill my family dog when I was in high school, so I never imagined I’d sign myself up for another dog in my lifetime. (That’s a true story, by the way. I fed that dog chocolate and even, very briefly, convinced a fellow drama club member that he should help me take that dog out. It was serious at the time but it seems terrible and awful to admit now.) Then I met Sean. We had the. best. first. date. ever. Until he introduced me to his dog. It wasn’t really going to be a deal breaker but it kind of almost was. After three plus years of being together I’ve really grown to love Aiden. He’s a very sweet dog. He’s also very whiny but very sweet. So I wasn’t expecting to experience such guilt over something I didn’t even want. It seems so obvious now, but it’s taken a long time for it to click that I’m partially responsible for Aiden. That Aiden is a living thing that requires someone to care for him more than just feeding and petting. That I need to pay more attention to how he’s actually doing. So with this new revelation I’ve made a resolution. I’m going to try very hard to take Aiden on more walks and to remember to furminate him more regularly and be more patient with him when he jumps all over me when I come home everyday. This is my end of Q3 2013 resolution. You can have those, right?
It seems appropriate that the first post on our family blog is about our first family adventure. While we’ve had offers to bring Aiden with us on trips to the homes of our friends and family, our knowledge of his skittish tendencies around strange humans and his reliance on his dog door to relieve himself have prevented us from accepting. But when Sean decided it was finally time we took a camping trip our first family adventure began!
Sean has talked about going to a dark park for camping and star gazing for a while. I love to camp so never protested but our calendar fills up quickly and we’ve had a hard time finding a weekend for camping. So when we realized the first weekend in May was unscheduled we all headed to West Virginia for a Friday-Sunday camping trip.
West Virginia is a beautiful state, especially in May. So many mountains and trees in full spring bloom. As we got closer and closer and drove higher and higher up the mountain to our camp site, we noticed the trees went from full spring bloom to early spring buds to bare winter trees. It turns out that it’s still very cold almost 5,000 feet up. But we’d driven four hours, we’d invested in a new tent and fishing poles, we were so prepared with snacks and ready to see some stars. So despite the chill we set up our camp.
And we collected fire wood to get started on dinner. This was successful until Sean decided letting Aiden off his lease was a good idea. The guy bolted through the woods wanting us to chase him. Luckily we caught him eventually but it was touch and go there for a minute.
Let’s remember that I was camping with Sean so typical hot dogs weren’t going to cut it for dinner. We had tacos instead. A nod to Cinco de Mayo and actually easier than I thought over a campfire (it helped that we had a cast iron skillet). And the left over toppings made great scrambled eggs the next morning.
Once the sun went down it got cold. So cold. We got in a quick walk, saw a few shooting stars (!), but quickly called it quits to get into our tent to stay warm. Which didn’t work out very well. We’re pretty sure it dropped below freezing overnight. We did our best to put on as many layers as we could and even wrapped a blanket around Aiden, but we just weren’t prepared for freezing. At some point in the middle of it all we both agreed we couldn’t handle another night of shivering sleep. So very shortly after making breakfast we packed up and headed home.
It’s for the best, really. We didn’t have enough firewood to make it through another night and Aiden is NOT an outdoor dog. Aside from his escape attempt he was afraid of the fire, wouldn’t drink or eat his food, and really didn’t like sleeping on hard ground (the guy is spoiled by his soft bed and the couch). Despite the failed camping trip we were still able to have a nice weekend together as a family. We took Aiden to the dog park and made blue cheese stuff burgers for ourselves.
And don’t worry, we’ll get to use those fishing poles. We already made a reservation at the same site for the July 4th weekend. We’ll go sans Aiden and hike, fish, and make it through two nights!