Not dead

….just wishing I was.

Life has been kicking me until I’m down, and then curb stomping me recently and while I know it will resolve, it might be weeks or even months before I can even moderately fix my life so… yeah.

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How many times can I write poop before it becomes redundant…

Well, we’re all moved in (mostly). I still need a bunch of furniture like end tables, bookshelves, and most importantly, a dining room table. I’ve also discovered what I forgot to pack and is still in storage somewhere, things like a can opener. Yeah, trying to make something using canned goods without a can opener is damn near impossible unless you’re willing to ruin your good knives. I’ve eaten a lot of salad and instant oatmeal the last three days.

I like the apartment complex, it seems pretty secure with roaming county sheriffs and locks or passcodes on all the doors, even the dumpster area has a lock on it. I really like that the walls in the apartment have both dry wall and plaster (I think?), anyways it’s doubly thick and that means it’s really, really quiet. Pretty easy to see how someone who likes to sit alone with her dog on top of a mountain summit would be drawn to a really quiet building.

What I don’t like about the complex is a) while the apartments are all non-smoking, the property itself is not; cigarette smoke is one of the things that will induce migraines for me, so I can choose to either have a migraine for an average of four days or keep the window closed and be a bit warm and sticky in my apartment. I go with warm and sticky, heat hasn’t ever bothered me; when asked the question: ‘Would you rather be too hot or too cold?’ most people I know say too cold because you can always put more clothes on, and I always say too hot. I think it’s because my hands and toes are constantly chilly and it just makes me miserable. It’s also kind of odd that I like snow as much as I do considering that statement. Something to wonder about later. The other thing that’s a bother about this complex is that while it is very dog friendly, either the residents don’t pick up after their dogs or people from neighboring complexes walk their dogs here to do their business and don’t clean up after them because the grass areas surrounding the property are absolutely littered in doggy land mines. The amount is insane, really; I mean it’s every foot or so! The grass is so festooned with poop that Bishop won’t poop or pee on this property, we have to walk down a few blocks and he’s chosen a street where he likes to poop. I always clean up after him and don’t leave anything behind because I don’t know whether or not where he’s pooping is private property, I don’t want Bishop to think the area is too full of poop to go there anymore, and mostly I don’t want to be one of those jerk dog owners who want a dog but don’t want to handle poop.

Just like I told my brother when his kids were still in diapers and they’d go number two and I smelled it first, “You made them, they made the poop, thus it’s also your poop.” I didn’t make Bishop but I did make the decision to be his guardian forever so his poop is my poop. It’s not hard to clean up after them and it’s not hard to be prepared for whenever you need to clean up their mess. I mean, Walmart sells a pack of 8 rolls of bags for around $6.00. I keep a roll in my car, in my backpack, in my hiking pack, and a roll in each of my most used coats.

I hate seeing piles left around like someone expects the poop-fairy to come and clean it up, dog poop is not a compostable waste, it can and will make humans sick so just leaving it to soak up and decompose naturally is a terrible idea (side note: the same is true for human poo, so that scene in The Martian where he lives off of potatoes grown from is shipmates waste? Yeah, that’s how cholera is spread.); not only that, but it paints all dog owners in an irresponsible light and we have enough things for people to grip at us about over our dogs. Do we really need to give fuel to that garbage fire with something that is so easily remedied?

Please, please, please just pick up after your dog.

Scramble

We’re moving!

Tomorrow. We’re moving tomorrow, so today is a scramble trying to get the u-haul, load all my stuff, pack what is unpacked, throw all reasonable things into the truck, and not look at my bank account. Did you know that moving is expensive????? My funds will replenish once the term starts and my financial aid deposits but until then it’s single ply toilet paper for me!

That’s all I’ve got time for right now, have to get loading. Also, must remember to not pack up the wine, I’ll probably need it tonight and tomorrow…….

Ice Walker

As I sit here with my brain in a complete lack-of-sleep-induced fog, I am struggling to even remember what topic I was going to write about today. I guess I can tell you about Bishop’s first introduction to a body of water; it did not go well.

I guess I had been living with Bishop for about 3 weeks, we were in Flagstaff, AZ. Something I didn’t know is that since Flagstaff is at 7,000 feet it gets snow, not feet and feet of it but about 10 inches. Still, it’s enough that is was a surprise to a west coaster who never really took the time to think about high red desert getting snowy or cold, let alone below freezing. So we took our usual walk around the pond just down the hill from where we were living, the pond was frozen over by now and Bishop, being the explorer that he is, trotted out along the edge of the pond on the frozen section. I thought I was keeping a close eye on him AND trying to tiptoe around the piles and piles of goose turds that decorated the sidewalk, I looked away for a minute too long. I look up to see Bishop all the way out in the center of the pond, still on frozen ice, I hear a crack, not loud like thunder or in the movies, just the normal crunching of ice; Bishop drops. I remember it in slow motion, like time slowed, his head disappeared below the ice in the small circle his body had fallen through. I dumped my jacket and boots and scrambled down to the edge of the pond, I knew the ice wasn’t going to hold my weight, I knew I’d have to break a trail through the ice in that nasty, goose poop infested water; but I didn’t care. My 13 week old puppy, with his massive satellite ears and the sweetest hazelnut brown eyes I’d ever seen was out there desperately trying to clamber back up onto the ice. He didn’t cry or whine, or even whimper; he just clawed at the frozen pond. I placed one foot on the ice and shifted my weight onto it, then my other. I went one full step, looked up, and at that moment Bishop’s little puppy claws grabbed hold and he managed to drag himself out of the hole, he galloped over to me, greeting me with excited butt wiggles and nosing his head into my hands.

I wrapped him up in my coat, quickly making for home. We took a hot shower (yes, *we* he’s followed me into the shower since I brought him home, he couldn’t stand even a shower curtain being between us), started a fire and cuddled up under a thick comforter. I thought he’d be afraid of water forever after that. And he was, for a little while. I’d try to encourage him to go swimming but he’d opt to just wade in ankle deep. It wasn’t until last summer, when he was nearly 2 years old, that he followed my parent’s Labrador, Sutter, into the creek that runs behind their house and actually began swimming. Now, he loves the water and rushes right in whenever we’re near it.

So, when we got the opportunity to take some photos on a frozen lake Bishop slipped and slid his way over to me on the ice and we got some great shots! Not fancying breaking through, though, we didn’t go far from shore.

He seems to not remember falling through the ice, but I do; I also remember it being the first time I knew I’d do anything, anything at all, for this dog.

Hard Choices

This feeling is awful. It’s painful, it’s guilt filled, and it is necessary.

As I mentioned before, Bishop is an escape artist as most northern breeds tend to be. He can jump a 6 foot fence, and the place where we are currently living has a section where the fence is not quite 4 feet. Compounded with the fact that where we are is right on a very busy highway, it’s a recipe for disaster and immense heartbreak. Bishop is, 99% of the time, with me; either at class or out and about, he is with me the majority of the time. But two days ago, he was playing in the yard and I was inside the house when I heard the fence rattle. I ran outside and called for him. I called and I called; and I knew, I knew he had jumped the fence and was running along the highway or at the very least sniffing along it. I saw him gallop past the front of the house, looking for where my voice was coming from; I used his emergency recall and he came bounding into my arms. It was the single most terrifying moment of my life.

It was also the reason I chose to get a shock collar type boundary fence. I didn’t come to the decision lightly, and quite frankly, I hate it. I don’t want to shock my dog. I don’t want to traumatize him. I don’t want him to feel afraid. But him jumping the fence makes me feel all those things: shocked, traumatized, and mostly afraid. He’s the love of my life and I am intentionally trying to condition him to be afraid of the fence line. I feel wretched. The shock boundary is up, and after testing the line, adjusting the range, and taking several massively deep breaths to ready myself for what I was about to do, I put the collar on Bishop. He didn’t know what it was, he didn’t know what it’d do, he didn’t know; because he trusts me completely. Trusts that I won’t hurt him, trusts that I won’t let anything bad happen to him, trusts that I won’t betray him. And I did all those things today.

When he wandered close to the short fence and the collar shocked him, the stunned yelp that proceeded into screams when he became so confused where this pain was coming from that he was too scared to move and just stayed there getting zapped, was too much for the fragile emotional defense I’d put up preparing for him getting shocked. I broke down. I cried and cried and cried. I felt so horrible, so guilty. I hated myself in that moment. And for many moments that followed. This boundary fence is a hard choice; it’s undesirable and ugly. It’s still a better alternative than literally having to shovel his body off of that highway. This is a highway that a month ago I saw a new deer corpse every day on the side of it for three weeks.

This living situation isn’t permanent, it’s not forever. And one day, in the not too distant future, I won’t have to worry about cars or fence lines because we’ll be in the car and the whole world will be our backyard. But for now, I’ll sit here, typing and crying, and I’ll accept the weighty guilt of my choice. I’ll take comfort in the fact that even though I did something so grotesque to my dog today, he still loves me. And I need him to love me right now, because I certainly don’t.

King Of My Heart

I think I could just stop writing and leave this post at the title: King of my Heart. It’s accurate and succinct; and perfectly describes what Bishop is to me.

Buuuuut… I did say I’d give a whole post introducing Bishop, soooooo…

Hopefully, you read my first post (it’s not that hard to find, it’s the only other one on this site) and you know that Bishop is my dog. Well, he’s more than that. He’s my life companion. He’s my baby. He’s my *preciousssssss*

He’s a Northern Inuit Dog, which acted as the direwolves on Game of Thrones before they started using CGI. He’s also a complete and utter Dingaling; which is a doofus, a goober, and a cuddle lover all wrapped up in a tornado covered in lots and lots of fur.

Bishop isn’t a dog that was meant for indoors since he is a bull and the world is his China shop. That isn’t to say other NI Dogs are like this, in fact I know very little about what other Nitwits (as they are lovingly called) are like as the only other one I have met is Bishop’s father. Well, I met his brothers from his litter but they were only 10 weeks old and could also be tornadoes covered in lots and lots of fur now that they’re all grown up; however, at two months old they could’ve been as destructive as Godzilla and any human with a lick of sense would’ve just gone, “Awwwwwwwww!” Back to Bishop being a dog meant for the outdoors, he’s happiest there. You can see him come alive in the outdoors, his wild soul cannot fit inside four walls. Lucky for both of us, I would do anything to give him the best life I can; so I take us out of the four walls and we roam. We roam everywhere. As it turns out, all the roaming awakened my soul and now I have a hard time containing it indoors too. He’s changed my world so completely, before Bishop I was on the path to medical school and becoming a cardiologist; I wanted 100 acres so I couldn’t see or hear my closest neighbor, I wanted a house so big that it could fit the library from Beauty and the Beast inside, I wanted a 6 figure salary and prestige. Now, I want to convert a van for long term living, I’m gearing my education towards becoming a professor so I can take my dog to work everyday, I still want to be where I can’t see or hear my closest neighbors but now I just camp under the stars on public lands to get that.

This dog has saved me. He’s saved my life and my soul. Not in the traditional sense, Bishop didn’t come into my life when I was going through a hard time or anything like that; what I mean is he saved me from myself. So often do we think we know what we want, and we go on thinking that until a catalyst changes everything. Bishop is my catalyst. My entire life changed when I sent that certified check for his deposit. I still sometimes look at him and it feels like a dream, and if I think too hard I’ll wake up. My bank account taking massive hits whenever he does something monumentally head-bang worthy keeps me grounded in reality though, so I’m pretty sure it’s not a dream.

 

He’s the best thing I’ve ever done.