Wednesday, April 3, 2013
My Child.....My Puppy.
I've posted about Charlie several times before. She has been my only child up until this point. And the older she's gotten the more like a child she's become. So much so that I am actually very confident in my parenting skills after having dealt with her for the past 3 years.
For one thing the dog is incredibly high maintenance. If you read my previous post, you know that Charlie suffers from hot spots. After many trial and error situations including testing and meds, we have come to the conclusion that they are a product of several things. Charlie has food allergies and has to stay on a strict vegetarian diet. She also has flea allergies and will have very large flare ups if she gets bit by a flea. She also suffers from anxiety (like mother like dog) and when she gets really excited she will start to bite herself. The three of these combined make for an interesting life for both of us. I have to be very strict about her eating habits. No treats other than all veggie treats, no bones or raw hides (poor baby,she hates that one) and absolutely no table scraps. In addition, she has to take medication daily or every other day that runs about $250 for a 30 day supply. INSANE. Along with the food and meds, I have to be very careful of what she's exposed to outside. Granted, I have no control as to whether a flea bites her while she's out walking or not, but I try to make sure we aren't in places that are overrun with weeds and such in order to avoid it as best as I can. If she does happen to get bit, I have to find where she's been bitten (easier said than done, the dog has hair thicker than mine), shave the spot and all around it so that it's exposed to the outside air for better healing, and continually apply Neosporin to the break out area until it heals. When she does get bit, often it's more than one bite so she'll have several small shaved patches near her tail-end.
Besides her medical situation the dog is straight up clingy. I know it's a trait of the breed and some of the time it's very cute, but others it is darn annoying. For instance I cannot, CANNOT clean house without being followed every step of the way. And when I say "house" I mean my tiny, one bedroom apartment. So every Sunday, I get ready to trip over my 90 lb. toddler as I attempt to make the place presentable. I also cannot open the pantry or refrigerator without her standing RIGHT there with a "Got something for me, mom?" look on her face. Also since the pregnancy, she's started sleeping with me. This is something she never did before and the only reason I can come up with for her starting now is the pregnancy. So every night, several times a night I have a massive beast jumping up onto the bed next to me. And she apparently is convinced that it's actually her bed and not mine, because she takes it over. If I move her at all to spread out more I get a death type of look that says, "Umm,...excuse me? This is my bed!" And I have said out-loud to her, "Actually, this is MY bed!"
But, mothers make sacrifices for their children and my sleeping habits are one of many things that I've sacrificed for her.
Take last night for example. For whatever reason my German Shepherd is scared of thunderstorms; namely the lightening. So, it was up and down, on the bed, off the bed, under the bed, in the closet, and repeat over and over. Finally during one of her times on the bed I just decided to go ahead and turn the light on so the lightening brightness would be dimmed some. It worked. She quickly fell asleep and we slept with the light on until the storm passed.
The point in all of this is that though I have a crazy high maintenance dog that has cost me thousands in dollars and quite a bit in time and tears as well, she has been/is the perfect lead-in to a baby. I already know what it's like to be exhausted from not sleeping, to take trips to the ER (hopefully that's a rarity with Audrey) and adjust to special dietary needs. I also know what it's like to watch her sleeping and immediately forgive her for any exasperation she may have caused me throughout the day and to wake up every morning to a face thrilled to see me. I know once the baby gets here my love for Charlie will take on a different form, but I can promise you it will not be any less than it is right now. She will always be my "first-born."