We have two dogs. Fenway the dalmatian and Haley the golden retriever. Although MJ and I are grown human beings, we do not run our house. Will runs the house. But the damn dogs are not far behind.
It wasn’t always that way.
We had Fenway first and we rescued her from the Brockton MSPCA. Right from the start she was a lot of work, but she was manageable. We trained her pretty well in that she would sit, stay, do down and even shake her paw. Haley does the same. And before we had Will, we developed a nice little routine. Three walks a day, two meals a day at 6 am and 6 pm and the dogs either slept in the dog bed or we allowed them at the foot of our bed. We were responsible dog owners then.
Now? Not so much.
Fenway has turned into an absolute nightmare. I don’t know why, but she wakes up at 3:15 a.m. like clockwork every single morning wanting to eat. First she walks into our bedroom. Then, if we don’t wake up, she begins to growl. Then, if we still don’t wake up, she barks. Here are my problems:
I can’t just let her bark because she’ll wake the neighbors (remember, we live in a condo) and more important, she’ll wake Will up. Normally I’d just put her in the crate and teach her a lesson, but the barking is out of the question. First I just let her out thinking she had to go to the bathroom. Nope. She just wanted to eat and wouldn’t pee or poop until she had food. I can’t muzzle her because it’s not safe to muzzle a dog for that long. So we tried squirting her with a water bottle because she hates that. But all that makes her do is go out of range and growl from there. Then we bought a shock collar and we thought that would be the end of it. But damn if dalmatians aren’t stubborn as all hell and not even electric jolts keep her quiet.
So because I can’t let her bark her head off, I give in. So I end up feeding the dogs around 4 a.m. after I’ve lost almost an hour of sleep while battling Fenway.
But it doesn’t end there.
Fenway sleeps in her dog bed during the night, while Haley sleeps at the foot of our bed. But once they’ve been fed and gone to the bathroom early in the morning, it’s a totally different story. Fenway refuses to go back to sleep in the dog bed. Instead, she demands to sleep with us in the bed. And unlike Haley, she will not settle for the foot of the bed. Oh no, that’s just not good enough.
You know what, instead of me trying to describe it, here’s a picture:
Yep, that’s right. Fenway needs to sleep between us. She also needs to be under the covers with her head on a pillow. And she stretches her paws straight out. Which means MJ sleeps with paws in her back while I’m left with a sliver of bed. And keep in mind, Haley is laying by our feet. That’s two 55-lb dogs joining us on our bed every morning.
And a lot of it is our fault for being bad dog owners. We allow this to happen. But I swear Fenway knows she has me in a corner with the barking. I end up having to give in and so Fenway just keeps on doing what she’s doing. We don’t have a downstairs or a second floor either, so that’s out. And I’m so tired in the morning from fighting with the dog, something’s gotta give.
MJ and I think about rehoming or surrendering her but I don’t think either of us has the heart to actually follow through with it. She’s a rescue dog and she’s 8 years old. We saved her and we probably added 2-3 years to her life but making her lose 15 lbs. For better or worse she’s our dog, but lately it’s been worse. Much, much worse.
Haley, on the other hand, is what all dogs should aspire to be. She’s like the younger sibling who gets straight As and makes the oldest child look and feel like an idiot. We could even have her off-leash if it wasn’t for Fenway’s bad influence and tendency to bolt when she gets free.
They truly are our four-legged fur babies. Sure they make me want to jump off a bridge at times, and they limit where we can travel to and how long we can stay out, and they make a mess of the house, cost a fortune to feed, ring up some hefty vet bills, I’m constantly picking up their poop….
Hmmm…now that I list that all out why the hell do I have dogs again?? Oh yeah, for times like this: