Thursday, June 9, 2011

Oreo: An Adventure in Himself

Our dog has been mentioned in several of my posts, but none of them really do him justice.  Oreo is special.  I mean special in the southern "bless your heart" kind of way.  {Aside:  For anyone unfamiliar with the distinct regional differences when using the phrase "bless your/his/her heart," here's a primer.  Oreo broke his back two years ago.  There was emergency surgery (on Memorial Day weekend when there are GREAT rates on emergency pet surgeries) and months of bed rest in a kennel before he was able to come home.  He is, for the most part, fine.  But he no longer has complete feeling throughout his backside and hind legs.  His proprioceptive sense is wonky to be exact.  Or, as Aunt Carrie likes to say, he has drunk butt.  Knowing this information, if someone were to inquire about Oreo's gait, a Midwesterner would say something along the lines of; "You know, he broke his back but bless his heart he's trying hard not to let that slow him down."  Whereas a Southerner would probably say; "He sure does walk funny, bless his heart."  Lobster, back me up on this.  And I certainly mean no disrespect to my southern friends.  I mean after all, you can't help it.  It's how you were raised, bless your hearts.}  He fits in perfectly with the family as he's certainly got issues but is a love all the same.

We adopted Oreo from a no-kill shelter during an adoption drive on April Fool's Day.  A more obvious sign could not have been sent.  The word "fool" was written on the calendar for heaven's sake.  Oreo had been born at the shelter and his litter mates had all been adopted.  That probably should have been another clue that he was unique.  But Sean and I were young and dumb and thought the puppy playfully annoying the other dog in the adjacent cage was cute.  Bonus, he had short hair so he wouldn't shed much.  Fast forward five years, a million destroyed chew toys not to mention a couple of my shoes, an overly long puppy phase, a Labor Day emergency vet visit involving ingested weapon lubricant, mysterious vanishing steaks, a dead bunny not allowed to rest in peace, a sleepover with the neighbors, and enough dog hair on the couch to make an actual new dog, and you have the 40 pound neurotic lap dog wannabe that I had to have groomed yesterday.

Oreo is pretty sure he's human but better looking.  And I won't deny that he's very handsome.  He has been called a "beautiful pointer pup" in his day.  I had a gentleman stop at our house in North Carolina to inquire if that "good-lookin' pointer is available for breeding."  True story.  Oreo was tethered in the front yard and a guy driving by wanted to "stud" him.  Um, how should I put this?  How about:  He's no longer of service in that area.  Bless his heart.  For awhile Oreo had it good.  There were no kids; just him, me, and Sean in the house and on road trips.  He got spoiled.  Crazy spoiled.  And now he thinks he's a human.  And now public baths are beneath him and therefore nerve-wracking.

When Oreo gets nervous, he sheds.  Not just a little, but enough to make you wonder when you put on that soft, white fur coat.  Wait.  I don't have a soft, white fur coat.  Ah.  I'm sure that yesterday on our way to PetSmart (he always knows where we're going somehow - joy ride or Nana and Papa's, he keeps his hair, PetSmart or the vet and he's bald) people thought it was snowing in the car what with all the white hair blowing around in the air conditioning.  But he tries to be brave and doesn't fight the leash going in.  Which is good because a fighting dog and a double stroller might be beyond my powers.  When dropping Oreo off, I always go through the "he has a back injury" introduction so they don't feel the need to explain to me that they didn't break my dog when I pick him up later.  All the while, Sweet Girl is continuously repeating her wish to go visit the fish tank and Little Man is torturing the very well-behaved mastiff next to us by waving his rice rusk in front of his face and then pulling it back quickly.  Though Little Man is directly responsible for the pound Oreo has gained in the last four months, he apparently only shares his food with dogs that ride in the car with us.  Oreo is looking at me with pleading brown eyes and making the fur literally jump off him.  Sorry dog, you smell.  So a bath is what you're getting.

Oreo gets dropped off and we check out the fish.  Then we go home and de-fur the house as much as possible.  Little Man seems a little lost without a dog to chase and Sweet Girl takes the opportunity to line up Oreo's toys for him.  Oreo puts up with the kids because he realizes he goes before they do.  It took him about five days after we brought Sweet Girl home to realize that if he sits next to a baby we definitely won't forget him.  So that's how he rolls when he sees suitcases come out.  Once the packing process has begun, you can find Oreo either right next to the suitcase or right next to a small child.  That's where Oreo is.  His fur, on the other hand, is all over the house.  I promise I have never left him anywhere so I'm not sure where his abandonment issues are originating, but they make it difficult to keep the house clean.

Eventually they call to tell me he's clean and dry.  We load up in the car and then unload into the stroller.  We get Oreo and his "Report Card" - like I need the pressure of having people judge my dog - and wheel around to pay.  Sweet Girl attempts to hand a dog biscuit to every furry creature in the store and Oreo is smelling everything.  In the parking lot he falls behind.  That's odd, we're on the way home.  He usually pulls me to the car.  I turn around to see my dog pooping on the pavement.  Traffic stopped because Oreo couldn't hold it any longer.  There's not really anything else I could do but stand there, with my kids in the stroller, and wait for him to finish his business.  The closest "Oops" bag station was three rows over so I had to leave the business there, load up the kids and the dog, blast the a/c in the car so no one got heat stroke, and then go clean up the mess.  Hot, sweaty, and annoyed I finish the task and drive home.  After unloading and getting everyone a rounds of drinks I take a look at Oreo's report card.  Apparently the woman with whom I deposited Oreo was not his actual groomer and she did not pass along my tale of old back injuries.  The report card said "He's so sweet and soft!  But I'm worried that he walks a little weird."  He sure does.  Bless his heart.

Friday, June 3, 2011

The Season of Reruns

Summer officially started for us on May 24th.  That was Sweet Girl's last day of school for the year.  I'll write more on the awesome sight a special needs pre-school end-of-year celebration is at a later date, but first I wanted to rerun the post that sent Sweet Girl to school.  I'm happy to say that quite a bit has changed, and for that I am forever thankful to the professionals who have uncovered a whole new layer of special and amazing in my daughter.  Though, please note, the wind still blows swiftly through this house.  It's a nice breeze.

Just Another Manic Mom-Day

I've been known to get a little manic about certain things, my kids in particular. And today we picked up the information to enroll Sweet Girl in pre-school. I could cry. I nearly did. I'm sure I will. So many emotions, so many images running through my head, so many school supplies to buy (a toothbrush!); the mania has set in. How are we going to do this, Sweet Girl?

This is big. Sweet Girl has never gone to day care, she's received all her therapies in our home with either me or Sean right next to her. Now she'll be in a classroom all day-five days a week! Little Man and I will have 27.5 hours of quality time together each week while Sweet Girl starts her formal education. I could cry. It's not that I don't look forward to spending time with Little Man, or shopping with just one kid instead of two, or even (gasp!) having a couple of hours at home that resemble quiet. I do. But I'm not sure I'll know how to function without Sweet Girl running around here like a zephyr hopped up on chocolate-coated sugar cubes. (Incidentally, if she were ever to be adopted by a Native American tribe, I'm pretty sure her new name would be Runs Like Wind With Much Sugar. Or maybe even Dances With Much Hair Tossing....but I digress.) All of this adds to my mania, but it's not what has me verklempt.

It's the thought of handing Sweet Girl over to someone else who hasn't spent the last three years getting to know her. Sweet Girl lives in a hybrid of her own world and the world where the rest of us live. She isn't your typical three year old, and it's taken a whole lot of work on her part to start communicating. So how is this teacher (in whom I actually have every confidence, but rational thoughts aren't prevalent in my mind right now) going to know what to do with my Sweet Girl? Will she know what she likes to do and what scares her? Will she know that "I got it. I got it." followed by grunting sounds is Sweet Girl's way of getting someone to hand her something she can't reach? Will she know that Sweet Girl works twice as hard as other kids to say half as much? Will she know what to do when Sweet Girl goes looking for Pooh's lost rumbly (he shouldn't have had all those honey pies Kanga baked him in one sitting!)? Will she love my Sweet Girl like I do? The answer to all these questions is no. I could cry. Actually, I am.

But "no" is the point. If Sweet Girl isn't pushed to communicate with other people, people who haven't watched a thousand episodes of My Friends Tigger and Pooh with her, then she may never do it. She has to learn how to ask for something out of her reach in a way others can understand, not to mention in a manner that won't make people think she has to go to the bathroom. Sweet Girl needs to start venturing outside her world a little more. I need to let her. So, "no" is actually what the answer should be.

And no one could love her the way I do; crazy fierce and soft and fuzzy, but I know her teacher will love Sweet Girl in her own way. I just need to temper my mania and see this for what it is, a giant step in the right direction. So it's not as windy around here during the week? Little Man and I can live with that, and Sweet Girl will be back before we can get all those sugar cubes covered with chocolate.