Category Archives: Bryson

Peace through sadness

Dear Addison,

Before I even meet you out in the world, I wanted to tell you a story. It makes me sad that you’ll never get to meet the goofy guy that first taught your Dad and me what it means to be responsible for another life. His name was Bryson, and we adopted him when he was a baby, just like you. He was only about eight pounds then, but it didn’t take him very long to grow bigger. And bigger. And then a little bigger. He became a tall, lanky puppy that developed into a tall, lanky dog.

Your dad and I had so many adventures with Bryson. He was around for almost all of the important milestones throughout the beginning of our marriage, before we even thought about bringing you into our family. He moved with us about a dozen times, across town and then all the way to Virginia and back, plus lots of weekend trips in between when we’d let him sleep all by himself on the extra bed in the hotel rooms. He could really fill out a queen size bed.

Bryson was so sweet and loving most of the time. Whenever your Dad would leave for work in the morning, the door hadn’t even closed before Bryson would jump up on the bed with me and sleep until I woke up. So many times I rolled over in a panic thinking that Dad had slept in, but it was just Bryson snoring away. He loved to play fetch with his rope or tennis ball. And he didn’t really love swimming in the pool (like I hope you will), but he still managed to fall in a few times. Your Dad and I couldn’t help but laugh at him when he would do silly things like that. He loved meeting other dogs and playing for hours when he got the chance. I hope that you make friends just as easily; you’ll have to get that from your Dad.

I hate to tell you this part, but I have to. For a year or so before we found out about you, Bryson was not always nice to everyone. He didn’t like strangers. Now, I don’t really like strangers all that much, either, but it’s important that dogs are nice to strangers even if they don’t want them around. Bryson never learned how to tolerate or ignore those strangers, and he was mean to them. Sometimes he even thought our friends were strangers, and was mean to them, too. Your Dad and I didn’t like having a dog that was mean to other people. We wanted so badly for Bryson to show everyone how good he could be. We tried a bunch of things to help him understand that people, even strangers, aren’t dangerous. But none of it worked.

When we found out about you, baby girl, everything changed. Even though we loved Bryson so, so much, we loved you more. A lot more. We loved you with our whole hearts and then some. And because of that love, we wanted to protect you from anything that could hurt you or scare you. We didn’t know how Bryson would feel about you, or how he would feel about other people (a lot of strangers) coming to meet you. And of course we were going to have to show you off to everyone! So we had to make a decision about Bryson. And it was the hardest thing we’ve ever had to do.

It wasn’t hard to know that you came first, sweet Addison. That was never the question. The hard part was saying our good-byes to Bryson. We were so used to having him in our lives and our home, wherever that was, for so many years. We watched him grow and mature, find his own personality and discover the world, just like we’ll do with you.

I wanted you to know about Bryson because he taught us lots of lessons that will help us when we finally bring you home with us. He taught us that we can be stern without screaming. He taught us that pulling harder against the leash will just make some people want the squirrel even more. He taught me about 2 a.m. potty breaks, and that I can sort of function with them in my regular routine. He taught us not to be afraid of poop. He taught us that even though some things might be scary to us, sometimes we have to sit back and trust that you’ll know what to do without us.

And the most important lesson was learning how to truly be parents, about what it means to sacrifice something that you might love to pieces for the sake of the life you’ve been entrusted with. This was the very beginning of a life that wasn’t about me and your Dad anymore. We know that we did the right thing by letting Bryson go, even though it was the toughest choice we could have made. But please know–and always remember–we don’t feel guilty about doing what’s best for you. We hope to do that every single day for the rest of our lives.

From My Whole Heart,
Mama

profile park

The longest story of my dog ever: Part 2

For “the longest story ever,” there’s only two parts. Rest easy, friends.

Here’s Part 1, aka The Scary Part.

Part 2, aka The Silly Part

Considering Bryson’s symptoms—throwing up and having an Exorcist-style eye spasm—Clayton and I were both thinking he’d had a seizure. But, in addition to her craptastic “diagnosis,” the vet explained doggie seizures don’t really look like human seizures. Dogs may just zone out for a few seconds, and many of them snap and bite at the air, like they’re trying to catch a fly.

So that’s what Clayton and I filed away to watch out for in the coming weeks. Fake fly swatting and an abnormal disregard for our baby talk. Done and done.

DSCN5796

This seemed simple enough. Then one day I was sitting in the office in our apartment and B-dizzle was out in the living room. I heard the unmistakable sound of his non-athletic legs lunging across the room and his uncut nails (coughdad’sjobcough) dragging along the carpet. It’s the sound he makes as he unsuccessfully lurches for a toy we’ve thrown two inches from his face. Seriously, it’s awkward.

DSCN6321-1

I immediately thought “SEIZURE! RED ALERT!” because, um, no one would be in the living room tossing a toy for him to whiz right by stupidly. I thought he must be galloping across the living room chasing down imaginary flies.

When I went to inspect, he didn’t seem odder than normal. Just a little out of breath from his newfound game. As it turns out, there actually was a fly buzzing around the living room. Relief. The fly was a welcome find. That time.

P4261491

Cut to about 10 days later, and we have some sort of freakish fly infestation that induces seizure scares every 20 minutes. I blame that damn Irene. Bryson spends his days lounging around, then instantaneously leaping at the air, mouth agape, head flinging in every direction. He will come back to his senses, look around, then do it again. Most of the time, we find an actual culprit and swat it to a painful death. Or we try to with similar graceful agility, slicing the air with a dish towel or pot holder or piece of mail or, on one gloriously victorious occasion, a running shoe.

But this has made it extremely precarious to judge whether or not our dog is on the brink of a serious medical emergency or is just a moron. We always lean towards the latter. God love him.

DSCN6197

I wasn’t going to write about this because how could you know this is even true? Who has a sudden outbreak of disgusting flies at the same time their dog is supposed to not be biting at the air like an idiot? And, if that did happen, why on earth would you share that your house is a filthy sty with the internet?

I have no answers on those fronts. But I do have pictures! After a bazillion failed attempts at being smarter and faster than the flies, Bryson was able to inflict a near fatal injury on one. It was better for my photographic direction if I let the little booger flail around for awhile and keep BryseFace interested, rather than humanely putting it out of its misery. We all really, really hate the flies. And are inevitably carrying around some seriously funky diseases. Maybe Clayton will gorily morph into Jeff Goldblum soon.

P8312186

P8312187

 P8312192

So that’s the longest story of my dog, to date. I am so thankful it has a totally silly ending, and we have lots more days of smooching, photographing and making fun of Bryson ahead of us.

And we still have no idea what to do about those flies.

The longest story of my dog ever: Part 1

I know you think I’m exaggerating when I talk about my weird dog. Well, you’re wrong and I’m right. And that’s a snippet of what it’s like to be married to me.

Part 1, aka The Scary Part

A few weeks ago, our little Brysonator freaked my freak. He and I had just finished a little walk around the apartment complex, nothing intense, but it was really hot outside. My brief window of motivation always seems to coincide with the hottest part of the day, especially during this crazyhellhot summer when you’re supposed to sit inside in a tub of ice from 11 a.m. – 4 p.m. and try not to expend more than 35 calories an hour.

Bryson must take after his mama and possess the Incapable of Functioning in Temperatures Above 80 Degrees gene. He was wiped out when we got back to the apartment and plopped himself on the floor, panting away. I was getting ready to go to the fitness center and wasn’t paying too much attention to him, letting him get his mess together in peace. Then he threw up. Not all that out of the ordinary, considering every other weird ailment he’s contracted. I cleaned it up and, besides giving him a serious stink eye, I wasn’t concerned.

DSCN5801

He meandered into the kitchen and laid on the tile floor. When I went to put his bed in the kitchen–which is where he stays when he’s alone, as opposed to his preferred accommodation of hoisting his fat, smelly butt up on our bed or couch–I noticed that his right eye looked bloodshot. When I leaned in closer, I realized it looked bloodshot because it was completely rolled back up into his head.

Within half a second I had convinced myself not to:

1. die

2. cry

3. scream in terror

4. kiss it to make it better

I grabbed his chin and held his head right in front of my face to make sure I was seeing what I thought I was seeing. Sure enough, for those few seconds I stared at him, his right eye was almost completely back in his head, with only the white of his eye facing ahead. I was dumbstruck, so confused and scared that I wasn’t sure what to do next. Like all good parents who are destined to win shelves full of child-rearing awards, I googled.

And that proved utterly useless. It was a bunch of non-credible forums with “.net and .doggie” url’s that I wasn’t trusting with the welfare of my baby.

By the time I went back to attempt the “kiss it to make it better” approach, it was totally normal. And he was looking at me like, “What, weirdo? I’m trying to rock my cool down over here.” And I was all like, “YOUR FREAKING EYE WAS JUST LODGED INTO YOUR BRAIN, THAT’S WHAT, A-HOLE.” But he still seemed just peachy, albeit slightly annoyed at my intense stare half an inch from his cornea.

Here’s the part where I am really ashamed of myself and know that I’ll have to gracefully decline all those mothering trophies. I still went to the gym.

DSCN5832

I know, I know, I know!!! I’m terrible and awful and selfish and should never be allowed to have children. We all get it.

I felt so guilty from the visions of my sweet boy seizuring it up alone on the floor that I cut down my treadmill miles to 4, and ran home to check on Bryson at the halfway point. He was still playing it cool, staring at me like I was the nut job. Dude, your. eye. was. in. your. brain.

DSCN5813

Immediately after my run (trying to earn back some points here), I called the vet and explained what happened. The receptionist did nothing to ease my fears and said calmly, “I highly suggest you bring him in.”

That was enough to switch into panic mode. Coincidentally, Clayton arrived home as I was taking my 30 second shower, so after a breathless recounting of The Event, he came with us. We had to wait for over an hour since we didn’t have a scheduled appointment, and Bryson was completely normal the entire time. Pulling my arm out of socket to get to the piss-saturated grass at the vet’s office? Completely normal. Jumping up to put both of his front paws on top of the receptionist counter? Completely normal. Collapsing into a heaving, unhappy sigh when we didn’t let him sniff every hair on every other dog in the waiting room? Completely normal. Pitifully whining at regular intervals throughout the entire waiting process because it’s so unfair that he can’t play with that chihuahua with the broken leg? Yep, completely normal.

DSCN6040

It was comforting to see him acting like his typical, goofy self, even if it’s thoroughly embarrassing to claim such a spastic kid in public. When we finally met with the vet, she was perplexed. Per usual. She humored us—or her early retirement fund–with a physical exam. And, with all smiles, she talked in circles about how unusual this was in this breed at this age, blah, blah, blah. Then we got what we paid hundreds of dollars for: a diagnosis. After re-reading the framed diploma on the wall, we confirmed that the vet did, in fact, diagnose our dog as “Quirky.”

DSCN6049

Clayton and I looked at each other, stifling a mix of laughter and rage, with knowing expressions of The Doctor of Veterinary Medicine just gave us an official diagnosis of quirkiness.

We gave her furrowed eyebrows and twisted mouths in silence for a few seconds before thanking her and flicking her off behind her back. Bryson couldn’t have been more excited about his diagnosis and thought it warranted an infinite number of appreciative kisses for the vet and her assistant. Pansy.

DSCN6352

Looking back, though ridiculous, I think that’s probably the cheapest and easiest diagnosis we’ve ever received at the vet. Thankfully, it had nothing to do with surgery or lifelong medications or injecting our dog with a needle twice a month, like our previous appointments. It was just medical confirmation that our dog is so very, very strange. Actually, I can only talk about it now because, after several weeks, he does seem to be completely healthy and every bit as quirky.

Bryson Wilson car2

Then we went home, fed him lots of food and love, and let him sleep on our bed.

k-i-s-s-i-n-g

I’ll just say it: I’m an anxious mom. There is a list of Brysonified situations that make me incredibly nervous, and many of them involve other dogs. It seem like classic parental worry—I envision the absolute worst possible scenario and convince myself that is what is about to happen.

But, most of the time, my big galumph proves me so irrationally wrong and Clayton has yet another reason to roll his eyes at me and casually leave a prescription for more Valium taped to the refrigerator. It’s a delicate balance, our marriage.

I have a standing appointment on my trips to Tampa with my triathlete gazelle of a friend. I thought moving 800 miles away would diminish just a portion of my runner’s envy towards her, but no such luck. Anyway, her and her athletic domination got a puppy a few months ago, and she invited Bryson to join us on our lunch date this week. Enter maternal terror. I had nightmares of Bryson pinning this poor lab puppy to the ground and going for the jugular. And then I’d owe my friend whatever six-digit figure they’re charging for lab puppies these days.

But that made no sense. Bryson isn’t perfect, but he’s also never targeted a puppy’s jugular.

After a few days of internal battling, I just couldn’t stand to think of Bryson missing out on such a fun (i.e. energy-draining) afternoon, provided it didn’t turn into a bloodbath, nor could I deal with Clayton’s likely paternal response to his boy turning down out a sweet piece of girlpuppy tail.

Off we went to either seal the deal of this prearranged canine friendship or thoroughly destroy a perfectly good human relationship with doggy slaughter. In my head, it was a toss up.

In real life? Straight up, hard core puppy love. With beating hearts and chirping birds and slobbery pink tongue kisses in floppy ears. Hands down, one of the most adorable moments of my weird dog’s life. And, yet again, people got to look at me like, “And you thought what was going to happen, crazy lady?” And then I’m all, “Oh-my-gosh-look-at-those-wittle-puppy-faces-with-all-those-sweet-wittle-kisses-you’re-so-silly-huh-what-a-good-baby-yes-you-are-oh-such-a-wittle-doll-puppy,” etc., etc., etc.

bryson nava

bryson nava2

brsyon nava3

Yes, they are holding hands as she kisses his ear. Heavenly doggy romance – 1. Absurd fears – 0.

I wonder if she’d feel the same way about him if she watched him step in that giant pile of crap and then track it through my parents’ kitchen, down the hallway and into the bathtub. I know my feelings have changed slightly.

Road trip!

Hail to the heat and life-inhibiting humidity. We’re in Florida! We took full advantage of the easy week and headed south Wednesday night. His Highness refused to spend the better part of the evening in the backseat, so we had to stop for the night. Clayton and I were really cramped on the sleeper sofa.

P8102050

We made it to my parents’ house Thursday afternoon, welcomed by a handful of accidental excitement puddles from this guy:

P8112051

Just like their first week-long rendezvous, the long lost lovers frolic for about 15 minutes, and then both are spent for the next 2 hours. It’s heaven for those of us typically responsible for entertaining them. Bryson gets a million times the exercise and we feel zero of the guilt compared to leaving him at a kennel. It’s simple Parenting 101. Now, if someone knows anything about removing hotnasty putrid dog breath from the fabric of auto interiors, I’m all ears.

The excitement and alligator-force tail wagging, plus the clumsiness of uncontrollable pups on tile and hardwood—though hilarious–is a bit precarious for inside my parents’ house, so we took the kids to play. Best. Night. Ever.

bryson wilson field

photo

The weekend is already full of fun catch-ups and birthday celebrations. I hear there’s a rumor going around that I’m planning a big pregnancy announcement at the family party on Saturday. A girl can’t just have a birthday around here? It should be really disappointing for everyone when I announce the only thing I’m expecting is to eat four pieces of ice cream cake.

In the meantime, here’s some more cute.

bryson wilson

Sassy and Stylish

Out of the blue, Bryson came up to us the other day and expressed a desire he’s had for awhile now*. He said he’d given it a lot of thought and had carefully considered all of his options. His conclusion? He was ready to upgrade from the naked look. The green collar with white paw prints, while classic, was just not fashion-forward enough for him.

Because we’re fantastic parents, we listened, nibbled on his ear and granted his wish. It’s pretty clear we hit it out of the park.

P8041994

We matched his rich skin tone to the blinding hot pink to really make both colors pop. We learned on plenty of style shows that clothes should be specifically tailored for your body type, so Clayton used some medical scissors to cut off the sleeves, and voila! It’s Douchebag Chic. It finally made it all the way from the Jersey Shore down to our neck of the woods.

bryson tableWe’re thinking that tomorrow we’ll take him to the gym so he can stand six inches from the mirror doing bicep curls with a dumbbell that is 20 pounds too heavy for him while grunting so loud the room shakes. Then we’ll head out to stock up on pastel polo shirts with the collars pre-popped. So, yeah, our schedule’s pretty full.

This was his response when we asked him to cut back on all that tanning.

P8041995Seriously, it’s like one kickin’ outfit and we have a celebutante on our hands.

*I cannot confirm or deny this actually happened. I can confirm that Bryson’s overwhelming allergies have caused him to scratch uncontrollably for the past three weeks and consequently lose patches of hair from his body. Because we’re realistic and know that good looks account for 75% of life success, we had to put an end to that. I also wanted to finally justify the $40 doggie skin cream the vet dermatologist talked me into buying. The shirt discourages the scratching and the licking of expensive skin care treatments. While it might not be easy on the eyes, it’s certainly preferable to a cone around his head. 

Bryson + Steroids = BFF4LIFE

In case I haven’t mentioned it in the last hour, my dog is a medical mystery. About a year into his awkward life, he broke out in full body hives. He has since seen three vets and one animal dermatologist (yes, they exist, and just like human medical specialists, they ask the same questions and charge twice as much). And we still don’t have a concrete answer as to what exactly he is allergic to. But boy do we know “he’s really allergic!” Thanks doc.

Every few weeks for about six months he would break out in hives. Really, really intense hives that would get infected and smell super yummy. The routine was the same every time: sicknasty allergic reaction, vet shakes head and reminds us that this is definitely an allergic reaction, steroid injection, directions to give Bryson 5 Benadryl tablets every 19 seconds for the rest of his life and “that will be $more money than you paid for college tuition.” It was a frustrating and expensive cycle.

Bryson's Medicine Cabinet

The dermatologist started us on allergy injections. Meaning every few days we my husband fills a syringe with what we assume is a magical cocktail of pollen particles and cockroach feces, squeezes his sweet puppy skin folds and shoots our snugly dog with a long, sharp needle. We realized that giving him slice after slice of cheddar cheese eases our guilt and makes him pretty eager to get punctured like a lab rat.

The allergy shots can take up to a year and a half to work, so in the meantime we have to keep him on low doses of steroids, which counteract his allergic symptoms. It’s a trade-off, and we only plan to keep him on the meds short term. We had finally weaned down to a very low dose of steroids that had no noticeable side effects. But, right on schedule, the weather changed, a butterfly flapped its wings and Bryson blew up in the worst allergic reaction to date.

The vet was as helpful as ever, assuring us that this “was definitely an allergic reaction and I hope you have some distant relative about to kick the bucket and leave his million dollar estate to you so that you can afford this visit.” The typical routine followed, except that in addition to the usual steroid injection, Bryson also got shot up with a big-dog dose of Benadryl.

The last few days have been reminiscent of Bryson’s high-maintenance puppyhood in terms of attention and effort required to keep our furniture and sanity in tact. Except that now he weighs 88 pounds. So scooping him up and tossing him out the door any time a pre-pee whimper is heard is no longer an option.

The side effects of the steroids are increased thirst and, naturally, increased urination. I don’t know if the pharmaceutical professionals have actually looked up the definition of “increased.” The warning “may cause AN UNPRECEDENTED AMOUNT OF THIRST and AN INSANE NEVERENDING URINE STREAM” would have been more appropriate.

Puppy puddles we could handle. Waking up to a raging river of Bryson piss flooding the kitchen is a bit more challenging and requires several dozen more towels. He takes down his entire 1.5 gallon water jug in one day, a feat that used to take at least three days. And while my Mama Hen gene just wants to pick him up and say how sorry I am that baby has to potty so much while nibbling on his floppy ear, dude’s 88 pounds. So I just sit in the corner crying as I stare at him. He repositions himself so that he doesn’t have to look at me. Oh, and the last time we had to up the steroid dose, he gained 10 pounds and probably an eating disorder.

The steroid/Benadryl combo has totally screwed with his energy level and personality. I’m not sure if he’s peeing all over the house because he can’t hold it or because he’s too sleepy to actually get up. Either way, I can’t wait until my big boy is back to his goofy, galloping self.

"I intend to pee straight through this cheap fabric. Without blinking an eye."

Untold Stories

I only agreed because I didn’t think we’d be allowed to proceed. But oh, did that desk clerk at Sandy Bottom Nature Park throw me for a loop with her “sure you can take pets on the boats!” I faked a pleasant reaction and paid the woman.

My husband likes to think that we can read each other’s minds. I mean, I’m pretty dead-on when I do it, but him? Lacking. So, while I was in charge of compiling research and data, delivering payment, plotting the course and acquiring the key, two life jackets and two paddles, Clayton was in charge of watching our dog. Not moving, just watching. I came through splendidly with my portion and teetered my way down the sidewalk to our former picnic table with paddles smacking and life jackets dragging along the ground, nearly toppling over with every step. And my husband was missing.

After two different strangers mockingly noted and gestured that “the canoes are that way,” I was ready to file for divorce and fight for sole custody of B-dizzle. But then the boys appeared, looking all too “this is going to be awesome!” to my “what the hell, Clayton?”

We arrive at the canoes to find The World’s Largest Great Dane, who was just itchin’ to meet our family of three. Looked like he was going to get his wish when we saw he was being detained by an 80-pound owner who was almost hurled backwards over the bench when the great dane raised his eyebrows. We were not as obliged. Dude was skurry looking. (I know, I’m a hypocrite.)

The kind dane owner must have sympathized with our darting eyes, furiously trying to recalculate our path to the canoes, and pulled the 489-pound pup further down the trail. We could exhale. For about a half a second.

The canoes were ginormous and, as Clayton and I long ago retired our Strong Man hopes, getting that boat into the water was going to require all hands on deck. Not three hands on deck while one hand wrestled a stubborn, sand-sniffing Bryson. Thankfully, the easiest part of the whole ordeal turned out to be tying Bryson to the canoe rack and letting him entertain himself while we finagled the canoe up, over and down onto the ground. Thank you, two years working as a personal trainer. (And thank you husband/orthopedic PA who will soon be treating my torn rotator cuff.)

Bryson had sufficiently covered every hair on his body with muddy sand in the two minutes it took for us to move the canoe. I guess he’s good at some things.

About a million “Come on’s,” “Up, up, up’s,” and “Good boy’s!” later, Bryson goofily half stepped/half-tripped INTO THE CANOE. Terrified. Antsy. Distraught. But all four legs were touching the boat bottom. From that point on, my entire mission in life was to keep Bryson IN THE BOAT. Using a stealthy combination of power-locked thighs around B’s torso, a death grip on his collar and a seriously stern Mother of All Punishment (MoAP) voice, I got him to obey me about 40% of the time.

Clayton gave us a push and then hopped in to fulfill his role of all-time-rower. Don’t feel bad. 1) He liked outrageously dramatizing the effort to make his biceps pop and 2) you try being all-time-disciplinarian to a mischievous 109-pound, curious canine canoe virgin. Thought so.

The first few minutes dawdling away from the shore were the most precarious of the day. Bryson was throwing around his boat-shifting weight from lying down to sitting to standing to streeeeetching out along the entire length of the boat. Every movement tilted the canoe in a time-freezing, this is it, iceberg ahead! dangerously off-center way. I was positive I was swimming home.

It was so entertaining, in fact, a darling spectator was not shy about gaping at our efforts from the moment we put the boat in the water. Last I checked, I hadn’t signed a reality show deal with Bravo, so dude needed to either lend a hand or move it on down the road. Instead, when we had floated a bit out of eyesight, Creepsy McGee stands up, moves to a better vantage point and stares at us. I suppose, like me, he saw the future You-Tube video in the making.

There was a brief span when Bryson calmed down enough for us to actually enjoy the ride. And that’s when Clayton took a detour from the shimmering, inviting lake and headed under a bridge into the sewage inlet. It took a good stern MoAP “suggestion” to get that boat turned back around and my dry heaving under control.

When B-dog had accepted his motionless, prostrate fate of not being able to see or sniff anything but the sides of the canoe, I think he really developed a passion for boating. Or just didn’t throw up on my Rainbows. Same diff. And then we snapped these little mementos, one of which was posted on Facebook for the distinct purpose of making my dog appear adorable and not life-endangering.

The Meet and Greet

Oh, my big, gangly dog. He’s turned into a playful, excitable load of people and dog-friendly fun (unless you ask that one Verizon installation tech who was looking at him in all kinds of the wrong way and whose story we’ll save for a different day). But he’s awfully scary looking. I would certainly keep my distance if I hadn’t seen the way he darts into the house when the wind blows a leaf out of place. He’s tall and lanky and still hasn’t figured out how to move his body with any kind of agility. He faceplants daily; Clayton and I taunt him for it.

One of the main reasons that having a big dog made sense for us was that we are pretty active, and when we’re not, we thought those big brown eyes would guilt us into getting out and being active. And it worked. With Clayton’s long hours, I am Bryson Entertainer Extraordinaire. I have a handful of parks and trails that I prefer, and they’re all usually populated with other people and other dogs.

Bryson has not mastered how to calmly approach another canine. He has mastered giving himself an asthma attack, tearing my shoulder out of its socket and terrifying other dog owners with his excitement over sniffing that new butt. As soon as he sees another dog, boyfriend will lower his head–a sign of submission, I hear, but looks like he’s hunting his next meal–and zero in on this New Best Friend. I try to correct him with the leash, but he’s so completely fixated (a big fat no-no in Dog Whisperer land), nothing seems to work. As we get closer, the other dog owners always react the same way. Their forearms flex so hard I can see the muscles straining. They pull their dog’s leash tighter so the pooch is really close to them, especially if it’s a tiny dog. And they stare. They stare right at my harmless, lovable boy like he’s a ferocious beast, not even trying to hide the terror and judgement in their eyes. And of course B-money pulls toward the other dog even harder like it’s a really fun game we’ve all just now invented in which licking that dog’s nose is certain victory, which makes them flinch or walk completely off the path to avoid us. But he just wants to PLAY! Then I smile. Like, Hollywood style. As in, my dog could eat your dog in one bite, but he absolutely won’t because he’s crazy friendly and don’t you feel like a tool now that we’ve passed and your shi-poo was the one yapping like a maniac. You know, one of THOSE smiles.

All that to say, I was very curious about how a recent trip to Tampa was going to play out considering the recent arrival of this furry nugget into my parents’ lives. Meet Wilson:

To answer your questions, yes, that is the second cutest puppy of all time and no, he did not file a restraining order from my snuggles by the time I left.

Anyway, B-dizzle shared a living space with him for about 10 days. Which, in dog years, I’m pretty confident equates to eternity and forever for all of time. The night I arrived, Bryson and I had been in the car for 13 hours. Dude was pent up. And then out of the house comes the Wilson-ator. All aglow from the porch light looking like Bryson had died and gone to whatever dog heaven is waiting for him, where he is allowed to just throw himself out of back seats and onto the unsuspecting fuzzy forehead of 3-month old puppy friends. He was out of control, in every way, and terrified the little guy. Cut to several walks, controlled meetings and forced nether-region-sniffing later, and we have two of the most adorable besties you’ve ever seen. They played around outside for hours at a time, rolling around in the dirt without a care in the world, never wanting to leave each other. And when we took them to the park, they were in sweet, kissy love in the car. Lookie:

I just really needed to talk about how good Bryson can be sometimes. Because it’s easy to forget when he’s growling at a squirrel for 15 straight minutes or tripping me as I’m trying to cut down my 3-mile pace or throwing up right at the exact moment I’ve found the idea for that tag line.

And, well, mainly just to say I told you my dog would not eat your puppy, Mom.