Tag Archives: my dog is odd

Three’s Company

It was sayonara to the southernmost non-Southern state yesterday, and I returned to Virginia last night.

How else would we commemorate something?

Sunday night, we celebrated/mourned addict-style and introduced my curious mother and father to the world of pay-by-weight frozen yogurt shops. I was slightly disappointed with my $5.89 performance and realized I really thrive on the competition element involved when Clayton accompanies me. If my bucket of yogurt does not cost at least 40% more than his, I’ve utterly failed. Without the comparison, the motivation for topping delirium just wasn’t there.

But I still gave it a pretty good whirl. And, after a little pep talk, the folks got the hang of it. I wondered aloud what the heck my mom was waiting for with the Land O’ Chocolate laid out before her and she looked at me sheepishly and responded, “I’m trying to be healthy.” Ha, I say to that. And then I remember something like physically placing my mom’s hand on the spoon stuck in the Snickers bowl. I genuinely believe opting for fro-yo over ice cream builds up a credit of 1500 healthy points to begin with. Then it’s a virtual free-for-all just to break even. You seem confused. Maybe I’ll explain it all in a pamphlet or something.

The drive. Oh, the drive.

Sucks. That’s what that drive does. Thankfully, when I have clear skies I can stay on the “happy-to-be-scootin’ along” side of the spectrum, which is far, far away from the “OMG-I’m-just-going-to-pull-over-at-this-truck-stop-and-see-if-they’ll-give-me-a-room-for-the-night-and-how-much-they-charge-for-dogs” end of the spectrum. Trust me, those showers are not for the faint of heart.

The only notable incident involved a chicken sandwich and honey mustard situation. Good thing I decided to sit alone in Zaxby’s and eat lunch safely stationary and within arm’s reach of an endless supply of napkins. Or, I was driving with my pinky nail at 70 mph trying to dislodge dripping honey mustard from in between my wedding band and engagement ring. Yeah, it was definitely one of those two scenarios. Still, it didn’t impress the passengers very much.

bryson car sleep

“We’re back. In Newport News. Again.”

“At least we’re out of the car.”

If you can name where I borrowed the major themes of that quote, we should be BFFsies if we’re not already.

You should also know that my husband is more thoughtful than yours and he crafted a welcome home sign for me out of expertly selected printer paper, ink pens and highlighters. There were also flowers, in addition to a feast for dinner and brownies for dessert. So, for serious, your husband probably needs to take a class or something.

P8222135It was extremely helpful in reminding me that we are here. In this moment, we exist in this space, in this city. We can dream and plan and connive and search, but today we live here. I don’t have to call it home, but I must submit to feeling at home with my husband, wherever that might be. The future waits, but I have to see what is in front of me today. And if I’m honest with myself, I’ve got a pretty sweet view.

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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.

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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."

A Quarter of a Century

There hasn’t been a whole lot of free time to blog in my schedule these days. The new puppy has completely ransacked my former routine (not to mention one rug and a few socks) and requires attention almost every minute that I’m home. I knew he was going to be a lot of work, but this has been a whirlwind, to say the least. Clayton has been so busy with his new clinical rotation that he hasn’t been able to help out very much. This means the 3am potty break is all up to me, along with the majority of the other 47 potty breaks and 12 carpet clean-ups throughout the day. I’m also having to schedule an hour during work to run home and let him out. This has probably been the most stressful part of all. One hour is barely enough time to take care of everything I have to do for him and me and then make it back to work on time. If there was any possible way I could downgrade to part time for the next several weeks, I would do it without hesitation. I am so scared of screwing something up in these crucial first weeks and ending up with a psycho dog that scares people away from hanging out with us.

Here’s a more detailed summary of the last three weeks with Bryson Noa:
Rugs destroyed: 1
Pants peed on: 2 (Luckily they were on the floor, not on my person.)
Pieces of poop mistakenly picked up with bare hand when I thought said hand was safely behind plastic bag: 2
Numer of times hands have been washed: 372
Number of times I’ve stolen some lotion from the physical therapy rooms at work to cover dry skin from insane hand washing: 5
Number of days I arrived late to work during the first week of parenthood: 5
Number of days I arrived late to work since the first week: 5
Number of times I cried on the way back to work after my hour break: 2
Number of times I cried at work because I wasn’t able to get home within Bryson’s scheduled lunch time and was afraid I was throwing off his fragile routine: 1
Number of times I arrived home to find Bryson outside of his crate standing in a puddle of his own pee: 2
Number of toys Bryson has gotten bored with: 7
Number of “toys” Bryson has not gotten bored with: 10 (my fingers)
Number of times I have shaken his skin folds and told him he was the cutest puppy ever and all the other puppies were jealous of him: 35
Number of times I’ve melted when he wakes up and yawns with that high-pitched squeaking noise: 63
Number of times I’ve stared at him asleep and forced Clayton to come stare at him with me: 3
Number of times Clayton has asked me if we were about to be hit by a car, would I save him or Bryson: 1
Number of times I hesitated to answer: 1

I really do love him so so much.

On top of the puppy madness, Clayton’s birthday is today! He is a whopping 25 years old (but can still pass for 18 when he is clean shaven). We are celebrating tonight at P.F. Chang’s with a possible surprise after-party with a few friends and a chocolate peanut butter cake. I hope he is able to relax, if only for a few hours. Last night I brought home a pre-birthday surprise of York Peppermint Patties and a 6-pack of Newcastle. Sorry boys, I’m taken.

I really do love him so so so much. And just for his birthday, of course I would save him from that car. But he would owe me three more puppies in return.