One would think with a relatively small yard, nine pecan trees and my propensity for bizarre thought, I would have no need, room or want of another off the charts character of a being living in my house. Well someone needs to whisper those words to my miniature, dappled, dachshund, Patches, because he makes a crack head seem calm and Charlie Sheen sound lucid. Let there be no misunderstanding here, I adore Patches but truth is truth and I have always been one to see my children in the light in which they stand.
Harold took a trip south to the coast this past week. He wanted to do some fishing, go see his sisters, check on our son, Shawn, who’d had surgery and try out a new instant tent I’d bought him. The drama started when Harold thought about packing. I swear Patches started getting agitated when he saw Harold on the couch making a list of things he wanted to bring and making trips back and forth from room to room. The sound of Patches’ nails clicking on the hardwoods made me want to pull all Harold’s hair out but that would have taken only one pull and not assuaged my frustration. Of course, when Patches’ gets stressed, he drops hair like he is sitting in the barber’s chair and Edward Scissor’s Hands is flailing away at his body so I could just have swept up and knitted Harold a new rug for his head!
The look on our poor puppy’s face when the day came for Harold to leave was a cross between excitement and fear. He would go to the front door and dance in circles hoping one of us would let him out onto the porch, put his leash on and take him out to the truck and whisk him away for the long trip. Then there was the other side of him that did not see me packing anything or getting ready. Patches loves me but I am not his person of preference. When he didn’t think I was looking, he would shoot me white eyed side glances that if words were attached would say…"Woman, I swear, if this man leaves and I am not on the other end of a leash with him, you are sure going to wish I had been!"
Prying a fourteen pound dachshund away from anything doesn’t sound like it should be a difficult task but do not fool yourself…it is like trying to get an anvil out of a two inch opening using just your pinky finger. Furthermore, give that anvil a brain, teeth, major attitude, hurt feelings and you now have Patches after he has not gotten something he has wanted. After four hours of pacing the floors and looking out windows waiting for the sound of the truck to return, I felt a paw, a cold nose and saw big lonely eyes looking at me and I knew Phase II had begun.
When dealing with a neurotic, anger cannot be an option. Let’s face it, I could no more be the bad guy with Patches if it was written into a movie script and I was paid to do it! What is worse, that low slung, barrel chested, squirrel chasing, manipulative little Prozac needing dog, knows it! The first night Harold was gone was spent with Patches running up and down the hall asking for space on my mattress, although he had been sleeping in his own bed every night for well over a year! I spent every day for the rest of Harold’s six day trip with Patches either on my lap, walking him, feeding him, letting him out to chase squirrels or making sure he was comfortable. I bought him a new collar, played with him, talked to him, encouraged him and was careful not to say the word "daddy" because then he would have planted himself by the back fence and not moved until Harold actually appeared in front of him.
The moment Harold walked through the door, I no longer had a lap, Patches could have cared less if I slept on a bed or a rack of nails and food?, who cared about food…daddy was home! I was watching him turn himself almost inside out with excitement. He jumped on the couch and wrapped himself around Harold’s neck and literally was hugging him to death. It dawned on me, those things one ignores rather than dotes on are the things that covet your attention the most. Patches is definitely a dog with issues but perhaps what I do feeds them rather than helps …hmm…maybe you can teach an old dog new tricks and maybe it is time this old dog learned. Love you all with all my heart but if I enable your issues, please find another babysitter I am worn out, all out of treats, and I am off to find a pet that likes me…I am thinking a pet rock!