Thursday, November 18, 2004

Doggie Dreams

Last night I got a call from the woman who has bought Brody's huge crate. She's a friend of one of my sister's church members, and has already sent me a check. All that remains is for her to pick up the crate and take it away. We made arrangements for her to come on Monday; I'll show her how the thing comes apart, and help her put it into her car.

The crate has been sitting in my garage ever since we had to find a new home for Brody. I tried several times to sell the crate on Craigslist, but the one person who actually showed up owned a huge puppy that would eventually grow to be too large for the crate. Finally, while preparing for a rummage sale at my sister's church, one of the members mentioned that her friend was looking for a crate. I got in touch with the friend, learned she was moving to Italy with her two large dogs, and we struck our deal.

As you can probably guess by looking at the photo here, Brody was a sweetie-pie. When the rep. from the rescue organization first brought him over to our house so we could meet, my son rolled Hotwheels cars on the dog's back and the dog never so much as blinked. That's when I fell in love with him. Back then I thought my son's dad still wanted to try to be a family with us, and when he said, "Get a big dog, so I'll have something to do with it," I did, partly because I'd always liked Golden Retrievers, and partly because I thought my son's dad would interpret my getting a small dog, like I'd initially wanted, as some kind of evidence that I didn't care about his preferences. Yes, that's where my head was back then, and it sounds awful to me now, the idea of going against my own preferences just to try to please my son's dad so he'd maybe want to work things out, but I was willing to try just about anything to give our son an intact family. It seemed worthwhile at the time, but if I'd known the way things would turn out -- that my son's dad was actually dating someone else already (or getting ready to) -- I would have done things differently.

Anyway, it later became apparent that Brody absolutely could not tolerate being left at home alone. The rescue rep. had recommended that we get him a crate -- that this would somehow make him feel secure. Nope. If anything, the crate made him freak out even more. Drugs didn't ease his distress, nor did gradual behavior modification. My son and I wound up just taking Brody everywhere with us. The weather was still nice and cool, so having Brody wait in the car with the windows opened a bit was entirely comfortable, temperature-wise. However, even though I gave him treats every time I left the car, Brody still flipped out when I left him alone even for an hour. One time, he scratched at the window frame so much that he finally broke off a huge section of plastic trim. Poor thing.

When my son's dad decided to take me to court over custody, etc., I realized I'd have to focus on the legal battle and let the rescue organization find another home for Brody. I was sad to lose the dog, and yet I was relieved -- for my sake and for his. The rescue organization, using my observations of Brody as a guide, found Brody a home in which he could hang out with a Labrador buddy, with a stay-at-home mom and a couple of kids...and a back yard! The doggie hit the jackpot on that one, I think.

Now that the Court Order has been finalized (after about eight months of aggravation, tears and craziness), and now that the weather is starting to feel like the weather around the time we first invited Brody into our home, I'm starting to miss him a bit. Don't get me wrong -- I don't miss trying to help him cope with his separation anxiety. I do, however, miss having him lie behind my chair as I work on the computer, and I miss having him around on weekends when my son is visiting his dad. Having a living creature around the house on weekends sure made my talking to myself seem less nuts. ;-)

I'm realistic, though, and I know we don't need to take on a pet right now. My focus is on my son and on finding work. I do tell my son that when he's at least seven years old, we'll try to find another dog -- a small, well-adjusted dog. I love having animals around. For a while, I considered getting some hermit crabs for my son, or a bird for me. Nonetheless, I keep coming back to the feeling of not being settled enough yet to be able to focus on caring for a pet.

Someday, though...