Monday, November 19, 2007

If You Knew Suzy Like I Know Suzy

Well, we have a little visitor for a while. A little creature who does not like to pee on anything other than grass, and who mostly refuses to eat her food. A little creature who obsessively licks people and follows me into the bathroom. A little creature who cries when left alone, and is still learning to stay out of the kitchen. A little creature who will go nutso when she sees a slice of cheese.

A few weeks ago, I responded to an ad on Craigslist asking for a foster home for a 10-pound Chihuahua/Dachshund/Spaniel mix named Suzy. (Picture a Golden Retriever shrunk to 10 pounds and stretched a bit long.) The owner, a single woman in her thirties, said Suzy had separation anxiety and doubted whether I'd want to take on another separation anxiety case after I told her about having dealt with the separation anxiety of my Golden Retriever, Brody, back in 2004. Nonetheless, I said I would still be interested in meeting her and the doggie, so the kiddo and I met her and Suzy at Starbucks and we all hit it off tremendously. Turns out Suzy's owner is pregnant and single, and was working two jobs to prepare for maternity leave next year. Her schedule was such that she just didn't have time to spend with Suzy, and Suzy's crying was driving her roommate crazy.

Of course, I have plenty of experience in dealing with pregnancy while in a tumultuous relationship with the baby's dad, and I have plenty of experience with single motherhood and custody litigation (ahem), so we had a very full conversation and left feeling like it was fated for us to meet. A few days later, Suzy's owner brought the doggie over to sniff around my house and check it out. While Suzy explored and hung around for lots of skritchy-skratchies, her owner and I talked more about what she might be up against as a single mom. She said her family was urging her to move back home to the East Coast.

A few days after that, she called and said she'd decided to move back home, but that her family definitely did not want the dog around. Actually, it was her brother-in-law who told her not to bring the dog because "people get attached to animals and then the animals die and break your heart." Okay, I'm paraphrasing, but that was the reason he gave. Bottom line: Suzy needed a home.

Suzy's owner is still very attached to her and is considering looking for her own apartment when she gets back home this week, but she brought over all of Suzy's things (car seat, crate, bed, bowls, harness/leash), food, treats, flea medicine, shampoo, anti-anxiety meds and a few other things. The girl is equipped.

So far, Suzy is adjusting fairly well to being here. She follows me everywhere, hops onto my chest when I'm lying on the couch, licks my neck and hands until I can't stand it, cries just like a baby when I leave (honestly, you'd think we had a baby or a cat in here), and can't figure out that I want her to pee when I take her downstairs to the patch of dirt/ivy under the deck. She also keeps me from feeling too lonely when my son is at his dad's house for long weekends.

There's a slight chance that Suzy will eventually return to her owner sometime, but judging by the way Suzy's owner hugged me and thanked my for looking after her precious girl, I think we may have inherited a dog. That's okay with me. Between Suzy and the kiddo being home today, the house has a good energy. Over the weekend, when my son was at his dad's, I was a lot less lonely and anxious. (And I know anxiety -- a subject for a later post.)

I think Suzy is helping me as much as I'm helping her.