Guest Blog by Claire Methvin : Kickoff

I always said I would never do one of these vile things – blogs.  It took me so long just to figure out what a blog was!  However, something has got to get me writing again, so why can’t it be something low-key like this?  Sitting with my Word open, staring at a blank page isn’t exactly lighting the spark.  So here goes…a foray into blogging…

After years of longing for a furry friend in a college apartment complex that commanded I live without, I finally got my wish in January.  Will and I had just moved to Nashville, and he knew he would be moved to night shift after finishing training at his new job.  I told him that I needed a toy poodle like my baby brother, Atticus Finch, who is a most sensitive and sweet little man.  Little did I know that the stork would deliver an XXL version of my dream lap dog.  I had made Will promise to never give me a dog as a present – that we would go into the adoption process together.  But my fiance’s enthusiasm erased his memory and led him to hand me a Christmas bag with a collar and a photo of my soon-to-be child.  Of course, he was adorable.  Problem was, I soon got the enthusiastic itch myself.

Arlo was only 6 weeks when his parents begged us to come get him.  He had eight puppy brothers and sisters and four very young human siblings.  The owners were overwhelmed.  They met my pleas of, “Please, don’t make me take him while he’s still in such an important developmental stage!” with “We’ll give you the one you’re holding if you’ll just take him today.  Then they can develop together!”

Thus did the ball of cotton-y white fluff in my arms come to be my child, as well.

Will and I stole glances at each other the whole way home, laughing and cackling at our uncharacteristic spontaneity.  This was truly unlike me, especially.  But we had her named Sissy before we pulled in the driveway, and we zipped her and her brother into Will’s jacket so that he could showcase a surprise delivery to my family.  His pregnant belly and furrball children yielded glass-shattering screams and hours of musical laps, ending the beginning of the Arlo and Sissy story.  Fast forward a few weeks and you see me, haggard, replacing piddle pads every few seconds and corralling two frantic puppies around on my glamorous, wall-to-wall carpeted apartment, luring them with promises of benadryl.

typical playtime antics

I begged.  I pleaded.  “Please sleep for Mommy.  Mommy loves it when you sleep!”

I called Will at work, “Would you bring some small corks home when you get off?  Or maybe some diapers?  Dear god, what were we thinking agreeing to two dogs in this little apartment?!?!”

All the research I read told me that large breed poodles can’t control their bladders until they’re 6 months.  SIX MONTHS.  I tried hard not to cry.  The “outside every 30 minutes” rule didn’t apply to me.  My dogs peed as frequently as they walked, leading me to dub them “Drizzle Demons” for their first couple of months.  But boy they were sweet, and when 9:00 rolled around every night, they were docile as lambs.  And not because of benadryl, mind you.  I never really drugged my dogs.  I just provided them with hours of entertainment with a cheap and safe toy – bubbles.

Bubbles.  They go ape shit for bubbles.  And it required little energy on my part to keep them happy.  Oh, happy, glorious day when first I discovered bubbles.

In the meantime, Sissy and Arlo were no cheap dates.  After shots, $600+ apartment fees, and a $350 emergency vet visit the night Sissy had a terrible reaction to dog biscuits, we were really feeling the new additions to the family.  My car savings had dipped down dramatically, and the piddle pads were still needed every week.  Then suddenly at 5 months old, like a timer, they were housebroken.  My efforts paid off.  The leash training got easier.  They wanted to learn more tricks.  They gained about 25 pounds of lovable, cuddly mass and mellowed enough that I felt sane again.

Come Monday, the vet will see them one more time this year to help me guarantee that we don’t have any little inbred poodles further demolishing the apartment.  For tonight, though, it’s time for our nightly brushing and then bedtime, where I’ll once again nod off to the sensation of two enormous, curly-haired heaters suctioned to my legs.  And I’ll know that, as a parent, I’m not sucking all that much.

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