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Sad story time, guys. But I’ll try to make it a little funny.

As you may know, I work from home, and I have two desks set up in my office because I’m greedy. Just kidding. It’s because I work on two different laptops for two different clients throughout the day, and it’s just easier to keep them both set up. I walk back and forth between the desks quite a bit, and Hobbes’ bed is next to one desk. He likes to sleep next to me while I work, and he was used to my routine.

Then a week and a half ago, I walked past him from one desk to the other while he was sleeping and must have startled him. He woke up and bit my foot VERY badly, shaking it from side to side. I screamed (because it hurt like mad and was very shocking, obviously) and fell, which was bad, since Hobbes was between me and the door to the office, and I was afraid he would continue to attack. But he let go and was immediately horrified at what he had done. We stared at each other in amazement. I called the Hubs, very shaky, and he immediately left work to come home. In the meantime, I had a bloody and very painful foot, so I hopped to the bathroom to wash it off a bit. It was already starting to swell, so then I started to hop to the freezer to get ice. And promptly passed out, smacking my face on the kitchen table. It was that kind of day. I gave up on the ice, installed myself on the couch, and pet Hobbes, who wouldn’t leave my side and kept resting his chin on my stomach and apologizing with kisses. He clearly knew he had done A Very Bad Thing.

The Hubs did a great job of first aid, and we tried to put our day back together. Of course, we were supposed to have house guests arriving in a few hours from California, because it was that kind of day. I hadn’t been able to clean as I’d intended, so the guests got to experience a pretty grungy bathroom for the four days they were here, but they were very sweet and helped a lot around the house since I couldn’t walk at all.

Later, we were in the urgent care waiting room, patiently awaiting my (long overdue anyway) tetanus shot, and the place had horrible daytime television on, as those places do. Suddenly that guy with the daytime television announcer voice (Is it the same man who does all of those shows? Is imitating that style of talking a job requirement?) transitioned to a new show and said: “Next up: when the family pet turns into a vicious attacker!” Cut to a woman tearfully describing her experience: “I could hear my bones breaking, and I thought I was going to die!” I’m sure the people in the waiting room wondered why the Hubs and I found that so funny. I did ask Ross to change the channel to some other awful daytime television show, though, because that was just a little too on the nose.

In the end, I had a messed-up ankle from Hobbes shaking it, half a dozen deep puncture wounds, some very impressive bruising, and a split lip (from that dratted table). I’ve not been able to walk for the last week and a half and will be off the foot for another week or so. We had some very serious conversations about what to do with Hobbes. Logistically, I couldn’t walk or care for Hobbes (he’s a big, high-energy dog) while on crutches, but more than that, I felt like we couldn’t trust him. Granted, he had apparently been startled, but I hadn’t made a loud noise or touched him or even come very close. What if a guest or a child startled him? If his go-to reaction when surprised is a vicious bite, we could never have him around other people again.

We hated to do it, but we took him back to the SPCA. Both Ross and I were crying and a complete mess (especially me). It’s amazing how fast you can get attached to a dog. Hobbes is in bite quarantine for ten days, and after that the SPCA’s behaviorist will evaluate him to see whether he can be adopted out to a different owner under special circumstances (perhaps as an outdoor dog).

We would love to try again and adopt another dog, but we have to wait until I heal up, and until we both feel emotionally ready to get attached all over again. In the meantime, I’m getting good at hopping on one leg and at propelling myself around the house in a wheeled computer chair, so at least there’s that.

 

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We finally have a dog! The Hubs has been wanting one for ages, but there was the master’s degree, and buying the house, and being so ridiculously busy that I wanted to scream, and all that got in the way. I still have some major reservations about bringing another source of stress into our already stressful, overbooked life, but we finally took the plunge anyway.

August 19th was Clear the Shelters day here in North Carolina, which is a really cool program in which participating shelters waive adoption fees for a day in an effort to get all of the animals adopted. We went to the Wake County Animal Shelter to see if there were any pups who were a good fit for us, but by the time we got there, there were only a couple dogs left and a long line of people. We weren’t wild about any of the available dogs, so we hit up the Wake County SPCA next. Again, a long line of people snaked outside the building, and there were only a few dogs left. We decided to chance it. After waiting outside for over an hour, we made our way inside and met a few of the available dogs.

I should preface this by saying I was hoping for a quiet, boring, older dog who was perfectly housebroken and who would sleep peacefully beside me while I worked during the day.

Instead, we adopted a bounding, bouncing, four-year-old who leaped on people constantly and wasn’t terribly house-trained.

Hobbes

Meet Hobbes, an utterly irrepressible mix of who-knows-what breeds, the energy of a toddler, and goofy sweetness.

We weren’t actually able to pick him up until August 29th because he had repeatedly torn open his stitches from his neutering surgery and was in recovery for far longer than he should’ve been, because he’s totally the kind of dog to worm his way out of a cone and destroy himself at every opportunity.

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He wore that cone so darned long I considered naming him Pixar, but we decided instead to go with Hobbes from the Calvin and Hobbes comic strip, since he has the brindle coloring. (Definitely not because he’s philosophical, that’s for sure!)

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Do not be fooled by that seemingly sad face; his tail was going the whole time we were visiting him.

When we finally brought him home, he grabbed the stuffed hedgehog I had bought him and gently held it for at least fifteen minutes while he explored the house.

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This is about the only mostly non-blurry photo I had of that since he basically never stops flinging himself around excitedly.

I admit, I was tempted to throw in the towel on our first day. In spite of many, many long walks and runs, he was a maniacal wild child. This was problematic since I work from home and had a slew of urgent things that HAD to be done that day, as well as conference calls to attend, which is difficult when a big dog is hurling himself incessantly at your chair. Before 10:00am, he had rolled in an ant-covered piece of trash while on a walk and got ants in his ears, tried to destroy his bed, tried to chew a doorstop, tried to chew some books on a shelf (this is an unpardonable sin in this book-loving household), and tried to climb ON my desk while I was working.

I had grown up with dogs, cats, and horses, and my husband grew up with dogs and cats. We thought we knew how to train a dog. We asked everyone we knew who remotely was interested in dogs if they had any tips. And then, suddenly and inexplicably, Hobbes became incredibly well-behaved. I’m fairly certain that someone kidnapped the first Hobbes and replaced him with a lookalike who actually has manners. The only thing to which we can attribute this behavioral change is that we started using a shake can when he jumped on us, and it did work like a charm, but his whole demeanor changed too.

Exhibit A: peacefully resting at Ross’ feet instead of throwing himself on top of the laptop. Exhibit B: sleeping in his crate willingly (!) with the door open instead of crying piteously. (That crate is so big there’s nowhere else to put it, but I’m sad it covers up my tree decal.)

Adjusting to the lack of freedom when another being is needy and wants to be around you all the time and has to be walked (a LOT) and trained is still tough for me. The Hubs is away this weekend on a men’s retreat, and I still kind of want to murder this animal sometimes, but things are going MUCH better. I’ve even stopped making jokes about turning him into a tiger-skin wall hanging. 😛

 

 

You seem to have stumbled upon a storytelling of ravens. Watch for falling collective nouns; you may find a wing of dragons or a charm of hummingbirds caught in your hair. Hardhats are recommended.

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A Storytelling

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