Day 26 With Dora

I guess that today, there are two things on my mind: calluses and chores. 😏 It is what it is.

I have thick, painful calluses on the middle and ring fingers of my hands. From walking Dora. Who pulls like a train. An adorable 50 pound train. 

Everyone is like “That’s what pit bulls do!” and I’m like “Her profile said she was a lab mix!” 😆 Oh well. In any case, we are working on walking- for her health (and mine) and for obedience class.  Two handed grip: one hand above her on the leash, other hand by my opposite hip. So basically, Dora stands besides my right foot, the leash comes up from her harness to my right hand, then it crosses in front of my body to my left hand, and the loop is usually around my left wrist. I try to keep her there.

But she pulls. And the leash cuts into my fingers. And I pull back.

This week, we’re supposed to work on a new technique: stopping and sitting every time she pulls until she eventually chooses to walk nicely so we can walk further. It’s… slow at this point, but Dora is smart. It will come together eventually.

The other thing was chores. I’m on my 3rd load of laundry today. This hasn’t happened since before we got her. I’m pleased to announce that we are FINALLY getting her bathroom schedule in hand. I now have 2-3 hours between trips instead of ~40 minutes (because it takes so long to get bundled up for the cold and unbundled for the house). It’s…. it’s nice, but that’s not all of it. It’s like…

You’re outside I’m a park or something and the clouds break. Rain- hard, fast, and cold- pours over your shoulders. You’re soaked and 30 minutes from your car. You walk, because the path is covered in mud and loose rocks, and it’s not worth slipping and cracking your skull over this. Part way back, the rain slows and the clouds part, and the sun- the sun pours through this little hole in the storm, spilling out onto the trees and the mud. At that moment, you can tell that the worst has passed. It isn’t over; the rain is still falling, the breeze still pierces your sopping clothes, and you didn’t bring a spare outfit in the car; but somehow it all feels like it will work out.

That’s how today feels.


Day 3 With Dora

I had a breakdown yesterday. Just got overwhelmed by how many more tasks I needed to complete. By how much more of myself I needed to give away. By suddenly having this new being depending on me for everything- for food, for relieving herself, for exercise, for fun.

There was just so much of it, and no breaks from it, and so I just cried. And Dora came up close to me and tilted her head and licked my salty tears. And I petted her soft, smooth fur and breathed in that warm, familiar dog smell. And I calmed down a bit.

This isn’t going to be natural right away. Nor will it be easy. She isn’t trained for her role yet and I am only accustomed to owning outdoor dogs. We both have a great deal to learn. 

I found an article about new mothers being overwhelmed by the arrival of their babies, the sudden appearance of new tasks, the loss of one’s job or friends or routine, the lack of sleep, and just… all of it. At once. Without breaks.

I think I understand now, better than I have before, a small part of what they go through. If any of my friends become new mothers, I want to try to do something for them: to (let’s see- what do I want?) … to give them a break from their tasks for a while or to do something that feels a bit like life before (like eating or talking about movies and life). I want to ease the burden by adding something to their life.

But back to reality: Dora is a really sweet, gentle, and calm dog. I think it’s going to go well overall. I just need to adapt to the new balance of life. I think she will respond well to training and could be taught to monitor my wellbeing if we want to go that route. At the very least, because she is a velcro dog, Dora won’t let me hide in the dark and cry alone. I might still do it on some days, but at least she will be sitting with me. That will probably be enough to keep the darkest thoughts at bay.

Dora’s imp has seen better days.

Old Woman, Little Girl

There are a few real paradoxes within me. I don’t know whether or not most people are consistent or paradoxical, so I have no way to know whether or not I am normal. As such, I just accept this as a neutral situation. So what am I talking about?

Well, on one hand, I have pretty much always been a pessimist, and as a child, I wrestled with issues like greed vs. starvation- that we will never provide food for everyone in the world because people are inherently selfish. In elementary school, I laid awake thinking about this kind of thing. Even now, I feel like I am carrying the emotional burdens of a very old woman, one who has lost many people and seen enough pain to become jaded and weary.

On the other hand, I have never stopped watching cartoons and moved on to television meant for adults. I really love brightly colored heroes, fighting against the odds, becoming friends with their teammates, growing stronger, and winning against powerful bad guys. I love these simple stories, and at least thus far, I haven’t tired of superheroes, giant robots, magical girls, ninjas, and talking ponies. In this way, I have a lot in common wih a 7 year old.

So, why the dissonance? It’s pretty simple, I think. A lot of people use entertainment to fill in gaps in their lives- watching exciting shows to offset a dull career, marinating in lusty stories to counteract loneliness, and so on. But I am tired of violence- I have studied too much war, genocide, and murder; realistic violence is not thrilling. And I have seen the scars caused by lust and its corresponding low self esteem; I prefer not to reopen old wounds by watching promiscuous characters. Foul language is usually excessive, like too much salt in an otherwise tasty soup. So where can I find stories without war, sex, language, violence, and the pain that permeates this world?

Kids’ shows. For 30 blissful minutes, I can escape to another world where kindness is genuine, where the lines between good and evil are artificially clear, where people are supportive, where the world can be saved, and where things really will get better after they get worse. I can forget famine, disease, poverty, war, rape, incest, assault, arson, theft, hate speech, mutilation, and other horrible realities for just a short time… and in that short time, I can enjoy life.

It’s depressing to write this, since there really are a lot of painful things in the world, and it’s so easy to focus on them and lose sight of any positive things. I’ll try again to believe in the world, guys. Just give me time.