One family member I haven’t introduced yet is Dum-Dum the Dog. Dum-Dum is still a puppy and finding out who she’s going to be as a dog is interesting…let’s just say we don’t think she’ll be the brightest bulb in the chandelier
A little backstory is necessary as we’ll come full circle in a bit. Earlier this year, we had to put down the first two dogs I’ve ever owned – Rex and Dover. Rex and Dover were both about 13 years old, were cousins, and lets just say they were “special”. They both had emotional issues, and in fact the only reason we got Dover was because Rex wouldn’t stop barking when we left due to his separation anxiety. Unfortunately, that didn’t really stop the barking and we were left with two neurotic dogs instead of one. Dover would hide behind the toilet when he got scared (which was any time anyone came over) and you’d think Rex was a robot dog from the future designed to terminate your ankles and ears. I loved those two dogs, especially Rex, as he was my first dog and officially “my” dog. Holly loved Dover and he was her buddy. Due to health (mental and physical) issues, we ended up putting both dogs to sleep within a week of each other. It was a really tough time for Holly and I and it still makes me sad to think of my little friends.
The grieving process took some time and in honestly is probably not really over. Holly has always had a pet in her life and for her, getting a new dog would help with her grieving process. However, I felt it would have betrayed our old dogs to turn around and get a new one right away. Eventually I felt ok enough to turn the page and agree to a new dog. Enter Dum-Dum stage left.
Dum-Dum is a mutt. A mutt bred with the best intentions, and one we picked out, but a dual-breed mutt nonetheless. We didn’t think she was especially dumb at first, just that she was a puppy. She is sweet, but boy does that dog like to puppy bite. When Dum-Dum gets into one of her moods you better hide all skin, hands and feet or sharp needles will get you as she tries to “play”. While she’s not much of a barker, so far she’s shown an aptitude for barking at A) magazines that are blowing in a fan B) baby’s she wants to play with and C) random ghosts she sees. If you aren’t one of those things, you’ll likely get shepparded into our house with a happy lick and playful needle-bites.
As she’s gotten a little older she’s started to get a little more brave. We really didn’t have to use a leash as she was potty training and she did not want to be more than a few feet away from us. Her first nickname was “Underfoot” since she’d get stepped on all the time when in the kitchen cooking or simply walking around the house. Anyways, Dum-Dum now thinks it’s a fun game to run away in the yard and explore a little more. If you chase her, she likes to run further away. Chase, run, repeat. The reverse psychology trick of running away from her so that she’ll chase you works sometimes, but seemingly less and less. Of course, while Holly was traveling this week, Dum-Dum heard something while leashless, and out for an evening bathroom break. Instead of listening to me, she decides to run across the busier of the two streets we’re on (first time doing that) to check it out. As she’s wandering through our neighbors’ yards, LoudBoy decides that would be a good time to come out the front door in his underwear to ask about watching a movie. After shooing him back inside, I go after Dum-Dum. She’s found a backyard patio where a neighbor I’ve met once is having a mid-week dinner party. The neighbor was really nice about the interruption and Dum-Dum just looked at me with her typical dumb look on her face panting like “What? Did I do something wrong?”
Potty training has generally been going pretty well, except for the fact that Dum-Dum thinks that the kids room are the “poop rooms”. She especially likes Birdsnest’s room, and hiding poops under her bed, but doesn’t play favorites as LoudBoy gets his fair share too. Her bestest, most favorite thing in the whole world is to put stuff in her mouth. Doesn’t matter what, if it fits in her mouth it’s chewed on and possibly destroyed (thankfully not swallowed). The list is starting to get pretty extensive thanks to LoudBoy’s and Birdsnest inability to clean anything up and our general upheaval of a house at any given time. So far it includes: a rug, legos, crayons, pencil, tupperware, plastic cups, grass, a brick (covered with fabric used as a door stop, hauled that one around the house for awhile making “bang” sounds like a poltergeist), her leash, a new condom, a used condom (admittedly, those last two were entirely my fault), a milk cap, many stuffed animals, a Nintendo DS cord (destroyed), matchbox cars, our table, homework (how cliche), underwear and of course many pairs of shoes. Like I said, she’s a nice and friendly puppy, but sort of dumb (she even looks dumb, sort of fuzzy like Animal from the muppets).
Now I honestly like the dog, but I don’t love the dog, despite what Holly says. (Here’s where I’m coming back full circle so look out). I LOVED my old dogs, especially Rex, I mean we connected from Day 1. I’m sure I’ll gain further affection for Dum-Dum, but I’ll never feel the same way towards her as I felt with my old dog(s). It’s not her fault, it’s just those experiences and the life energy of Rex/Dover meshed with me at the right time.
I could see a correlation between feelings toward Rex/Dover impact to some degree how I feel towards Dum-Dum; and how feelings in previous relationships are going to be different than current relationships. Not better or worse necessarily, but different, and potentially impacting the current relationship viability or tenor. Now I hitched my wagon to a good woman I’m still madly in love with (and I’m not too far from being with her for half my life), but my earlier relationships (and hers) were special in their own right, had an impact on who I am and are memories I wouldn’t trade for anything. I HAVE to think that those individuals, male or female, that serial date, that have many more serious or semi-serious relationships or higher partner counts, have to have a quagmire of memories to wade through when coming to terms with marriage. Comparing how X did Y better than your spouse or pining for the Alpha band-dude or hot slutty waitress when things in the marriage are a little in the doldrums has to take a toll after awhile. Thankfully, we don’t have much baggage. Holly and I weren’t each other’s firsts but neither do we have any desire to live in the past. Neither of us are FaceBook friends with exes, though surprisingly, many i-friends I know with higher partner counts are. The whole FB friends thing is an avenue for trouble, but that’s a discussion for another day.
I’m sure I’ll have many more stories of Dum-Dum as she is now part of our family, but that’s how the first few months have been for us. We’re just an Average American Family; 2 kids, married 10+ years, a mortgage, a dog, jobs and all the fun and adventure that come with that.