Retirement and Dogs Part 7


Another Year Another Smoke Alarm Check

The time was passing, and there were really no incidents that caused me problems. GG was on the job of being my matchmaker, and I was in a daily routine. All was good. I had forgotten that, each new year meant another smoke alarm check. When I saw the notice in front of my door, I knew it couldn’t be good. I went into the house slowly. For some reason, I could feel myself sweating. I hadn’t even read the notice and all of this was happening. I greeted GG half heartily, and put the notice on the table facedown. I would let it wait until I took her out. I bundled her up in her coat and put her in the carrier. I didn’t worry about people seeing her anymore. I think I just didn’t care. It was cold, so we didn’t go far; a short drive to the little shopping mall, and in ten minutes, we were back in the warm car. I drove home like a person taking their last walk to be executed… very slowly. I realized that I might as well get this over with. I’m now trying to understand what I was so afraid of, and I actually can’t tell you. When you are doing something wrong, anything out of the ordinary kind of spooks you, because you figure you’ve been found out. We finally got home, I undressed GG, showered and changed, and got our dinner. I settled in for the night, so much so that I almost forgot about the dreaded notice.

I sat at the table and read it. It’s smoke alarm time again. I had 7 days before someone was coming in. My thoughts were going faster than I could process them: “What was going on at work that I needed to be there?” “What was I going to do with GG?” GG was bigger and didn’t like to be in her carrier. She barked more loudly now and her playfulness had gone up a notch – no, make that 10 notches. I sat there for what seemed like a hour, but when I finally came to my senses, only 10 minutes had passed. I tried to go to sleep, but I couldn’t, and this time I couldn’t blame GG; it was the notice.

I want to tell anyone who has just gotten a puppy and has to work, to plan on not sleeping much. I had been sleep-deprived since getting GG. I got more rest on the train back and forth to work than I did at home. Whenever I fell asleep, I would feel this little paw hitting me in the face. She wanted to play, and it would be 1am in the morning; she didn’t care. She thought that she was being helpful by being my alarm clock, except the time she thought I should get up was nowhere near the 4am I had to get up. Anyway, back to the smoke alarm.

I had a big problem. I couldn’t take off work that day, because I had a supervisor’s meeting. I just had to pray that she would be quiet. The days went by quickly for some reason. It was a probably my imagination; before I knew it the dreaded day had come. I decided to leave her out of the carrier and leave the television in the bedroom on. I left for work, not knowing what was going to happen when I got home. It was a long day at work and the clock didn’t seem to move. Finally, it was time to leave work and get the train home. When I got home, I don’t know why, but for some reason, I opened the door slowly and walked very slowly up the stairs. My heart was beating fast. I guess that I thought management would be sitting in the living room with GG. When I got to the top of the stairs, I started looking around for GG. I forgot that she was in the bedroom. She was hiding under the bed. I had to coax her out. I did wonder if something had happened, because she seemed scared. I held her tight and started our at  home play session. She snapped out of her fear, and I forgot all about the smoke alarm check. We went back to our routine and all was good… or so I thought.

It was about 2 weeks later, and again, there was a notice in front of my door. I wasn’t worried this time, because there wasn’t anything going on that I needed to be at work for, and I had started working from home. When I got into the house and read the notice, I sat down on the first chair I reached. GG had been discovered, and management wanted to see me. I was pissed at the same time as I was scared, because there were people who had cats. The next day, I went to the management office, and of course, they said they had a policy of no pets, and my dog would have to go. I informed them that there were a number of people who had cats and even dogs. They weren’t hearing that. I left without saying yes to giving up GG. I went home and researched the pet policy in all of their developments, and discovered that cats weren’t allowed either. If they were going to say I had to leave, then what about the people with cats? I wasn’t giving up GG, but I wasn’t stupid either. I thought it was a race thing.

The next day, there was a knock at the door. I put GG in the bedroom. It was the man in charge of the development. He went on tell me about the development’s pet policy, and I told him about the cats. I threatened to call the newspapers and report their unfair pet policy. While I was threatening him, GG was scratching to get out of the bedroom. I may have been wrong, but don’t pretend like other people aren’t doing something wrong and you’re going to ignore it. We came to an agreement that I would leave, but I had 6 months to find another apartment. He asked me to keep her out of sight, because he didn’t want other people getting pets. I agreed. I didn’t care what I agreed to. After he left, I wasn’t hiding her anymore. The hunt for a pet-friendly apartment was on! But you’ll have to wait for the next blog. Be safe out there.

Retirement and Dogs Part 6

Another hated coat- she is giving me her pitiful look

     GG Million Dollar Match Maker

Things were routine after the smoke alarm incident. I would park as close to the building as possible, run in, and get into my 007 mode. I hadn’t done any dating since I had gotten GG; she took up most of my time. I got up at 3am and didn’t get home until 530 or 6pm. It maybe wasn’t so much that she took up all of my time, as it was that I was tired by the time I got home and I still had to do everyday things to get ready for the next day. I realized that I was a little obsessed with her, because she filled a void in my life. I decided that maybe I should start seeing a real person that could respond back to me. It is very easy to become attached to your dog, because they really are like children, except they can’t talk. They can make the same mess has a child, with toys everywhere, and they demand so much of your attention. It was time to join the real world and date.

The way to date at that time was using It was the hot way to meet people. I did a profile and the dating began with conversations on the phone. This was not always smooth, because as I was talking on the phone, she was bringing toys for me to throw, which was a distraction. You have to imagine this: you’re talking to someone you don’t know, trying to lead or participate in a conversation, and there’s your dog, standing in front of you with pitiful eyes and toy in mouth. What was I to do but throw the toy? I soon realized that it was best not to come in talking on the phone or to take any phone calls, until she had been taken out. Did this solve the problem? No, but it did help a little.

I made sure that anyone I was going to meet knew that I had a dog and we were a package deal. I think some people thought that they could get around this, but they soon found that I was not joking: no Anita without GG. My youngest daughter, as I thought of GG (my daughter hates when I say GG is her sister), did not like men. I realized, over a period of time, that whenever I took her out, if a man spoke to me, she growled, and if a man came to fix the cable or something, she would bark her head off. No, nothing had changed with my development; still no pets. So when men that worked for the development came, she still had to be out of sight. Anyway, I’m saying this to let you know that all of the people I dated were women, so there was no reason for her to bark or growl.

GG put her matchmaking skills to work whenever I had someone over. It was she and I, so whenever a woman would come over, she would bark, but it didn’t have much force to it. The man bark was loud, with her jumping a little off the floor, almost like: bark, jump, chest out. Okay, not the best picture. The woman bark didn’t last continuously, like the man bark. The way I figured out if she liked or tolerated another person in our space was pretty ingenious for a dog. She would, however, get into her worst behavior; I mean bad. She would jump on the person, sit between us and lay her head in my lap, or bring toys for me to throw, and when I didn’t respond, she’d sort of shove her toy at the person. She was, I guess, demanding that one of us stop talking and play with her. If the person stayed over, GG was in between us, or sleeping on their head. I mean, some women were like, “Put her in another room,” or I would hear them talking to her in a rough voice. I will only say that I am not with any of those people. GG knew the best person for me, and she would not let me settle for anyone else, no matter whether I liked them or not. Yes, it was hard sometimes to chose GG, but now, in hindsight, I know that she was looking out for me.

The next blog will be about the smoke alarm incident that almost had us homeless. Until next time, be safe.

Retirement and Dogs Part Five

Hating her coat plus bad hair day


Smoke Alarms: Argh

Let me say right now I’m all for smoke alarms, however the smoke alarm in my apartment caused me a lot of problems. I just going to reiterate there was a no-pet policy in this development. Why did I get a dog? Simple. I saw people out of my balcony window that had cats. I reasoned a cat is as much of a pet as a dog, so that’s it. Right or wrong that’s how I reasoned, also I hated coming home to an empty house. You know when you’re used to coming home to a person or a pet and that goes away, sometimes you just don’t get over that emptiness. Things were going as well as they could with me sneaking around with GG. I don’t know if I mentioned this, but is was around Thanksgiving, so it was cold out and this was another thing I didn’t consider when I got this bright idea for a dog. She had to go out for my sanity. It was easier to deal with her “I want to play because I’ve been alone all day” by taking her out for a few minutes. This meant coats, which meant dressing and undressing her. No fun, she hated clothes and to this day she still hates putting on clothes. Okay, smoke alarm. You know how every year usually a housing development will send someone to check the smoke alarm? I had a notice on my door one day that someone would be coming in to check my smoke alarm batteries. I panicked. Wouldn’t you? I had to think they only gave you about a week’s notice. I knew I had to go into my 007 mode to not be found out that I had a pet. I stayed home from work, that was no problem. The problem was that it was January and snowing outside. I couldn’t go out with her even to sit in the car. Well, maybe I could have, now that I’m thinking about. I could have cleaned the snow off the car and turned on the heat, and we could have sat in the car which was parked right outside my building. We could have watched the worker go in the apartment and come out. I just didn’t think of that then. What did I do? I put GG in her carrier, which I placed on the other side of the bed and closed the bedroom door. I turned music on and up loud. The smoke alarm was right outside the bedroom door so when he put up his ladder to check the smoke alarm, I stood right there and started some stupid conversation. I can’t remember what it was. I could hear GG barking. Thank God her bark was not loud. The smoke alarm guy would periodically look at the door, and I’d just keep talking. It only lasted about five or six minutes, but that was a nerve racking experience. I was so happy when he left that I took GG, and threw toys from one end of the livingroom to the other. I was so happy we hadn’t been found out. The doorbell rang and I was wondering who that can be? You don’t visit me without calling first. I picked up GG and practically threw her in the bedroom, no carrier this time, just put her in there and closed the door. It was him back for me to sign a paper to say he’d checked the batteries in the smoke alarm. I will always believe he came back trying to catch me in the wrong. I didn’t let him in because there was no reason he needed to enter the apartment, I stood in the doorway and signed. Wow, that was close. I got away that year with the smoke alarm check, but not so lucky the next time, but that’s another blog. Have a blessed and safe day.

Retirement and Dogs – Part 4

You can tell from my last post I was like agent 007 from the television show Get Smart. I did all kinds of crazy things to keep her from being seen, such as pretending she was a baby. I would wrap her in a blanket and hold her like a baby. When someone would start walking in my direction, I’d just say “bad cold.” That was enough to keep people away. You know kids though: that was harder – they didn’t care about measles. I used a different approach. With clenched teeth and a smile, I shook my head to say “no.” It worked, that’s all I know. The other method of getting GG out was putting her in a gym bag. I must say, this turned out to be the best way. I guess people thought I worked out seven days a week, because people would see me in and out, with my gym bag. There were hiccups along the way that were nerve-wracking for me. GG still wanted to run and play in the house, no matter how long I kept her out. She never seemed to get tired. It got so bad that at times, I would sit in my car because I just couldn’t deal with her playing. Yes, I would be sitting in my car listening to music trying to get the energy to confront her. Was I a bad parent? I didn’t care. I was away from home 12 to 13 hours a day. I commuted to New York from near the Poconos. I was being kept up way past my bedtime. I felt like a walking zombie. Pep talk time, Anita: you wanted a dog and you didn’t like coming home to a empty house. Well, GG filled all the criteria. I had to get it together and drudge back upstairs. The next bad experience I had was giving her a chicken bone. Remember, I said people I grew up with gave a dog a bone and kept it moving, well, that’s a big no-go. She was so sick, I was up all night with her. I thought to myself: “this is great – I have a dog for a few months and I’m killing her.” I was so stressed. She looked so pitiful and there was nothing I could do. I didn’t have any of the dog-lovers from my job’s telephone numbers, so I couldn’t call anyone that I thought might know what to do. I had to find a vet and quick. I didn’t care how far I had to go, or how much it was going to cost. I just wanted her fixed. Thank god for the internet. I found a vet about 10 minutes away. My first vet experience was OK, plus the doctor was good to look at. I thought it was love at first sight, but, I digress, I was there for GG, not for me to pick up a date. The vet gave her fluids and a shot, and told me to buy Pepto Bismol. I had to ask her to repeat the directions because I was now wondering if this vet, who I was getting ready to ask for a date a few minutes ago, had graduated from medical school. I reluctantly and I mean reluctantly bought and gave GG the Pepto Bismol. It took about two days before she was back to her playful self. I was so happy to throw her toy across the room for her fetch. The days would go by with our routine of sneaking her out and playing. I was still exhausted, but I no longer had to give myself pep talks, or sit in my car to get away from her. Things were going along fine until smoke alarm changing time. You’re going to have to wait until next week to find out what craziness GG and I had to deal with. Have a blessed week everyone.

Retirement and Dogs Part 2

The problem start mounting when you make impulsive decisions, you are usually unprepared for the results. I was very unprepared, and not very knowledgeable about dogs. I have a cousin who had a dog, but I really didn’t see her Shih Tzu often enough to know what was involved in her care. I grew up where people had mutts for dogs – you gave him a bone and go about your business. But high-end dogs take some care and thought. What kind of food should she eat, wet or dry? Do you know how many kinds of dog food there are? What about shots? You know what, let’s stop right here – I haven’t even given her a name. The next day, I was going to say “we”, but what did she do but look at me suspiciously..? I had more pee to clean up, does this dog do anything but pee, I thought? I gave her the food I grabbed at the store the night before, and sat trying to figure out a name. I wanted it to be easy and a reflection of her personality, whilst to be honest at this point I knew nothing about her. I thought maybe I’d name her DEE, but nope, that won’t do – my mom would kill me for naming a dog after her! Then I thought DD… Nope, still too close to my mother’s name. I went through the entire alphabet in my head, putting two letters together. Finally, I decided on GG. No Gigi for her, just two letters, easy to remember. I was a proud mama, I managed to give my dog a name. The next problem to tackle was actually buying dog food, and getting more training pads. I couldn’t take her with me, because I wasn’t supposed to have a dog – so what was I to do? I had no choice but to go, she needed things. As I was leaving for my quick run to the store a Cesar dog food commercial came on. I stopped in my tracks and just stared at the television, as if I never seen this commercial before. This time was different, GG needed food and the Cesar dog was cute. I went to the store so fast you’d think it was a matter of life and death if I didn’t make it in 5 minutes. I was in and out, and it helped that I knew the layout of the store. It was obvious I was a proud mama with all the toys I bought, with the training pads and dog food. I just hoped that nobody behind me in line knew where I lived. I rushed all the way from the checkout line to my car just grinning. Well, that smile got wiped right off my face when I got home… GG had pooped on the floor, torn up a training pad and dragged my shoes out of the bedroom. How can one little dog do so much in 20 minutes..? I was furious, and she got her first and only spanking with a newspaper. I’d learned a few things from the dog lovers at my job. They had said to crate train or put the dog’s nose in the pee, and then put the dog on the training pad. I wasn’t crate training, it seemed inhuman to me, so I chose the latter, which GG and I practiced all weekend. I had to go work in NYC. I left at 4 in the morning and didn’t get home until 5. I had forgotten all about this when I impulsively got GG. I never considered that she might be lonely being home alone for that many hours. I do realize now it maybe was selfish… There was also the issue of noise. I had downstairs neighbors and I know with those thin walls the floors were probably not much better. I wondered, did they hear her running or see her little head, looking out of the patio door? I was just glad her bark was weak and the neighbors were nice. The next blog will be “Off to work I shall go”.

Retirement and Dogs Part 1

I decided to do this blog because, as all people would probably say, my dogs are special. I have two dogs, GG and Mason, who are both a handful. Since I retired, it seems like I work harder than ever before for the government. If you are a government worker, you can probably relate to how hard I have worked. I want to start this blog at the very beginning, when I got my first dog.

I was just out of a relationship and I hated – and I mean literally hated – coming home to an empty house. I had coworkers who were always talking about dogs, so with me hating coming home alone and them filling my head with the wonders of pet ownership, I decided to get a dog. I had just moved into a new apartment, unaware that I wasn’t supposed to have pets, as it wasn’t something I originally had to consider having not yet had the idea to get a dog. After months of going back and forth and seeing the people that lived across from me with a cat, I decided that if they can have a cat, I can have a dog. I did inquire with management, who told me no pets. I think there was a double standard there, as it seemed that they could rationalize when it came to cats, but not with dogs. I wasn’t hearing it. I was sitting at work one day a week before Thanksgiving, bored crazy, and I decided “today I’m getting my dog!”. A coworker told me where to go, which was way out in Brooklyn. I lived way up in New Jersey, close to the Poconos. I was not to be deterred by distance. I took the train to Brooklyn. I didn’t know what I was looking for exactly; just a small dog that didn’t molt all over the place. There were a lot of people looking at dogs and a lot of dogs looking for a new home. I saw this group of Shih Tzu’s, all different colors and so small. I was in love, but which one? The one I chose ran to me when the owner of the store took her out. I had already fallen in love when the bad news came. She had a hernia and they planned to treat it, but I wanted my dog now and I didn’t want to make that trip all over again. I went back to the small group of Shih Tzus and picked another. When the store owner let her out, she walked in the opposite direction to me. Stubborn, I decided to take her anyway. I purchased a carrier that looked like a purse for the long trip back to New Jersey. She slept most of the way and I guess people kept looking at me because the carrier kept moving. ‘What now?’ I thought to myself. We finally arrived at my car after what seemed like hours. I was tired and I was hoping that she was too. I hadn’t prepared at all for this dog. I had no food, no training pad and no permission to even own a dog. It was dark and she was asleep. I ran into the store which fortunately wasn’t too crowded, as I had to leave her in the carrier while I picked up few things for her. Finally, I arrived back home. I let her out the carrier so she could get familiar with her new home. She peed on the floor and almost fell down the stairs that lead into the living room. I was tired, and my reasons for getting the dog went out the window after cleaning up the pee and baby-proofing the stairs. The problems start mounting the next blog.