Friday, April 1, 2011

It's Sawyer's World....I just happen to live in it.

I'm not the only one celebrating a birthday this week.  My yellow lab turned two the day before my birthday.  Yep...that's two people years, folks.  That puts my dog right around the difficult teen years (about 14 in dog years).  Thank God he's not a girl dog...he'd be a real bitch about now.

In honor of this monumentous event, I feel it's important to reflect on our last two years together and how Sawyer came into my life in the first place.  For those of you who've known me for a long time, you may remember that I used to be pretty adamant about the fact that I was not going to become a dog owner until I had a husband and a big yard for said dog to play in.  "It just wouldn't be fair for me to have a dog in a tiny apartment with no one to help me take care of it..." I would say.  I felt very strongly about this.  As Whitney (my old roomie, and fabulous gal-pal) remembers, she desperately wanted a dog when we lived together.  So after about 6 months of casual and not-so casual hints and my continuous "It's not fair for the dog..." speeches, she finally gave up and just got herself a dog in spite of my objections.  Well, Bentley(her dog) turned out to be a pretty awesome little dog, but it did nothing to sway my feelings on pre-marital dog ownership.

Then one day it happened....I remember it clearly.  I was reading the girl's bible (Cosmopolitan magazine) and came across an article about the "10 Things Every Single Girl Needs".  On the list was a dog.  There were several valid reasons...they keep you active, the watch-dog aspect, etc, but at the time I merely shrugged it off and turned the page to continue my education on what I'm sure were the latest make-up trends or an article on "The 50 Things He's Thinking But Not Saying".  For some reason though, I kept thinking of this article over the next week and the thoughts kept creeping in...I mean, if Cosmo says I need a dog, can I really go against THE BIBLE?  Then, all at once my answer was clear....I may never have a husband or a backyard.  My prospects at the time were certainly few and far-between, so I threw my old doctrine out the window and adopted the Cosmo doctrine.  I needed a dog. 

Two weeks later I had a deposit down on Sawyer and was anxiously awaiting the day when I could go pick him up from the breeder and planning our fabulous adventures together.  I could already picture walking in the park with my adorable puppy and the delicious chisled 20-something docter/lawyer/architect that would stop to admire him, and of course, fall in love with me.  I felt confident that this was my best decision yet! 

Boy was I in for a rude awakening.....

When I brought Sawyer home on the first day, he cautiously sniffed out his new living arrangements and immediately felt comfortable enough to take his first shit just outside the kitchen of my single girl apartment.  We had been home for maybe a minute and a half.  The fun did not stop there.  He woke me up crying about 3-4 times every night the first week he was home and I would dutifully get out of bed, take him out to potty, and then lay next to his crate and pet him until he fell back asleep.  It was then, of course, that I decided I was never having children.  On the 4th night of Sawyer and my "fabulous" new life together, I called my mom sobbing and telling her I had made a huge mistake. 

After some reassurance, and no doubtedly a few dozen bottles of wine, enough time passed to where I was starting to get used to the routine.  It took about 2 months to where Sawyer would sleep through the night, but we were beginning to grow accustomed to each other.  One of my most special puppy memories of Sawyer was waking up one morning when he was about 3 months old and taking him down the stairs of my then apartment to go potty before breakfast.  This was the routine since Sawyer still wasn't big enough to go down the steps himself.  I would carry him and set him in the grass to do his business.  On this special morning I was running down the steps when I feel that special warmth in my heart.  As it turns out, this "special warmth" was actually piss.  Sawyer peed all down the front of me before I could even get to the grass.  After realizing there was no more pee to be relieved, I grabbed him and carried him back inside, completely repulsed at my piss-covered pajamas.  No sooner had we entered the apartment, I had my shirt ripped off and thrown in the laundry.  As I turned to get Sawyer's food ready, I noticed a familiar pacing from the dog in the entry way.  He was walking in circles, sniffing the floor.  I knew what was next.  I scrambled furiously for a shirt as I was not yet comfortable enough with my neighbors to wave good morning to them, topless, as I take my dog for a shit.  There was no shirt to be found.  Sawyer left a steaming pile of crap for me right there in the entry way as if to say, "Hey Mom, happy Monday!  Here's a present!".

The first year of my life with Sawyer was filled with moments like that.  When I moved out of that apartment, I didn't even try to get any of my security deposit back as I felt confident that it would go to either new carpeting or new tiling in the entry-way to replace the pieces Sawyer clawed up and ate.  When I bought my current house, I wrote into the sales contract that the seller had to install laminate flooring onto the entire first floor and rip up the carpet.  I was no fool.  In the first year I had Sawyer, I would constantly get stopped in the park, not by cute shirtless men, but rather by obnoxious kids who wanted to pet my dog.  I got wise to that game pretty quick.  Now when kids ask me if they can pet him, I usally say things like "Sure, but he bites..."  and smile. 

Another common occurance in the first year of dog-ownership was the looks of pity and an ever-growing feeling of shame everytime I would visit PetSmart.  On one of our 6-month check-up/vaccine visits to the store, I remember getting out of the car and standing for about 15 minutes outside in the grassy "doggy business" area, waiting for Sawyer to take care of his business.  No dice.  I felt confident that said business had been taken care of before we left the house and proceeded into the store and to our Vet appointment.  5 minutes later, I learned of a new special trait of Sawyer's I like to called "Excited Poo" in which he leaves a mushy pile of shit in the middle of PetSmart at the sheer excitement of being there.  Yay!  It was also on this visit that the Vet kindly asked me to give him a couple benedryl before I brought him back in for another visit as he was "a little wound up" as she put it.  Bitch.

Despite the day-to day struggles of my dog, he has slowly.....verrrrrrry slowly....grown mostly out of his puppy ways.  I can now leave him out of his crate when I'm gone, know that he won't pee until we go outside, and I can stop any potential threat of bad behavior with the mere sight of a water bottle conveniently kept in the main floor of the house.  I could honestly continue this wildly long post with hours of anecdotes about Sawyer-isms and Sawyer stories, but I won't.  I will sum it up with a list of facts about life with Sawyer:

1. No matter how many plastic bags you take on your walk with Sawyer, he will always poop one more time than you have bags for.
2. He does NOT like the "Gentle Leader" that was recommended by the dog trainer and will demonstrate his distaste for this product by attempting to bite your pinky finger off.
3. He WILL eat the super cute hat you bought at J.Crew for Keeneland last year.
4. He will eat any hat you bought at any store, for any occasion, when you entrust your brother to dog-sit.
5. He does not like things that smell like peppermint.
6. He will lick all the lotion and sunscreen off your legs if you dare to walk near him in shorts.
7. He will eat anything.  No really, anything.
8. No matter how many towels, napkins, paper towels or bath towels you own, Sawyer will always produce more slobber than they can clean up.
9. He will drink from any toilet in any bathroom that you have left open, regardless of whether the lid is up or down.
10. He will run and fetch balls, sticks, toys, etc........but you will never get them back once he's fetched them. 
11. He will bark at the front door for hours, regardless of whether anyone is out there or not.
12. He will most definitely eat the filet mignon you've been marinating for dinner all day if you go to grab more ingredients out of the fridge and leave them unattended.
13. He will always, without fail, greet you when you come home from work, wake up in the morning, enter a room, or come into his presence at all with unbiased affection and sheer joy at your existence.
14. He is the best couch-laying, movie-watching buddy anyone could ask for.
15. He was worth the $400 I paid the breeder for him, plus $1 Million more.

Happy Birthday, Sawyer-boy!


Sarah said...

This post confirmed my opinion that I never want to have a dog :)

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