Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Clique Series (Pt 1): Dr. K and Sweet Pea

So as I mentioned in yesterday's post, I've asked a few friends to write some guest blogs while I'm plowing through the end of this dissertation process.  My first post in the "Clique Series" is from my girl Kim, Dr. K., longtime friend, bridesmaid, and confidant.  I described Dr. K in this way on our wedding website: 
K is poised, well-spoken, and a go-getter. She's the friend that keeps your
secrets and you know they aren't going anywhere. You ever met someone who never has a bad word to say about anyone? If you haven't, you will when you meet her. We met at a graduate student orientation meeting, and she, Nicolle, and I figured out grad school, swapped fashion tips, and maneuvered adulthood during my first years in Maryland. She always lifts me up and puts me back together when school becomes a bit too overwhelming. Dr. K reminds me that there's life on the other side. 
Yup, all of it still rings true! I could blab all day about how awesome she is. 

So you all know how I feel about animals, and specifically my love for doggies.  Well, I happen to be friends with a bunch of pet lovers. Today she's going to tell you all about Sweet Pea, her great little pooch! Here's Kim in her own words.

When people hear me talk about Sweet Pea, they often ask me if I am talking about my child.  I suppose I do talk about her like she is a small person.  And I’ll admit it, I talk TO her like she’s a small person.  One day, I caught myself saying “Baby, one second, let Mama finish typing this and then you can come sit next to me, ok?” 

But contrary to popular belief and my nonsense, Sweet Pea isn’t a 3 year old child  She’s my almost 8 year old Beagle mix that I love to bits, I freely admit that I spoil with affection, and who changed my life when I picked her out at the doggie rescue around this time 4 years ago.

Who could resist that smile? Isn't she cute Mama loves!  
I’m not sure if I picked Peas (aka The Pea, Lady Peas, and Peah Peah) or if she picked me.  I visited the rescue at least 3 times before I figured out the kind of dog I wanted.  Not a puppy – I worked long hours and wanted one that was ok being by itself and was already housebroken.  Not too big – I lived in a townhouse.   And I wanted a dog that was affectionate and snuggly – I was coming off a tough breakup, and was ready to love a pet with reckless abandon! 

So I went to the rescue one day and decided that this was the day that I was finally going to find a dog.  I had been enough times.  It was almost like dating in a crazy way.  First, I was trying to holla at a dog named Bella.  Bella was the right size, cute name, house broken, but didn’t want to be bothered.  Like, at all.  I was trying to chat her up, but no dice.  Wouldn’t even look at me.  Ooooookkkkk, Bella. 

I was talking with one of the staff members, still holding Bella’s leash, trying to figure out if she was just being aloof or what, and she mentioned that a dog had just been dropped off that day that sounded like what I might be looking for.  I handed Bella off and walked around the corner, and I saw the same little face I see ever day in the window, barking her little head off (to anyone that knows Peasy’s “woo wooo woooooo”).  Unlike Bella and I, Sweet Pea and I had a decent first date – a little awkward, but there was some chemistry.  We were introduced, and we went for a walk.  I tried to kick my best game; she seemed interested.  When she sat next to me, I was done.  My doggie J.  I was adopting her.  And a week later when I took her home . . .

Our first night at home - totally in love.  I was all in.  Granted, she kept me up all night wandering around my room and not knowing where to lay down, but that is another story. . .

Sweet Pea has taught me SOOO much – more than can fit into one little blog post, but these are some of the major things that come to mind:
  1. Patience.  I know everyone says this about pets, but patience is really NOT one of my virtues.  At all.  It blew my mind that I couldn’t just explain to her why she should stay in the back seat of the car while I was driving (I had to get a doggie seatbelt – It works for us – don’t judge me).  When I first brought Peas home, I didn’t know any of her commands, so we went to training school, and she had a really hard time with “sit.”  We’re not talking about anything fancy – just “sit.” Let me tell you how HARD we worked on it every day and how many sticks of string cheese she chomped through (dogs like string cheese – who knew?) until she could drop her little booty down on command.  Oh my goodness – I almost threw a party when she got it right!  There are just some things that take time.  I think that remembering this is a constant struggle for me – but looking at my little pooch reminds me that there can be progress and sometimes I just have to wait on things. 
  2. The Scary and Gross Sides of Parenthood.  I didn’t get Sweet Pea to practice being a mom, but somewhere in the back of my head, I figured it might be help in all the cliché caring for another living being, loving something more than myself type of ways.  I didn’t know that it would prepare me to be fiercely protective and somewhat immune to grossness like a parent needs to be.  Peas has seizures – I will never forget when she had her first one – I was at a family party, and when someone pointed it out to me I dove onto the floor and held her without thinking about it – I wasn’t scared or worried until later.  And when she’s sick and someone has to clean up after her. Well, sigh, someone has to clean up after her.  Them’s the rules. I just hope that this all kicks back in when I have my own little ones one day.
  3.  The Rules Just Don’t Apply.  I had all kinds of rules about my relationship with Sweet Pea at first.  I was ABSOLUTELY not going to get her any costumes.  And she most certainly was not going to sleep in my bed.  And I wasn’t going to take her all over the place to street fairs and things or get her those crazy dog apparatuses that you see in the pet store.  I mean, who does those things?!?!   Um. Yeah. So. About that.  I totally do those things.  I do ALL of those things.  But I can explain.  Maybe she does have a coat for the cold weather.  And I bought her a costume ONE TIME – it was, literally, a Sweet Pea costume.  It even had little peas on it.  It was so cute (she hated it SO MUCH – I could see it in her eyes).  And she slept in her own bed for a year – she snuck into mine.  And then she stayed!  I can’t put her out now!  I guess this is to say that I learned that I can’t know how I would respond to most things until I’ve lived the experience myself.  I’ve tried to be better about applying this general principle to most areas of my life – not to be too hard on myself, to roll with the punches and do the best I can in the moment.  If I make a mistake, I can try to do better next time.  And I try not to judge other people too harshly either, because maybe they never thought they would buy a Sweet Pea outfit for their dog either, but it was just so dang cute ;).
I’ll just close by saying that Sweet Pea just means so much to me – I can’t even talk about how much this little furry creature lights up my days.  She sits on my blankets when I’m sick and gives me the business when I come home from work.  She sits on my company and pushes you in the chest with her paw when you haven’t given her enough attention.  She steals pork chops from other dogs and gets after her toys.  And I adore her!!!  As I come up on the anniversary of the date that I brought her home, I am so glad that she is a part of my life.

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