Sunday, June 26, 2011

More than I could chew.

Or, more than WE could chew, I should say.

Stan, our short lived puppy of 3 months, has gone to a better place: My sister-in-law's house. For good.

I knew the first week we had him that he was just too much. He was just so...different. Yes, a puppy is a puppy but Stan was...special. He did not have the normal, expected puppy energy, wanting to go for walks or play frisbee. No, Stan had his own agenda... to make my life a living hell.

Go ahead, those of you reading, and start the judgment now. Go on. Say things like, "there are no bad dogs, just bad owners", and, "PEOPLE need to be the ones trained, not the dogs".  I get it. Dogs are a huge responsibilities and puppies need the work of a newborn human. I've experienced this before, of course, so I truly thought I understood what we were up against. We made a commitment when we got him, yes, I agree. We made the commitment to always do what's best for the dog and what was best was for him not to live here, or I would have eventually killed him.

Stan had massive anxiety resulting from pack confusion. I knew this from the first week we had him. He whined and barked all.of.the.time. when Dustin left the house. Walking, playing, distracting techniques were all failures when trying to stop the behavior. It was constant anxiety. Whining that would turn into barking that was like nails on a chalk board for HOURS. He did not understand who his leader was. He assumed it to be Dustin but because our household has no set structure with work schedules he was constantly trying to figure out his role. I truly began to develop a hatred for this dog, as awful as that sounds. Lily fed off of that and never bonded with that dog at all. She yelled at him as much as I did: "GO AWAY, STAN!!!", "QUIET, STAN", "STAN, NO PEEING IN DA HOUSE. BAD DOGGIE!", ::said with appropriate finger pointing:::.

His behavior went from bad to awful and nothing we were doing was remotely effective. We finally  hired a trainer (too late, in my opinion) who gave us Dog Whisperer type of training techniques, which is when I REALLY lost my marbles. Why? Because the truth is that I am MAXED out. Being a full time working mom, having to travel for work, being in the terrible two's with Lily, tending to two pieces of property, being a landlord...MAXED out. The trainer was great in her own right but, good lord, the training was going to be a TON of work, that would take a TON of time. I knew as she was explaining the undertaking that I couldn't handle it. I say "I" because all of the work fell on my shoulders since I was the one that Stan misbehaved around the most. The dog was stressing me out. I dreaded being home alone with him. I was even getting anxiety and looked forward to traveling for work so I could relax at night. Sad, right?

The day after the trainer came for the initial evaluation, which was Father's Day, I spent the evening in tears. Tears because the dog would not let me sleep at 10pm, barking at the foot of my bed. Tears because I had known for months that we screwed up by making an emotional decision to get this puppy. Tears because I knew that Dustin was attached to this dog (which is why he wasn't gone a couple months ago) and that getting rid of him was going to sting. Tears because, most of all, I just miss Bear. I miss him today like I missed him the day after he died.

I admit it, I was trying to fill in that hole in the house. I wasn't trying to replace Bear. I'm much too intelligent to think that another dog would be at all similar to Bear's personality, but I was trying to just fill a bit of that emptiness. That was not fair to Stan.

Lesson learned.

So, he's living in Tampa with my sister-in-law. She's single, childless, and has a lot of friends with dogs for doggie dates. She has been wanting a dog for awhile and I knew Stan would be a good fit because he needs a home where one person can be his focus. Plus, I noticed her phone screen saver was a picture of Stan weeks before this was even in discussion. It was fate. :)

I am now trying to rid of the guilt over giving him away. I don't like to give up on things, especially living things, obviously. I do feel terrible, but I know it's what's best.

Tonight is the first night alone without him and I would be lying if I said I wasn't enjoying the silence.

Notes to self (and others, for that matter):
- Do not make an emotional decision when it comes to getting a puppy.
- Do not get a puppy when you have a child who is younger than the age of 5.
- Stick with a smarter breed.
- Admit when you've bitten off more than you can chew. It's necessary sometimes.

Monday, June 6, 2011

The weekends have been full...

...which is very unlike us.
Usually, if we make any plans it's dinner over here with friends or a quick dinner at Outback, but the last three or four weekends have been so busy! And fun.
Lily's birthday party, May 14th, was so much fun...
Obviously, it was an Elmo bash with plenty of sugar to get the little ones high. Lily was an angel and had a blast.

Last weekend we celebrated Dustin's birthday by doing this....
{beach with some friends and family}
Then we went to a Japanese steakhouse for dinner, which was Lily's (and our friends' little boy, Ty's) first experience. They both cringed a bit at the "entertainment", especially when the chef ignited the fire on the cook top. Lily said, "Mama, that's too hot!!!". But we had a great dinner with great company.

Sunday, Dustin and I headed to St. Pete for a night away at the Vinoy Resort. I'd like to go ahead and brag about the day:
- Checked in at 1:45pm.
-Napping by 2pm, woke at 4pm.
- Early dinner at 5:30pm with my sister-in-law and Dustin's best friend Nick.

Face to Face concert at State Theatre. My favorite band.

I have not been to a F2F concert, other than my Warped Tour experience last year which does not count, since 2001. 10 years was too long.
It was amazing.

Then there was this weekend, which was pretty huge. Dustin is featured in a local art gallery, Studio V, and they had their grand opening last night. He was invited to be a part of this gallery by a very talented artist and owner of the gallery, Victoria Miller.

 {Dustin had a total of 5 pieces on display!}
 {I apparently missed the memo that art gallery openings are fancy and dresses are recommended. Opps}
The turnout for the opening was fantastic! Family and friends came to show their support. It was so great to see Dustin in his element, mingling amongst other artists.
I am a proud wife.

Sunday was finally a quiet day which Lily and I used for Target and the pool with Auntie Jackie.

So, that's been The Nichols life. Enough attention whoring. I hope everyone has a great week!