Wednesday, March 3, 2021

What are these Things I am Feeling?

I feel obligated to admit that I am not a dog person. 

As a kid, the unpredictability of dogs made super-anxious me, well, anxious. And, all of my fears about dogs were confirmed one ill-fated summer evening when I was 8 when the neighborhood Great Dane, Joey, decided to jump on me as I filed past him with a group of kids headed to the back yard for a game of kickball. 

I’ll never know if Joey was trying to lick me or to bite me (though it sure seemed like the latter), but I do know his paws were as big as my face. I ended up with a puncture wound that sent me to the ER and that left me with a scar that I still have to this day. 

So, yeah, cats have always been more of my jam. 

My recent change of heart surprises me a little. I mean, sure, I tend to be a sucker for things that help the kids. And, I know that kids with autism respond positively to animals. Plus, I’ve done a lot of reading about autism service dogs, so logically, I understand that a dog can probably help Stow. And, logically I also understand that all dogs are not Joey. It makes sense that I’m willing to get a dog to help my kid. I’d do absolutely anything for them, after all. 

What surprises me is how much I already love Shiro and how much I am to looking forward to having her join our family. I know we will have to do a lot of adjusting. Sky is sure this is all a terrible idea. (Guess who doesn’t like change?) We’ve never had a dog before, much less a dog that is almost as big as Stow, so I get Sky’s anxiety. He’s having trouble wrapping his head around how Shiro will be a family pet if her job is to help Stow. Plus, dogs are so different than cats. Cats don’t need to be let outside to take care of their business. They don’t need walks or baths, and our cats could care less if we acknowledge their existence most of the time. Shiro is going to be a whole other story, and since none of us are great with change, Sky isn't wrong to be nervous. 

Even so, I’m excited about this dog in a way that I haven’t been excited about anything in a very, very, VERY long time. Every picture or training update we get makes August feel impossibly far away. I’ve already started ordering things we need for her and would set her crate up in Stow’s room right now if I thought it wouldn’t totally confuse him and cause him months of frustration (until a couple of days ago, he thought Shiro would be here in June just after his birthday--concepts of time are hard for him). Whereas I can live with my feelings of excitement and anticipation, I also have to be careful not to trigger his. 

Since I can't start setting things up or talk about her with my family very much, I will tell you guys instead. I AM SO EXCITED AND CANNOT WAIT UNTIL SHIRO COMES!!! And, these feelings confuse me. How in the world do I find myself almost 50 and falling in love with a dog for the first time?!?

Here are some pictures of her. I’m dying with how sweet she looks. 

And, look at her being such a good girl during her training:

Seriously, how could you NOT fall in love with this dog?

I’m sure Shiro will teach us all a lot. She has already taught me that it’s never too late to change and it’s never too late to find new and unexpected joy. Even if nothing else comes of this exciting opportunity for Stow and our family (though I’m sure it will), Shiro has taught me more than enough!

Here's my original post about Shiro. Check out how much she's grown!!

Saturday, February 27, 2021

I'm Pretty Sure Our Cat is Broken

The longer he lives with us, the more convinced I am that Taro doesn't know how to cat. Exhibit A:

Almost a perfect square.

This perfectly cleared square results from the assiduous work of one gray cat. He will NOT take care of his business unless he can place it on a perfectly clear, seemingly measured square space. We all know when Taro is about to use the litter box because it takes time and persistence for him to create his ideal conditions. We also know exactly how his digestive track is working because once he deposits his goods there, he leaves them completely uncovered for the world to see. I'm pretty sure our cat is broken.

Taro's favorite bath mat.

Taro sometimes confuses various geometrical objects for his litter box, too, which is surprising given how careful he is with the perfect square he clears. So far, he has used cushions, bathmats, and even bean bag chairs. There was also the unfortunate incident with the pea pod--do you know how hard it is to convince our kids to self-soothe in there now that they know what Taro did?! And, whatever you do, DO NOT leave an empty box lying around. Sure, there are all of those funny memes and videos of cats squeezing themselves cutely into boxes. That's not what Taro does when he sees one. And, I can't decide if it's good or bad that he only does these things intermittently. Either way, he just does it often enough that he's convinced us we don't really need bean bag chairs anymore. Seriously, he seems to be broken.

The pea pod always gets stored on its side now.

Do you want to play with Taro? Sure. Go ahead! It will be all fun and games until he forgets that you are not a mouse and scratches and bites you. But, if you actually want him to catch a mouse? Then, he will just sit and stare at it, and you will have to rely on the slowed reflexes of your spouse who can barely bend over thanks to all of the back surgeries. Seriously, the cat is broken. Look at his lightning fast reflexes:

My favorite part about our broken cat is his absolute obsession with Nerf bullets. Most of our Nerf bullets look like this. 

And, he's a huge fan of decapitating them.

He likes to chase and then chew up the little yellow balls used in the Rival guns, too.

We keep the Nerf bullets put away, but he has figured out where they're hidden and will boldly walk into Sky's room (even if Sky's in there studying), slip into the closet, and dig through the 30-gallon box of Nerf stuff until he finds what he needs. He still can't catch a mouse, though.

All I can say is that it's a good thing this cat is cute.

Photo edit by Stow