Keeping in the Moment – Puppy Talk…

We adopted an 8 to 10 week old puppy last December before Christmas. A lot of fun but a lot of work. At five months, she has just come back a week or so ago from her spaying surgery which also included a surgery to address a herniated umbilical cord. I had never heard of this but the hernia at her belly button is fairly common and they do the surgery for it at the same time they do the spaying.

I have always vowed that I am a pet person but not to the exclusion of all other things. It always strikes me as funny how attached people get to their animals to the point where the pets are almost treated as human 🙂 But now I find myself in that same boat!

The last twelve days have been exhausting giving the pup pain medicine for 5 days and trazadone for two weeks to date and also an additional week this coming week. This includes taking her out first thing in the morning which occurred at 4:00am this morning. The trazadone is very sedating but in between doses the pup is a wild child with eyeballs all dilated and that seem to roll around in her head like marbles.

Today, after a vet visit we were allowed to take the plastic cone collar off her. Finally! It has been 13 days and she is sick of it. The first thing we did this afternoon was give her a bath. She looks so much smaller without her big furry coat I almost did not recognize her as our pup.

The vet/doctor said her incision looks good so the collar can come off but to keep her sedated for another five days or so. With all this puppy talk, I find myself to be somewhat of a hypocrite. I am completely immersed in puppy care from tracking her pees and poops to being sure she stays sedated 24 hours a day to prevent tearing the incision to hand feeding her canned food when she would not eat after the anesthesia. My husband has been singing the song by the Ramones around the house for days – “24 24 hours to go, I wanna be sedated.” (“I Wanna Be Sedated” by the Ramones).

So I find myself completely preoccupied with caring for the pup. I think it is somewhat a case of transference as my daughter will be graduating high school in a matter of weeks and leaving the nest for college this summer. I tend to put all my extra “caring” into care for the pup.

Also, puppy training has been on hold for the last 12 to 13 days as it does not seem fair to have “school” lessons all jacked up or laid low on trazadone. Jacked up is what it feels like just after giving her a dose before the sedating qualities kick in.

Anybody else found they were “catching themselves in the act” of treating their pets like humans? Thankfully, I do recognize that it is an ultimate luxury to do so in this day and age with so much going on against humanity much less the animals?

Living in the present moment – what can a puppy do for you??

A week and a day ago, we adopted a puppy whose name is Parsnip. Our old dog had cancer and we had to put him down a little under a year ago . We have had rescue dogs for twenty years so getting a puppy is a new phenomenon in our household.

True confession: I have never been that great at living in the present. I have tended to dwell in the past – would’ve, could’ve, should’ve territory. Or in the future – what on the horizon for next week should I worry about – did I get a holiday card out? What should I worry about next month – will schools go virtual again due to Omicron? What should I worry about about six to eight months from now when my daughter goes to college?

Having a puppy in the house again challenges that past/future orientation. I find myself in the present whether I am comfortable there or not. I am preoccupied with puppy pees and puppy poops and with learning to reward positive puppy behavior and ignore negative puppy behavior. I am also trying to redirect behaviors like nipping with playing with a toy. It is a constant lesson in cognitive behavioral therapy that has taken me by surprise – emphasis on behavioral – for me and the pup. Somewhat LOL and somewhat really true about CBT.

All in all puppies are a joy but a load of work. For me for now, that work keeps me focused on the present day maybe even the present hour. I am extremely exhausted by it but it does seem to keep me in the now.

To all of you who have beloved pups and other beloved pets, do you find the act of taking care of that pet helps keep you in the present? And avoid the terrible would’ve, could’ve, should’ves or that projected anxiety into and onto the future’s horizon?