Saturday, April 3, 2010

Singled out

I've realized something. Even though Superman does sleep here during the days that he's working (either 3 or 4 consecutive nights of 12-hour shifts) he's really not present. I'm pretty much a single mom around the clock. No wonder I'm tired and I feel like it's really hard and it's hard not to feel like I do all the work and it's not fair, etc., etc.. I used to think about his days on as a mini-deployment of sorts, but it isn't really, because he's still around to consume food, create laundry and mess up the bathroom counter. In thinking about it even further... we really do only see him for just about an hour per 24-hour period each day he works. The other time he's either working or sleeping. This whole work/life balance thing is tricky.

I'm wondering if we should get rid of one of our dogs. A few nights ago a neighbor called the police because of our dogs barking at 10:20 pm. I was at my parents’ house for the night and Superman had forgotten to feed them before he left for work so it makes sense they'd be feeling neglected, poor pups. They can go in and out of our garage, we usually put them in the garage for the night, but Superman didn't because he's gone for so long. I wish this neighbor would just speak to us directly, because I get that our dogs can be loud and disturbing, and I'd like to apologize or at least give them our phone numbers so they can call us directly first. Ambulances tend to set the dogs off in particular, and we live near a few medical centers. ANYhow. Someone (I'm assuming this same neighbor) left a relatively civil, anonymous note in our mailbox re: the barking dogs a few months after we moved in. They threatened to call the police if it continued to be an issue. We've made every effort to keep the dogs quiet. This is an older, quieter neighborhood and I want to respect the people who have lived here for decades. But whoever it is who has complained hasn't made their identity known to us and I find that irritating and somewhat cowardly. Completely within their rights, but dude! We want to make it right! We're home all the time - come over and talk to us.

Anyhow. The barkingest dog is Jackson. He's a piece of work, that dog. I love him and I've worked hard at making him sociable, but it's increasingly difficult to do that and take care of my kids and other responsibilities. I was in collage when I got him and had enough time to give him what he needed and he responded so well. I was hoping I could make him into a well-adjusted dog, but I didn't quite get there before I started having kids. Our bond has slipped over the years. Since he wasn't well-socialized as a pup AND he lost one of his legs before he was two, it's been tough to convince him that people in general are OK. (His parents were wild/roaming dogs in a rural area - I got him when my aunt caught him and his brother after his mom was teaching them how to harass my aunt's sheep.) He's not an aggressive dog, just insecure and fearful sometimes, which shows itself as lots of suspicious barking. He always barks at SOMEthing. He's not a mindless, endless, boredom barker. He just barks at things that do not necessarily necessitate barking at. I don't need to know every time someone walks past the house. If I were my neighbor I'd probably complain too.

All of this to say that, if I could find the right family to take Jackson, I would gladly send him off. He would be happiest with another dog (he relates and bonds to other dogs way better than most people, understandably) and on a large property on which he could tire himself out and then be too busy sleeping to bother with barking at every passing person. He's a German/Australian Shepherd mix, which makes him smart with a bit of energy, too. It's too bad he has just three legs because what he really needs is to be run every day, but the lack of leg makes that tough on him. Not that he won't try and do it anyhow, and he can, for a time, but not long enough to really tire him out. I can barely get him out for walks as it is.

Plus, we'll probably have to get rid of one or maybe both dogs the next time we move and since I know Jackson would be much harder to place than Tbird, it would make sense to start looking sooner, right? *sigh*

I just don't know what the most responsible thing to do is. I know that he'd be taken care of at a German Shepherd rescue place, but would they accept that? It's not like I'm in dire straights and can no longer afford him. I feel like a bad owner, I don't want to just dump him off to be someone else's problem, but I really know he would probably be happier in a different place, and not a problem at all - if that place could be found. I guess I could call and see what they say. I don't mind keeping him until they find a place for him. My neighbors might mind though. =)

I'm trying to stay awake until midnight, when I can tweet something Eastery. I have an hour to come up with something.

Or less. I'm falling asleep. I did go to an Easter service this afternoon, so in that sense I've already celebrated and thus Lent is over for me. Right?

Of course right. I'm tired.


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