The Mom Stop: Home is one happy hot mess
There was a time, a little more than half a year ago, when I prayed for our boxer puppy to live.
I prayed there would be a day where I could take our dog on walks around the neighborhood and to play at the dog park. I hoped we’d go through the typical puppy stages with him, through housetraining and teaching him tricks. I hoped with everything I had, that our dog Gus would be around to live a long, happy life.
But when he was only 8-weeks-old, soon after a freak accident that left him temporarily blind and brain damaged with a paralyzed face - I wasn’t so sure he had a future.
I tried to remind myself of that fact this week.
As I was getting ready to leave my house for work last week, I walked into the living room to get the dogs to put in their crates when I stopped suddenly, surveying the scene that was my living room. It looked like a foam pit, with countless pieces of torn up foam scattered all over my somewhat new, but already dirty, living room rug.
The foam, it turns out, belonged to my couch cushions, which were turned upside down and off the sofa, and looked like they had been mauled. I had luckily taken off the covers to wash them the night before. But despite putting a blanket over the cushions, the foam was apparently too tempting for Gus, who is now 10-months-old, and Maggie, our almost 2-year-old boxer who is more than likely the culprit.
As I walked into the room, Gus wagged his nub of a tail, jumping circles with glee with a piece of foam wedged awkwardly in his mouth. He can partially chew, but his jaw is still mostly paralyzed. Still, that didn’t stop him from enjoying the moment.
Meanwhile, Maggie knew what she had done. She was hiding under the dining room table in shame.
They say when you have kids, there’s no point in owning anything nice. When you have young dogs, the same could also be said.
I bought two new area rugs late last year, hoping to refresh our small home with a new color scheme. But I didn’t think about the fact that our backyard has become a mud pit with all the rain this winter and the two growing dogs galloping across it daily. No vacuuming in the world could clean the paw prints that have permanently implanted themselves on my new rugs, on my sofa or even on our bedding. (I have white bedding, but for a reason. Bleach is my best friend.)
I considered myself lucky. My sister’s German short-haired pointer ate his way through an entire door frame when he was a puppy. I had a cocker spaniel who once chewed a leg off my college roommate’s coffee table and had a penchant for destroying rolls of toilet paper.
Although boxers can be extremely energetic and clownish-type dogs, none of ours had been the destroying type. Maggie has a bad habit of taking my kids’ shoes and stuffed animals out to the backyard. In the morning rush when my kids can’t find one or both shoes, I tell them “It’s probably outside!” and more than likely, it is. Usually dirty.
And then there’s Gus. And while he can’t really chew much, he still tries. His true love is digging, however. Which means my now grass-less, muddy backyard looks like the moon for all the “craters” that he’s contributed to the landscape. I don’t get on to him, however, because he just looks so happy doing it. I don’t get on to him. I guess I feel he deserves pleasure in something.
And so we live in a small, chaotic house filled with kids and dogs and paw prints, dirty new rugs and a sofa that has lumpy cushions because the dogs chewed up the foam into a million pieces and I stuffed them back into the newly-washed covers.
Last week, after I put the kids to bed and curled up on the couch to watch TV, our two boxers lazily curled up together on the couch with me, draping themselves over my legs, snoozing away. And I realized I wouldn’t have it any other way, lumpy sofa and all.
Lydia Seabol Avant writes The Mom Stop for The Tuscaloosa News in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. Reach her at email@example.com.