A dog never forgets

When we were in St. Louis last weekend, we took a day to go back to our old neighborhood. We’ve only been gone 8 months, but for some reason I was thinking it might have changed since then. It totally hasn’t. It’s exactly the same – just the way I liked it.

We met some friends for lunch at Katie’s Pizza, an old standby for us. Then we walked around the ‘hood, past our old apartment. It was at this point that Gatsby experienced temporary amnesia and ran up the steps of our old place with a look on his face like “come on guys, we’re home!”

We had to drag him back down the steps and tell him that it might be weird for us to walk up there with him since we do not, in fact, live there anymore. He was confused for a minute until he found something exciting to pee on and forgot about the whole thing.

Our literal walk down figurative memory lane made us a little thirsty, so we stopped at our all time favorite place, Sasha’s, for a drink. Sasha’s might be the place I miss the most in St. Louis. We still haven’t found a wine bar in Chicago that quite measures up – but we of course plan on continuing our meticulous research and field work until we do.

Gatsby says…

“Merry Christmas, everyone!!”


“Please don’t make me wear my Christmas sweater…!”

Lucky for him, his Christmas sweater is packed away and my search for a cute red doggie bow-tie at PetSmart last weekend proved to be futile.

Hope the last week of 2010 is a good one! I’ll be back in the new year.

PEACE [on Earth]. I’m out.

Gatsby goes to the beach

If you read my last post, you know that I was in Michigan last weekend.

What I failed to mention was that we brought Gatsby along for his very first vacation ever. He was getting a little stressed out (read: barking incessantly) by the evil mailman throwing paper through the door on a daily basis and the people in the neighborhood who dare to stroll past our house his fortress. We thought he could use a little R&R.

Turns out the beach isn’t as relaxing as it would seem when you’re a small dog who gets nervous in unfamiliar environments, eats sand, and hyperventilates when he gets wet. For Gatsby, the beach was about as fun as getting his nails trimmed. Lucky for us, there was no biting or loss of bowel control involved.

Here’s what I imagine he was thinking during his sandy adventure:

“Woohoo! What up, BEACH!? The Great Gatsby has arrived! I WILL DOMINATE YOU. This sand feels weird on my feet.”

“Hey, seagull. How’s it going? That’s a nice perch you’ve got up there, seagull. Good thing you’re not on the beach, or I would PULVERIZE you. Say hello to your mother for  me.”

“Do doo dooo, walking on the beach… Wait. Umm…is that water right there? Hold the phone! HOLD THE F-ING PHONE!”

“Hello0000, McFly! I thought I’ve made it clear that I don’t DO water. Is this some kind of joke? This is a vacation? Someone go get my favorite blanket and a rawhide.  Eeee! I think my fragile paw just got a little wet! This shit is bananas. I’m OUT.”

“Oh no. Oh HELL no. Do NOT take me in that water! Do you hear me? Not one step futher! Don’t you drop me… Christ on a cracker, this mother f-ing lake is mother f-ing freezing! I hate you all!”

<Shout out to Mad Men for that awesome “Christ on a cracker” catch phrase. Gatsby is a big fan.>

“Screw you guys. Not funny. Now my fur is all messed up and I can’t feel my nether regions. I would bite you if I could only stop shaking. DO YOU SEE WHAT YOU HAVE REDUCED ME TO? This is completely unacceptable. I’m hiding your socks under the bed later. Don’t even try to stop me.”

“Uggh I’m wet! And sandy! Oh the humanity! I am RUINED. I have no choice but to resign myself to this foul fate. A hell most damp and unclean! Please – just go. I’m going to my happy place.”

“Huh. This sand doesn’t taste half bad.” <nom nom nom> “Really, it’s not bad at all. What’s that you say? Don’t eat it? OH YEAH??”

“Well take THIS, evil humans! I’m going to roll around and eat as much sand as I can and then poop it out and scatter it all over the house later! HA!”

“Revenge is mine, biatches! The Great Gatsby is victorious once again! Now will someone please go get my favorite blanket and a rawhide? How many times to I have to ask??”

“Oh, so now you’re going to make me sit here and pose for these ridiculous pictures? Screw you guys.”

At least I don’t have him as my Facebook profile picture

No, Will and I don’t have any biological human children, but we are the proud owners of one lil’ mister Gatsby Irwin, also known as our psuedo-child or The Cutest Dog in the World.

I may be wearing the rose-colored glasses of a proud “parent,” but Gatsby is 5 pounds of pure fun and entertainment. And here’s proof:

Most normal dogs I know devour their food in a matter of seconds without even bothering to chew half of it, but Gatsby likes to make it interesting. He eats each piece of dry dog food individually, after throwing it up in the air and stalking it as if our kitchen is the vast wild outdoors and the piece of food is an unfortunate field mouse. Check it out.

Here he is striking his “pet me” pose – butt up in the air and head on the floor as if he is about to perform a somersault.

And if that’s not enough cuteness for you, as the finale to The Gatsby Show, I present to you the great one himself walking on his hind legs.

I know, I could charge admission for this stuff, right?

Post puppy depression

First of all, I just want to thank everyone who read my inaugural blog post. I’ve always liked to consider myself a writer, but it took me this long to start a blog because I’m a generally private person – sharing my thoughts and opinions with an audience is frankly a little terrifying. It was literally with a trembling hand and butterflies in my stomach (ok, that part isn’t literal) that I hit “publish” last Monday. I felt like I was back in Mrs. Fenton’s speech class my junior year of high school. Lucky for you, this is a blog so you couldn’t hear my voice shake, and lucky for me, Mrs. Fenton wasn’t there to roll her eyes and say “That’s enough. Sit down. You’re finished,” when I started blanking out. (That didn’t actually happen to me, but it happened to several other kids in my class and initiated my life-long fear of public speaking and snippy, petite, red-headed women.) Because of this, it meant a lot when the page views and comments started coming in – I was genuinely surprised that people were actually reading what I wrote and had something to say about it! So thanks for that. Now that you know I love you, let’s move on.

It was actually one of your comments (shout out to Anna – what up girlfriend?!)** that inspired me to write this next post about a very serious subject: post puppy depression. No, not postpartum. I may have that to look forward to with the advent of Babygeddon, but this is different. Mainly because it involves a puppy instead of a baby. Regardless, remembering this experience does not bring me any closer to shaking my baby-phobic inclinations. Here is my story.

**PLEASE NOTE: This is what I like to call my “shout out” voice. In no way does it reflect the way I verbally express myself in real life. Peace.

It all started about 3 ½ years ago when I devised a brilliant, elaborate plan to convince Will that we needed to get a puppy. It turned out this effort was entirely unnecessary because he agreed wholeheartedly the second the word “puppy” escaped my mouth. So now I have a brilliant, elaborate plan on file for when I need to convince him of something else in the future. Win-win.

We did some research online and found the perfect candidate – a 9 week old toy fox terrier hailing from rural Missouri who was 2 pounds and 6 inches tall at the time. My mind was reeling with the possibility of all the designer luggage and handbags I could fit him in. Sold! We christened him Gatsby and happily drove out to the sticks to pick up our new little family member.

Everything was great the first day. Gatsby slept in a tiny little ball in my lap all the way back to St. Louis, explored his new home for a little while, then slept in a tiny little ball in my lap the rest of the night while we watched a movie. In case you’re wondering, tiny little balls of sleeping puppy are ridiculously adorable and not at all hard to take care of. I think Gatsby knew this – it was all part of his diabolical plot to make me love him before he began his quest to destroy my life.

Maybe that’s being a little dramatic – he didn’t destroy my life, he just changed it. But for a person whose only commitments in life were a fiancé and a job, that change felt pretty destructive at first. I couldn’t put a finger on exactly what was bothering me, but I think I was actually slightly depressed the first month we had Gatsby. It wasn’t that I minded feeding him or even cleaning up poop, puke and fur (granted, I didn’t love that either). I just felt tied down in a way I never had before. We always had to think about what we were going to do with him whenever we wanted to go anywhere. Our solution was to lock him in the bathroom, and while even a bathroom-sized room is a palace for a dog of his microscopic proportions, he always wailed like a banshee (he has big pipes for a small dog) and made us feel guilty. Then some disturbing thoughts started entering my head. Did we make a huge mistake? Am I going to be tied down by a dog for the next 15 years? Do I even LIKE this dog?

Thankfully, post puppy depression isn’t quite as severe as postpartum depression can be. I didn’t have to resort to taking medication and worrying about what Tom Cruise thinks of me. At the risk of sounding glib, within a few weeks the post puppy depression was a thing of the past. In fact, I am now pretty much obsessed with Gatsby. After all, he is the cutest dog in the world.

Am I right or am I right?

I think the problem all along was that I wasn’t prepared for change, and the long-term commitment of having a dog didn’t hit me until we actually brought Gatsby home. The fact that I was able to adjust to that gives me hope that I’m maturing and maybe I’ll be able to use this lesson when other future family members make their debut.

Random thought of the day: The lyrics to some of the popular songs right now are laugh-out-loud ridiculous. Ke$ha – while you’re inefficiently brushing your teeth with a bottle of Jack, remember that gingivitis is a serious risk factor for heart disease. You just think about that, young lady.