Thursday, March 20, 2008

Another failure

How could a little prince of a dog like this be the root of so much tumult? I guess I should have known that if I posted something about a victory in my life I would encounter opposition.

I wrote about my struggle with screaming and how I am improving. Since then, in less than a week, I have had two meltdowns. The first was last Sunday. The second was today.

Pride goes before a fall? I didn't think I was all that prideful. But what do I know?

Today I was making bars in the kitchen and Schubert wanted to go out. Against my better judgement, I put him out on his leash. Before three minutes had passed (but after I was wrist deep in bar dough) he wanted to come in again. As soon as I got to a point where I could let him in, I went over to the door to do so.

Of course, he had hopelessly tangled his leash in everything existent in our backyard. I unwound him from trees, bushes, the grill and the deck steps before guiding him into the house.

It is March in central New York, and that means mud, so the next step was to clean up his paws. As I bent down to wipe him off with the doggy-towel, I saw that he had something in his mouth. Now, please excuse me for sharing this, but Schubert eats doggy poop. His favorite is Piper's "recycled" Alpo (Schubert gets dry Iams). I assumed that the large chunk of dark brown stuff in his mouth was a big piece of that atrocious substance. I started to gag and try to plan how I would deal with it.

Schubert then deposited the chunk on the rug by the sliding glass door. It was not the shape of a piece of poop--it was flatter and more jagged. For a moment I relaxed. It must be a piece of mulch, I thought. Then, because of my near proximity due to the clean-off-the-muddy-paws stance, I noticed this: it was shinier than your everyday mulch. And more translucent. And, ummm, it had a thin little tail and two stiff little hind legs.

As the realization dawned on me that this thing in my house, on my RUG, was a dead mouse, I felt the panic rise. I started to gag and my leg muscles went into spasm. I started to hyper-ventilate, and then I started to build up into a scream. I tried self talk. "Self, " I said, "You do not need to scream. You need to hold it together and get that mouse out of here." My self said back to me, "I AM NOT GOING TO TOUCH THAT THING, NOT IN A MILLION, TRILLION YEARS!"

And I started to scream. I could not think rationally. Schubert picked up the dead rodent and moved it from the navy rug to the light colored wood floor where it was really visible. I screamed louder. I tried to run away, but I was afraid to leave, afraid he would pick it up again and put it somewhere else. Instead of finding my cell phone and calling my husband's cell, instead of even dialing his cell from our regular phone, I picked up the phone and dialed his office, where I had to go through a secretary to get him (how mortifying is that?).

Once I had him on the phone, although I was still screaming, gagging and crying, I was able to calm down a little and think. There is something grounding about just hearing the voice of someone who is not afraid in a situation like this. To his credit, he (kind of) offered to come home, but obviously I could not stay in the house with two dogs and a dead mouse for 25 minutes while he drove home.

The solution I found was to throw, from a distance, a generous number of paper towels to cover the dead creature (talking to Shawn the entire time in an attempt to retain my sanity). When I could no longer see it, and was reasonably certain that I could scoop up the paper towels without feeling what was inside, I was able to get the thing into the trash can in the mud room where it awaits a trip to the garbage can in the garage.

I am very discouraged that I screamed again. In a way it is funny. At least, I hope it is funny to someone, somewhere... and not totally despicable. But funny or not, I have to get control of this.

Schubert seems to be the root of the trouble. How I would love to give that dog away. But ultimately, it is not his fault. He is a dumb little puppy. I am a grown woman. I am the one who should know better.

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