I like to think of myself as a patient, mild-temper human being. A graceful woman. Loving. Kind to all of God’s creatures. A heavy sleeper.
But. That. Dog.
She waits until my head nods and my eyelids droop. I’m on a cloud. I’m at peace. Then, just before I fall sweetly into dreamland, I’m shot awake by a sudden burst of activity erupting from the crate across the room.
*Scratch. Scratch-scratch. Scratch-scratch-scratch!*
This is when I—a grown, intelligent human being—begin a battle-of-the-will against an animal the size of a pound cake.
Every night, I begin by shushing her. It never works, but I do it anyway because I like control. I desire control. I have no control, so I shush louder.
*Scratch, scratch. Scratch-scratch-scratch!*
For a moment, I think I’ve won. I let out a victorious hmph!, roll over smugly, and drift back to sleep.
Next, my entire body spasms with a terror that splinters through me to my teeth; the kind of fright that comes with being awaken from a REM cycle without my consent.
What commences is what I like to call: Doggy Tantrum Part 2.
Quickly followed by: Rebekah Tantrum Level-36x.
“LISTEN HERE, DOG, YOU’VE GONE OUT AND POOED AND PEED. YOU CAN NOT TELL ME THAT YOU NEED TO GO AGAIN. NOW SHUT IT AND GO TO SLEEP!!”
I’ll attempt to fall back asleep. Perhaps I can ignore her. Then, she’ll startle me into heart attack #2. Heart racing, I’ll grab a pillow or stuffed animal and chuck it at the crate.
A good smack on the crate and she’ll go right to sleep. We’ve trained each other in this manner. She whines to go out. If she’s already been out, I’ll let her know we’re done by a smack on the crate.
We communicate in a special way.
Except I missed. So she continues to scratch and dig. I throw something a little bigger, and miss. More noise. I throw a large stuffed lion. I throw my pillow. I throw one of those three-foot-long BODY PILLOWS, all miss.
I curse at my aim and smack the mattress.
All I accomplished was creating the perfect pillow-barricade for her little crate.
Finally, I give up, get out of bed, scoop up my pillow-ammo, toss it back on the mattress (for later), and let the dog out. I’ll stand outside with her, typically in the cold, and watch, like an angry warden, to make sure this trip wasn’t made in vain.
Kiki is the happiest dog. She’ll run this way, and that way, tail wagging, toothpick legs flying. When she sniffs around, I feel relieved to know she wasn’t just toying with my sanity, that she indeed needed to go.
Without peeing, she finishes sniffing and scurries to my side. She licks my calf and wags her tail, and looks up at me with those big black saucer eyes and dumbo ears.
I look down at her. “What?”
My face shows disgust. “You’re cute.”
*hops around excitedly, full bottom wiggling*
*runs up the stairs and runs circles in front of the door*
I sigh and let her in. She marches happily back into her crate. I crawl under my bedsheets and fall asleep, then my body spasms in fright.
She whines and scratches again.
“I’m going to kill her. . .” I groan.
I start by shushing her, loudly. It never works.
** NO ANIMALS WERE HARMED IN THE MAKING OF THIS POST. ANIMALS GET LOVE AND CUDDLES. HUMANS ARE THE ONES WHO REQUIRE PSYCHOLOGICAL EVALUATION. **