There are many distinct advantages to having a dog vs. having a child. For instance, when your child is misbehaving and you just can’t take it anymore, sticking them in a crate for six hours while you get some much needed “me” time usually results in “jail” time. Likewise, it is frowned upon by authorities to hit your kid with a newspaper (and/or a September Vogue when they’ve been a VERY BAD BOY!) or to rub their face in their own feces to get your point across. Not to mention, have you ever seen a toddler sit and stay upon command? Without the assistance of duct tape, that is?
But the one area where dogs don’t have a distinct advantage? Sickness. Specifically the flu (or whatever the dog-version of the flu is, which is what I suspect my dog Buffy currently has). Because when either one gets sick, it’s pretty much the same scenario for the caregiver–
You will spend at least the next 24 hours cleaning up every manner of vile substances that can squeeze (and/or explode) itself out every orifice imaginable from their tiny bodies.
Which is why my Tuesday thus far has consisted of:
Taking my dog outside so he can poop.
Taking my dog outside again so he can poop.
Cleaning up the vomit I discovered after I got out of the shower.
Taking my dog outside again so he can have an explosive case of diarrhea and then immediately dragging my dog to the bathroom without having his backside touch anything (Note: I was unsuccessful).
Throwing said dog who has an intense hatred of baths into the tub so I could cut out his butt fur that had been tainted with said diarrhea.
Scrubbing his backside in case I missed any of the tainted butt fur.
Trying to get him back into the tub after he escaped and then rinsing him off as his wet body clings to mine with a strength I honestly didn’t think his 32-pound body could possibly possess.
Disinfecting the tub and bathroom floor with the butt fur and diarrhea remains.
Cleaning up all the other areas where he decided to spontaneously sit while being dragged to the bathroom.
Scrubbing my hands for 45 minutes until they bled and then sitting by the water bowl trying to coax Buffy to take a drink since I know I have personally just cleaned up every single ounce of liquid his body could possibly hold.
And that pretty much brings us up to date, with my exhausted dog cuddled up next to me on the couch as I sporadically check to make sure he’s still breathing while I type this and the vet’s number queued up on my phone in case he gets any worse.
Now, I could be angry about this situation. Or at least unhappy. Or at the very least starting to question what horrific life decisions I had made that had led me up to this point where I spend the majority of my Tuesday scrubbing a dog’s butt.
But I’m not. Because as it turns out, this couldn’t have happened at a better time considering I woke this morning to the Facebook announcement of yet another person in my circle happily proclaiming that they’re pregnant. A proclamation, I’m not proud to admit, that made me irrationally mad.
See, after my first pregnancy ended in a miscarriage in October, my husband and I have started to try to conceive again, which has yet to be successful and which is subconsciously bringing up some of those horrible feelings we dealt with this fall. And which is why instead of being happy for couples who are expecting like I should, I react with:
“But that’s not fair! They already have kids! And now they get another one? Like it’s just so easy to get pregnant! How dare they! How dare they be so happy when I’m not! How dare it be so easy for them when it’s not for me!”
Like I said, irrationally mad. And exceedingly unfair to the happy couple, I know.
But after today, I realize it’s probably a lot harder (and a lot more anxiety-inducing) to deal with a sick kid. Or to deal with even a healthy kid. Because poop-covered-fur-cutting-out aside, my dog is pretty self-sufficient no matter what the circumstances. And if I was dealing with a sick kid, I wouldn’t be able to drink this vodka I’m currently holding in my hand.
So, I’m holding onto that for right now, because I need to hold onto something other than the disappointment of getting my period yet again. And for right now, it’s enough to just try to find the upside of only being responsible for the life of a dog, a creature that has more instincts for self-preservation than a toddler who thinks sticking a fork into a light socket sounds like a downright dandy idea.
And to try to remember that there is always next month, which, of course, is easier said than done, but hey, it’s something.