When some people get divorced, they celebrate. Others cry. Others do OK overall but occasionally have a fit of hysteria in which they fear they will turn into one of those old women who live alone with lots of pets. Or one of those women living in a box on the street. These women usually only have one to two of these fits over the course of a year and usually on nights when they are trying to fall asleep and are sleep deprived, stressed and/or have watched too many sad movies. And, their fears are totally unfounded because they are good at what they do, career-wise, and have a loving, supportive family.
Not that I’d know. I, of course, don’t fall into that latter group.
But if I did . . . I’d probably indulge in the fear that I become a crazy dog lady. Seeing as I’m already on my way. So to speak. And of course, this is all hypothetical, people.
Regular readers of my blog know that we rescued a dog in December. Bailey is the love of our lives (my two sons and I) but comes with the scars of a rescue dog. We’ve been working with her to help her be more trusting and relaxed.
This translates into me, in essence, coaching her through irrational emotional behaviors caused by abuse and/or neglect earlier in life. Or so the trainer tells me. I’m the doggie Dr. Phil, sans the Texas swagger.
Prior to Bailey’s arrival, when I walked around the block, I may have said hello to my neighbors and stopped to chat, but generally a small smile for the fellow walkers I did not know would suffice.
Not anymore. I’m still friendly with the neighbors, but I’ve now become friendly with ALL of my fellow walkers, in a way that I’m sure probably creeps them out.
If I know someone and approach them smiling and speaking, Bailey will welcome them with wagging tail. If someone is approaching us and I do not greet them and reach out somehow, all hell breaks loose. Bailey becomes very protective and is sure she is the only thing between us and this approaching Armageddon. Growling, barking and lunging commence at a feverish pitch, and my biceps/triceps get the workout of a century. (I am nothing if not an optimist. I see the bright side.) My little bundle of joy, at 70-some pounds of pure muscle, can be a bit—hmmm—off-putting.
To avoid said situation, I now call out to my fellow walkers when they’re a football field away. And generally continue my chatter until they’re well out of sight. And I can see in their eyes either delighted surprise at my vehement friendliness, or the opposite reaction. They’re thinking: Crazy. Dog. Lady.
Add to my demeanor that I’ve usually got an odd fashion accessory hanging out of the waistband of my—alas–pocket-less pants and you have a woman who looks like she’s talking to herself, while smiling overenthusiastically, with a doggie doo-doo bag hanging out of her pants. Oh, and the icing on the cake? She’s reaching out as if to touch you. And that’s when you notice her well-toned biceps. (Had to throw that in there. I’m an optimist, remember?)
As if all of this were not enough, I talk to Bailey now as if she can understand the nuances of every word. If you’ve ever seen the movie Beginners, Ewan McGregor talks to his deceased father’s dog as if they’re holding a human conversation. And the dog speaks back via subtitles. Bailey and I could have been the understudies.
That said, I’m sure people who hear me telling Bailey not to eat the horse manure on the forest trail because it will make her sick, explaining to her why it’s not nice to bark at babies in strollers and asking her what she is sniffing in the grass, might think I’m a bit off my rocker.
Crazy. Dog. Lady.
Thank goodness I’m not one of those neurotic women who worries about these kinds of things.