Super Dog and G-Man

Today I am posting a children’s short story about a boy and his dog. You could call this the prologue, I suppose. I will write more stories that chronicle the adventures in detail, from the beginning. As a writer, I have several interests. This blog has really helped get my writing out there in a way that would be otherwise relegated to a few close friends and family. I am currently working on finishing a novel that has been in the works for nearly ten years. I will have a completed manuscript by the end of spring and ready to begin the rejection process, um… submission process, starting in the summer. I hope to have some excerpts from that book up very soon, though probably to lead to a separate blog since the content is not exactly relevant to The Tomboy Mommy. I hope you enjoy this prologue and look forward to bringing you more in The Adventures of Super Dog & G-Man.

Super Dog & G-Man

Super Dog sat languishing in boredom, feeling rather perplexed by the human affinity for idleness. She was aware that some breeds of domesticated canines possessed a similar sense, if not downright obsession, with doing positively nothing- outside of eating and relieving themselves on their person’s rug. Super Dog never really saw the appeal. She had always been a Super Dog in her own mind and spent the majority of her waking hours, which were many, convincing her One True Person of that very fact. Super Dog’s person had a partner that shared everything with her, and though her partner was good, he was not Super Dog’s OTP. She and her OTP went hiking together, running together, walking together and truly just enjoying their mutual respect of all things outside. They were inseparable.  But one day her person started to smell differently. She walked in and the smell almost knocked Super Dog over.

A few days went by and the smell intensified. Slowly, Super Dog began to see her OTP behave differently as well. She smelled happier, but in a way that Super Dog had never sensed before. Her other person smelled happier too, but he didn’t carry that thick odor that seemed to pour out of her OTP. And then the real changes came. Her one true person started smelling a lot like throw up, and the strange smell became even stronger and the happy smell was stronger than strong, though it did seem to ebb some as her OTP had her head in that thing that she usually sat on.

Most of all was the way her OTP began to swell. The swelling coincided with the intensification of the strange smell. Sometimes her OTP smelled a little scared but those were usually wafts rather than full on aromas. Months went by and she began to slow down a little. Where they used to go for runs, they now walked, and didn’t go on their adventures. Super Dog found herself as idle as she had ever remembered being. But this was a new adventure, just staying by her OTP’s side day and night. Something about her made it necessary that Super Dog protect and be there for her. The happy smell was beginning to strengthen into excitement now and Super Dog knew something was coming. And then it did.

The strange smell that had been intensifying over the months was gone and in its place was a smell that almost knocked Super Dog over. It was the smell of her OTP’s happiness so amplified, Super Dog thought she might actually wet the carpet for the first time since she was a puppy. Wrapped in that happiness was what she knew must be the source of the strange smell. The smell was no longer coming from inside her OTP. She now held it in her arms and instantly, Super Dog knew she would follow that smell anywhere and protect it at all costs.

G-Force, G-Man didn’t remember being born, nor did he remember coming home. Those first few weeks were a blur. He could smell his mother and recognized her voice somehow. His father had a distinctly different and less intense smell, but was just as reassuring. There was another smell that coincided with moistness to the face but he was unable to figure out what that one was. As his world matured, G-Man began to take for granted those sights and smells around him. He figured out that the other smell and subsequent moist face came from this person that was really hairy and she was always licking his face. There she was when he was in his bouncer. She was there, just outside his crib. She was there when he was doing tummy time. And she was there when he was learning to roll over. She was there when he began crawling and she was there in a particularly helpful way when he began pulling up. When he started walking she gave him a soft place to land. He learned her name was Super Dog and like most things that used to be his mom’s, was now his.

G-man sat under the ancient elm tree in his backyard, with his back resting against the enormous trunk. Three children could sit side by side with their backs against that tree and face one direction, but usually it was just his while Super Dog sat curled up next to him, her face resting on his legs. This was their spot to cool off after their adventures or just before to strategize. G-Man could never recall a time that Super Dog was not by his side. He had no brothers or sisters and other than Super Dog, he was an only child. She stole his toys, sat on his head and did an overall excellent job at being an older sibling. What G-Man did know about Super Dog is that she used to be his mom’s. His mom would tell him stories about their adventures and what an indispensable companion Super Dog was. Every so often G-Man would catch a glimpse of his mom watching him and Super Dog playing from the window. He thought she missed having Super Dog as her own, but G just couldn’t give her up. Besides, he didn’t think that Super Dog would leave him anyway. He wanted his own adventures with her, to go with the stories his mom had.

Super Dog sat with her head resting on G’s leg under her favorite shade tree. The act of resting one’s face in a human’s lap was the truest form of trust and affection. This, however, was not Super Dog’s only motivation. Shy of sitting on him, it was one of the few ways to momentarily keep G-Force, G-Man out of trouble. She should have expected such an offspring from her OTP. It never occurred to her that the strange smell those few years ago would develop into this. Whether he was covered in dirt or peanut butter, he smelled the same and she could always find him, not that she ever let him out of her sight. Though she missed her OTP, she could sense how happy it made her that she took such good care of G-Man. The hardest was when her OTP was scratching her ears, and Super Dog had to get up to follow G-Man out of the room. The smell of pride and disappointment was hard to take, but G-Man could not be trusted alone for more than a second.

Soon after G-Man learned to walk, Super Dog let him toddle into the kitchen alone. He found a sack of flour and covered not only himself but the entire kitchen in less than five minutes. Her OTP was mad and amused and took lots of pictures before washing him up and sending him into the den with her. Super Dog could never understand how humans could feel so many things at once. One emotion at a time was quite enough for her. Dogs were so much easier to understand in that way. When they were happy, they were happy. When they were mad they were mad. They had the good sense to never mix the two. She figured humans would fight a lot less if they had the decency to feel one thing at a time. That was one thing Super Dog loved about G-Man. He hadn’t developed that annoying trait unique to humans. Children cried when they were sad, laughed when they were happy and pooped when they felt like it; though Gray was currently trying to shake the latter. From the smell of things he had failed again.

Their adventures took a different shape from that with her OTP, but no less eventful. If there was one thing Super Dog loved more than anything it was playing catch with her ball. G could throw for hours and she was happy to retrieve it every time. One day he threw it and it rolled away where she could not see it. She sniffed around, tracing from where it hit the ground and began rolling. When she finally found it beneath some brush, and turned to take it back, G-Man was gone. Forgetting to even drop the ball from her mouth, Super Dog darted to the last place she saw him and began tracking him immediately. Since he rarely went anywhere in a straight line, this was harder than one might expect from a canine of Super Dog’s reputation. When still she could not discern a reliable sent, she ran to her OTP and barked furiously. They searched together for what seemed like hours in mommy and dog time, but what would equate to minutes in real time. They found him behind a tree digging a hole with a stick. Super Dog barked at him furiously which did not even remotely convey the distress she felt. Her OTP reeked of anger or fear, it was hard to tell the difference with humans. G-Man was clearly confused as to what all the fuss was about. Super Dog hated herself for getting distracted by that ball. She couldn’t smell it on her, but Super Dog couldn’t help but think she had disappointed her OTP. G didn’t even smell the least bit guilty.

Super Dog sat at G-Mans feet as he played a video game. She was glad he was sitting still a little more lately. Sure, he was still very active, but she couldn’t seem to keep up quite as well. Was he getting faster? His legs were certainly longer. He started smelling differently lately too. What was that smell? It was stronger, similar to her OTP’s partner, but not quite as intense yet. He only seemed to be aware of Super Dog as a companion when he absent mindedly rested his elbow on her back as he worked the controller of his game. Occasionally he would throw her ball, and since she was only game for a few chases, his attention span suited her just fine. She tagged along as he played football at the park and waited for him still when he got off the bus. The other day he ran out the door and let it close before she could follow him. She stood at the door, waiting for him to realize she didn’t make it out the door with him. Her OTP came up behind her and patted her head and Super Dog could smell the sympathy. She followed her OTP back into the living room and sat at her feet where she could still keep an eye on the door. She hated when he forgot her. It seemed to happen more and more frequently these days. Super Dog’s OTP got up and grabbed a leash from the hook by the door. At least she got to spend more time with her OTP when G forgot her. Their walks were all that remained of their adventures.

G-Man knew he was spending less time with Super Dog. She couldn’t really keep up anymore and it seemed to exhaust her to try. He took her running a couple of times but she was so lethargic after, that he couldn’t do it to her. There was something about knowing that she was there while he was on the computer or watching his shows. His girlfriend really liked her. Super Dog often kept in between them to the point he had to push Super Dog out of the way. The hardest part was keeping her out of his car. It was like she could smell when he was going to leave. He loved having her sitting in the seat next to him, her head hanging out the window. She always drew attention from girls, so there was that added bonus of taking her along.

Super Dog couldn’t keep up with G-Man at all anymore. She didn’t even try these days. She staid next to her OTP, followed her to the kitchen, the bathroom, the bedroom, but waited at the door while she went to get the mail. G would come and curl up next to her on the floor from time to time. She could smell the sadness on all of them and wondered why they were all so sad when they came around her. He would sometimes cry while he laid next to her. The only way she could console him was to turn her head and lick his face like she used to. His smells had become far too complex for her to read them all, but she knew sadness. It was all around her these days. She was too tired to do much. Occasionally she couldn’t even make it outside in time. She was so ashamed of herself, especially when she could smell the frustration coming from her OTP. It always subsided quickly back into sadness though.

Super Dog never went anywhere anymore. It was too hard to get up and impossible to get in the car unless someone lifted her in. Today was one of those days. The smell of sadness was almost too strong for Super Dog to endure, especially in the closed confines of the car. They got out at the place that she went sometimes where there were the smells of dogs and cats and fear and happiness and sickness. They had to help her in and she knew there was something different about this visit. They stood around her crying and hugging her, lying on top of her. She wanted to make them feel better, but she couldn’t even lift her head. Why was she so tired? Why did this smell like good-bye? They all squeezed her one more time and left the room except her OTP. It was just the two of them and the one that smelled of sick and something that smelled like sadness but not real sadness. That one left the room and it was just she and OTP. Super Dog definitely smelled good-bye and really, had to admit that she knew it was time. She couldn’t take care of them anymore, couldn’t go on anymore adventures. Super Dog laid her head in OTP’s lap and closed her eyes, smelling the love that exuded from her OTP until she was overcome by it. It smelled of, I love you. Good-bye. It smelled of a new adventure.

Good Mourning

New ImageToday I’m spending my day saying goodbye to a long time friend- my 15 year old dog, Atticus.

Atticus came to me from a friend who had a stray roaming their rural neighborhood. Residents had been shooting at him to get him to stay out of their trash and she came to his rescue. I had an “only child” pug/boxer mix that was my first dog as an adult. Atticus, a black lab mix, showed up skin and bones, full of buck shot and heart worms, and as scared and submissive as I’ve ever seen a dog… and thus began my pack. Where Baxter demanded every ounce of my attention and a raised tone in his direction was effectively ignored, Atticus didn’t have the audacity to request any attention and the slight inflection of my voice sent him hunkering beneath a table. Much to Baxter’s chagrin, I would sit with Atticus and he would gratefully lay his head in my lap and sigh.

I spent the first few weeks squeezing buck shot out of Atticus’ skin and offering him food. He ate voraciously and even 15 years later, never turned down a meal, always retaining the stray mentality of eating when food was available. That is until today. This wasn’t a surprise, cortisone shots and Bufferin have sustained him the last couple of months, bought me some more time with him. We’ve been walking in that grey area of, when is the right time to let him go.
I had made that decision 2 years before for a 13 year old Baxter. We had a third partner in crime in our pack, Jack, a yellow lab, that came a year after Atticus. Those three boys got me through my tumultuous twenties. Jackie passed tragically, in my arms, but Baxter and now Atticus will pass peacefuly in my arms.

Atticus is the last of my boys, my family before I was married, before I had my son, before this pregnancy. For the first time since I got Baxter, 16 years ago, I will have only one dog in my mixed family of humans and canines. We got Jane the Super Dog 5 years ago and though I adore her, the bond is different. I don’t rely on her to fulfill all of my emotional needs like I did my boys. I was married when I got her, I’ve had a son and another on the way. She has gotten to be a dog where Baxter, Atticus and Jack were my world, my partners and children. Jane is usually a very pushy dog and cannot stand if Atticus is being petted, shoving him away to usurp the attention. Today though she lays in the other room, leaving me to sit on the floor next to Atticus while I type this. Jane will be happy to be an only dog and will be disgruntled when we bring home another, because eventually, we will.

Atticus is the last vestige of my life before I allowed others into my emotional world. The last of my teachers who showed me how to trust another human. After all these years together, Atticus still does not have the audacity to demand attention, except on occasion, still winces at a raised voice and still retains a couple pieces of buck shot that never worked their way out. How metaphorical for me, how lucky I am to have an example of loving and letting in despite the scars.

So now we wait for his four o’clock appointment, alone together, while my husband and son are at swim lessons. I love my human family, but I was raised by dogs. They each, with their different personalities, taught me more about being human than most humans I have met. I’ve explained to my 2 year old son that Atticus will be leaving. His response is, “I can’t miss Atticus, mommy”. When he doesn’t want to do something he says he can’t. I just look back into his concerned little eyes and say, “I can’t miss him either, baby”. That would be too small of a word to describe not only saying good-bye to Atticus, but to Baxter and Jack all over again. I love you, Atticus. Tell Baxter and Jackie I say hello.

Kitty litter and dog snacks

I’m not sure how it happened, but I’m a stay at home mom, though I should make an aside here- I am not a housewife. Housewives clean and contribute to the household in some significant manner. I figure I paid my dues by gestating and delivering an entire human being from my body, the least Doug can do is earn a living for our family and clean up after us. I occasionally try to do something around the house, even if that’s just taking a shower so I don’t stink when Doug gets home. I really try to delegate household chores and since Gray is your typical toddler that is too self absorbed to consider taking on a few responsibilities, I have to find others to whom I must assign certain household tasks. I have found a way to accomplish an undesirable household chore through delegation and since I haven’t figured out how to present it on Pinterest yet, I will explain it here.

 Our pets are free loaders that have done nothing to earn free room and board except to comfort and entertain us and we ask very little of them outside of requiring they don’t poop on the floor-and let’s be honest, we really even tolerate that. Cats at least go in a litter box, but really we’re just storing up their pee and poop for safe keeping until such a time that one of the family members outlasts the other in being affected by the smell. Here’s where I always win and thereby delegate the task of cleaning the cat box. Jane the Super Dog often caves before I do. Now, don’t act all disgusted, because you know it’s a load off when your dog eats the cat poop. It’s not the way I would have chosen to dispose of the cat litter, but I try not to micromanage when delegating unwanted chores. I act all put out when I catch her doing it, but quickly realize what a service she has done for the family. Jane is pulling her weight and why should I be so ungrateful as to chastise her for doing so? When she throws it up on the carpet later, Atticus gets to pitch in and clean up that mess. Again, avoiding hovering over my employees, I allow it. The modern stay at home mom cannot be expected to be all things to all people. She must delegate and insist that those around contribute to the household as well.
 Next week we will discuss letting the dog take out the bathroom trash. Ladies, you know what I’m talking about.