Neurodiversity Awareness/Appreciation

Neurodiversity Awareness/Appreciation

Friday, August 1, 2014

Here I Am Dogsitting

Hi everyone! Hey, second post in three days... I'm getting back into my groove!
Today I've got a temporary job taking care of the dogs of some people I know from volunteering. I'm staying in their house with the dogs while they're on vacation. I've actually watched their dogs a bunch of times. They foster dogs, so usually every time I come here there is at least one different dog! 

One summer, I got to take care of a mother black lab and her litter of adorable new puppies. The first time I watched them, they were only a week old and were like little gerbils! The second time, they were bigger, and I could get into the whelping box with them and they would jump all over me and lick me and bite me!

Another summer, they had rescued a stray yellow lab puppy while they were on vacation in Texas. They had found her in a trap in the park, and when they'd tried to get help, they'd been told that there was no room in any local animal shelters and that the puppy would most likely be euthanized. So they brought him back to Chicago with them, and fostered him with our rescue organization until they found a good home for him. I got to babysit him for a few days. He was such a big, happy puppy!

Another time there were two adorable shih tzus (You pronounce it shih-zoo, not shit-zoo, by the way... I learned that the hard way!) who were not potty trained yet and had to wear diapers around the house. They were so cute and cuddly!

And yet another time there was Tuffy, a very large Yorkie mix who had anxiety issues. He was actually the first dog to ever bite me. When I'd first came to watch him, he'd been barking and growling at me like crazy, so I'd just ignored him and gave him space, and eventually came over and let me pet him and we became great friends. So that day he was actually happy to see me, and we knew each other and everything. But it was time to take him outside to pee, and I had to reach under his chin to clip the leash to his collar, and that's when he bit me! He just startled easily. Someone must have hurt him badly in the past, because even when he liked people he could never 100% trust them, 

Most of the times, there was also Reggie, who the couple started out fostering but ended up adopting. Sometimes they take him with them on vacations and leave the foster dogs behind, and other times they leave him behind as well, depending on how welcome a dog would be wherever they are going. 

This time they've left Reggie here. He is a very cute, smart  Bichon poodle mix. He is feeling very sad because his mommy and daddy are gone. He keeps walking to the door and staring at it, and just wandering around with a sad look on his face. I've been trying to keep him distracted by playing fetch with him a lot. It is his favorite game... inside, you throw his Kong toy down the hallway and he brings it back Outside, you throw his little bouncy ball with a Chuck-It. He could do that for hours!

Usually he sleeps in bed with his mommy and daddy, so I was trying to get him to sleep in the guest bedroom with me, but he wouldn't set foot in there. He just kept walking into the couple's bedroom and peering in sadly. So I brought some blankets out to the living room and slept on the floor, and we had a slumber party!

The other dog I'm watching is a new dog they started out fostering and ended up adopting. Her name is Poppi, and she's a very tiny little Papillon mix. She's sweet and timid, and spends most of the time either cuddled up in her little dog bed, or sitting in your lap. Last night I had moved her bed into the guest room in order to try to coax her to stay, but she wouldn't go in there either, so she joined us at our living room sleepover. This morning after I took them out and fed them, I heard her barking from the kitchen. She hardly ever barks, so I thought something must be wrong! But it turned out, she was barking because she wanted her bed to be moved back into the kitchen!

This is actually good practice for living on my own. I have to be alone and be okay with it. It isn't that I am afraid to be alone, like that something would happen. Its just loneliness. Although I'm an introvert and most of the things I enjoy doing only require one person (it would be hard to blog together or read a book together, for example) I do like the comfort of having someone else near by. This is one of the biggest obstacles for me when I do live alone. No matter how much time I spend at work or other activities, at night I would have to come home to a quiet, empty house, and eat dinner in silence. Well except for talking to my dogs! 

When I was younger, I would even have panic attacks when I was in the house alone! It was one reason why I loved to be outside, and why as a teenager I would have rather roam the streets from sunup to sundown than spend a single hour in my house alone. Outside, even alone, I was much calmer. Inside, I would feel like the emptiness was closing in around me, choking me, like the air was made of pudding instead of oxygen. 

I have always thought I was weird for not being able to tolerate this. But then the other day in the store I noticed several people who were walking around the store talking on their Bluetooths, and I thought to myself, maybe that is why technology has come so far. First someone invented telephones, so they could talk to others even while they were alone in their house. Then they invented car phones, so they could talk to others while they were driving in their cars. Then came pagers, so they could be reached anywhere, followed by cell phones, so they could be reached even more conveniently everywhere. We learned to text, so that we could communicate even in places where we weren't supposed to be communicating, such as in the movie theater or in the middle of class. The Bluetooth was invented so that people could literally have a phone to their ear at all times, a friend or family member's voice only the push of a button away. 

Maybe everyone hates to be alone. 

I don't know whether others panic like I used to, or if they just actively prevent that from happening by keeping their technology plugged in all the time. In that case I probably spend more time "alone" than others, because I don't use a blue tooth and rarely talk to people on the phone. (I actually don't really like talking on the phone very much... it is weird to speak with a disembodied voice. Plus there is too much pressure to think of something to say at all times. Like you can't just suddenly stop and think, because the other person would be like, "Hello? Are you there? Can you hear me now?" But I digress...)

I don't know where I was going with that thought. Just sort of musing. The main point is, I'm dogsitting, and I'm realizing that being alone isn't so terrifying... at least not when doggies are with you! Tonight Lily is coming over to join our sleepover!

On an unrelated note, any of you who existed in the 80's or early 90's might have heard this song on Sesame Street called "The Same Voice" or "My Name Is You." I used to love that video when I was a kid! I was thinking about it last night for some reason, and I decided to look it up on the trusty Google, and I found it! I love it even now... 

My Name Is You

A school in Wisconsin did their own version of it which is also so sweet.

And that is all for now. I guess I will go play fetch outside with Reggie! See ya later!


  1. I could be very happy living alone with my dog and 6 cats! Without them, I'd be a basket case!

  2. Nice to see you back! And you're *never* alone when you've got a dog around. :)


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