Thursday, December 31, 2009

the year of the dog.

Listening To: Seize the Day by Carolyn Arends
Getting Ready to Watch: A bunch of handsome Volunteers strut out on the field and beat Virginia Tech in the Chick-fil-a bowl. Maybe. ;)

I had a different post planned for today. I was going to write about the new year,and some of the stuff that's happened this year. Tis the season. But yesterday still has me a little bit rattled.

I had planned on going to lunch with my college roommates yesterday. But when I woke up, my dog was acting funny. She wasn't even remotely hyper, which is rare. Usually when I wake up, Biscuit is sitting on the bed wagging her tail. When I sit up, she pounces toward me in her cute puffy way. (Some mornings she'll sneak up to the top of the bed and put her paw on my arm like, "Helloooo, wake up much?") But yesterday she kept sleeping. And sleeping. When she finally woke up to go outside, she staggered a little bit and looked up at me with her sad little eyes like something was up. She didn't want to play. Didn't want to run. She just wanted to sleep. As the morning crept past, I could tell she was pretty sick.

I couldn't get her in with the vet until 4:30 so that left a long time for me to sit around, snuggle my dog, and ... look around online to see what might be wrong with her.

Bad, bad idea.

I should know this. A few years ago, I was having a little bit of side pain. I decided to look up the possible cause on WebMD. The site might as well have flashed a skull and crossbones on the screen. I drove to the doctor with my hazards on thinking all sorts of crazy scenarios: like what if a crazy killer mosquito from the Nile River was swallowed by a frog, that snuck into the cargo area of an airplane, that made it across the ocean before being eaten by a very large bird, that barfed in my yard. And then I contracted a random strain of insectaflu that wiped out a village back in 1737 that starts with slight side pain but ends with my face melting off. (Diagnosis: gas)

My mind always jumps to the absolute worst conclusion. This is a condition most of the women in my family have. My granny was this way. My sister is this way. My cousin is this way (she called me once and said, "I dreamed you were in a bad wreck. Be careful today. Love you!") So it was a looong day of thinking the worst. At one point I was crying so hard Biscuit started licking the tears off my face. Which made me cry even harder.

Tears are one thing. Crazy is another. And I brought the crazy. This was the moment I knew I'd truly lost it (and this is graphic so skip a paragraph if poop talk isn't your thing): I took a little bit of Biscuit's poo to the vet b/c I thought it might help them figure out what was wrong. It was like a scene from CSI, getting the poo into the Ziplock bag. And I was kind of proud of myself for thinking of this. (I've seen Jurassic Park. That's what they do when the dinosaurs act funny - the look at the poo! Brilliant.)

So I ran into the vet's office waving the Ziploc around screaming, "I've got poop!"

The tech said nothing. But the look she gave me ... it was priceless.

"This is it," I said, flopping the bag down on the counter. "Her poop. I thought this might help you figure out what was wrong with her."

"Uh huh." The tech pushed the bag away from her with the tip of her pencil. "So when did she start acting funny?"

While I was trying to list all my dog's symptoms, Biscuit started feeling magically better. She was pulling on her leash, wagging her tail, sniffing all over the tile. The sniffing ... that is never good.

"Uh oh," I said. "I think my dog might..." I looked down just in time to see Biscuit pee in the floor. I apologized. Profusely.

The tech shrugged her shoulders. "It happens. Don't worry about it. I'll clean it up."

Very, very happily, the vet doesn't think it's anything serious. Biscuit had to get some antibiotic shots and IV fluids. When they gave her the IV, she put her head on my shoulder. It almost made me lose it again. I felt like I should explain to them that I'm sort of a sentimental person, and that Biscuit's the first pet I've had in a really long time, and that I'm so crazy about her. And I've been a little weepy this week for reasons I don't quite understand ... but all I could manage through my sniffles was, "I brought poop."

They didn't make fun of me or anything. I have a feeling the vet sees lots of crazies.

This morning, Biscuit has been more playful. When I fed her, she started jumping up and down. She's acting snugly again and wagging her tail. I, however, am still bringing the crazy. I've been following her around with water all day long saying, "It's wet ain't it? Drink it!*"

So that was yesterday, but I didn't just want to tell you about my dog. I wanted to tell you about my mom. Somehow on my way back from Knoxville last week (approximately a 2 hour trip), I contracted this weird sinus psycho funk: the sort of disease that feels like someone is blowing up a hot air balloon inside your brain. Then I passed it along to my parents (Merry Christmas, folks!). My mom came down with the hot-air-balloon-funk this week and, admittedly, she was hit the hardest. Her eyes are red and puffy. She's walking around with a box of tissues attached to her hand. Every sentence is punctuated with at least four sneezes. She's been in bed a lot trying to get rid of this thing.

And yet, when I was freaking out about my puppy, my mom kept telling me it would all be okay. When I was holding my dog, apologizing for being the world's worst pet owner, and crying like a little kid, my mom petted us both and told me I was a fabulous pet owner. She called the vet for me. Got Biscuit an appointment. And spent the rest of the day telling me to chill out.

This is the real kicker though: I ran to get a Ziplock bag and plastic-something-to-poke-with so I could get the CSI poo. When I got outside, Mom was already putting it into the Ziplock. That is love.

She went with me when I took Biscuit to the vet, even though she felt awful. And she paid for the vet visit too - which was so very kind. It was not a cheap. And after all that, after my mom saw me cry, and throw a bag of poop onto the check-in counter, and keep apologizing to my dog like as though Biscuit would actually talk back to me ... after all that my mom actually said: "You'll be a great mom someday."

To which I replied, "Are you kidding?! I would be an awful mother! I would be paranoid 24/7."

I would be the kind of parent that makes a kid wear six layers of bubble wrap to school. That wouldn't let them get toys out of quarter machines because I worry there might be needles in there. My friends who have babies swear they aren't paranoid freaks by the time the second kid comes along, but I'm sure I would break the mold. If I'm this wacky with a dog, imagine what I would be like with a kid.

It was a weird way to end the year, but it ended up giving me something cooler to reflect on than my achievements and semi-attainable goals: the people I love. I'm so grateful for family and friends who love me and help me through little, and big, emergencies. Who don't tease me when I cry. Who laugh with me at inside jokes. Who love me.

My favorite song is a song called "How Could I Ask for More" by Cindy Morgan. Mostly because of this lyric:

So many things I thought would bring me happiness,
some dreams that are realities today,
such an irony the things that mean the most to me,
are the memories that I've made along the way.

The best part of 2009 was loving and being loved. I am so grateful I sometimes get to write books (I love doing that) and see cool places and unravel all the dreams tangled up inside my heart. But more than anything, I'm thankful God loves me even when I screw up. I'm thankful my parents are helping me navigate adulthood (even though I'm doing it rather suckily). I'm thankful for friends who lock arms with me and pull me through all the lonely places. I'm thankful for siblings who make me laugh and a niece and nephew who make life so fun. And I'm thankful for a little fuzzy dog who kisses my tears away.

I hope 2010 is something special. There are some big dreams I'm shooting for but, even if I miss them completely, I'll still know I'm loved. And that makes me feel like the luckiest girl in the world.

Here's to the 'aughts :) And here's to all the memories we'll make along the way.

Happy New Year!

* I kid. That's a quote from Goonies.


  1. AWH :)
    wow. this is so pretty. I always think of the worst possible situation. I'm glad that I'm not the only one :) But it just goes to show how insanely lost we would be without God guiding us in the right direction.
    I'm glad Biscuit was okay though :) that makes me really happy.
    :) Happy New Year! :)

  2. My mom does the exact same thing. She had this big medical book that was falling apart, and anytime we were sick (or she was), she would go to looking through this book. It used to completely freak me out, especially when I knew the situation wasn't serious, LOL. Once I hid the book. She found it, but now she goes online. Anyway, I'm glad Biscuit is feeling better. =)
    Happy New Year!


  3. Okay, so this is SUCH a nerdy quote (is nerdy even a sufficient description?) but oh well: "I laughed, I cried; it moved me, Bob."


    I have so done that before; for a time, I scared myself into thinking I had leukemia.. :-/ It turned out to be nothing serious, but it was a horrible few weeks.

    I'm so glad Biscuit is feeling better!

    (btw, I work at Chick-fil-a haha)

    I hope you all have a wonderful New Year! God bless!

    ~Kimmy (aka RT)

  4. Hey, Natalie!

    We are a lot alike. My poodle is my best friend. I call her "sister". I love her so much. The second anything is out of the ordinary, I'm convinced she's really sick. That's partially because the dog we had before her was perfectly healthy for 8 years and then one day started throwing up. She didn't stop until she died 6 weeks later. So if Mitsi's eating habits change in the slightest, if her toenail catches in the carpet and she has to walk on 3 legs for a couple of days (happened in June), or if she randomly throws up because that's what dogs do, I lose it. I'm about to move 90 minutes away and have to leave Mitsi at my parents' house. It's going to kill me.

    You're not alone! I'd do the "poop" thing too. Sounds like Biscuit has an incredible Mommy who really loves her. You're watching out for her--that's a great thing. We'll work on staying calm together. :0)

    Happy New Year!

  5. Happy New Year Natalie!
    I'm so glad Biscuit is feeling better! I know how tramatizing it is when a pet is sick, so I'm glad the worst is over. :)


  6. This cracked me up: I would be the kind of parent that makes a kid wear six layers of bubble wrap to school.

    I'm so glad your 09 ended on a happy note. This story's intro had me scared for a bit.

    Happy new year! Here's to a great 2010.

  7. Emily, Happy New Year to you too! (And your sweet family :)

    Kristin, your comment made me laugh. Kudos to you for hiding the book ;)

    Kimmy/RT, I'm so glad you were okay! But I've so been there. I don't watch the show House b/c I kept thinking I had all the diseases the patients on there had ... :) That's super fun that you work at Chick-fil-a! I'm a fan! :)

    Kristen, it makes me feel so much better that somebody else would "do the poop thing" :)! I asked her when I left if anybody else did that ... I think my sanity was slowly returning. She assured me people did it all the time. So sad you have to leave your dog :( Maybe eventually you can take her with you? Thanks for volunteering to help me maintain calmness. It is a difficult task ..

    Frannie, thank you so much! Happy new Year to you too!

    Jen, Happy New Year to you too! I can't wait to read all your awesome 2010 books :)

  8. I love sooo much that you have Biscuit to love to pieces! And you do a great job at it. ;) I hope you have a good 2010....and I hope Biscuit is up to par quickly. We can't have you crying and collecting poop for weeks and weeks!

  9. I also love that song, Natalie! Every time it comes on the local Christian station late at night I cry. I want to be able to look back on the full life that God has given me and ask myself the same question. :)

  10. Thanks Mel :) I don't want to collect anymore poop either. She seems to be back to her usual level of crazyspunk. As far as 2010 - I cannot WAIT for our mutual birthday festivities! :)

    sunnydaydreamer, I'm so with you! That song feels new every time I hear it. It means more to me every year. I love songs like that.

  11. hahahahahaha

    if it makes you feel better, we have had to get a poo sample for the vet before. They didn't think you were crazy.

    happy new year!

  12. How did I miss this post?! I swear Blogger has a conspiracy going to keep me from reading your updates!

    Like Jenny said above, this blog's intro had me worried...but I am so glad everything turned out ok! In fact if I'm being perfectly honest here I teared up, because I've been there too with my pets and I DON'T handle it well. So I can relate 100%. Well almost 100%, since I'm a cat person and Biscuit is a dog.


  13. Thank you jimmythisisnot! That makes me feel better :)

    Ruth, thanks so much for understanding! It's so hard to see a pet sick and then to go to the vet all freaked out. It's good to know I'm not the only person who goes sentimental :) Hugs to you too!