kinds of drugs and its side effects

Catching Happiness

This past week, I was feeling a little sorry for myself. I wanted to buy myself something nice for my birthday but decided I was too broke even to get the new tennis shoes I need.

I was wallowing.

I do that. I’m a wallower. I try not to wallow in public too much, so as not to get a reputation for walking around with a cloud over my head, but mild misery is my default mode. My comfort zone.

Joe Btfsplk

Joe Btfsplk. If you’re as old as I am, you’ll remember him.

Then I thought about last year’s birthday. Talk about misery. I had made a commitment to say farewell to Frankie in a week, on November 1, the Day of the Dead. I’m not going to link to any of my posts from that time, or even look at them myself; it’s too upsetting. But remembering last year, when I really had a reason to wallow, I realized I had gotten myself a pretty great early birthday present in July: Madeleine. She’s the gift that keeps on giving.

Catching the Happiness Bug

Adopting another dog wasn’t an easy decision. I felt like I was betraying Frankie, who I was/am still mourning. And I was free of responsibility for the first time in years. I wanted to travel.

But a funny thing happened last spring. I got infected by a friend’s happiness.

Leo, who blogs at Kenzo the Hovawart, also had a terrible horrible year, having to say good-bye to his beloved Viva. He wrote a lot of sad posts, which made me sad too, thus keeping me in my comfort zone.

Then he adopted another dog, Tilde. He kept posting pictures of her playing with his first dog, Kenzo, and writing these really funny blog posts. Clearly he was–dare I say it?–happy, even though I knew he was still thinking of Viva.

I felt envious.

The urge to travel was still there–and so was a fear of the unknown. What if I didn’t like a new dog as much as I liked Frankie? I’d be stuck at home AND in a bad canine relationship.

And if I liked the new dog, that would be even worse. Dogs die and rip your heart out.

Still, the possibility of happiness, even if it couldn’t last forever… it had a certain appeal. And so I took the plunge.

Madeleine the Monkey

As has been confirmed more and more since my last post, Madeleine isn’t much like Frankie, except for being small and white and cute and stubborn (it comes with terrier territory) and bending gender stereotypes–Madeleine pees like a boy, Frankie peed like a girl. Madeleine is bold, food driven; Frankie was shy and, though he liked his chow, was too stressed to eat at all outside. He didn’t spend his waking hours trying to manipulate me into feeding him or trying to find food in every nook and cranny.

Madeleine is a gremlin, a troublemaker, too smart for her own good. I spend a lot of time during my walks with her feeling frustrated, wanting to yell. True confession: I poked her in the side one morning because she was barking–not out of fear but because she thought it would elicit treats from me. I was annoyed with myself: In heading off her (once legitimate) anxiety over seeing other dogs pass in the street, I had inadvertently trained her to associate barking with treats. She wasn’t going to let the fact that she’d overcome her anxiety stop her. My poke didn’t bother her but made me feel like an awful person.

But I spend far more time laughing than I do frustrated when I’m with Madeleine, at her and at myself. I love her spirit, her energy, and, in the end, even her ability to outwit me.

And she walks really, really fast, guaranteeing that I produce endorphins.

She’s also very sweet. I suspect that if I was lying injured in the street, she would go for help, or at least guard me. I adored Frankie with all my heart, but I was never sure about his interest in taking on any kind of caretaker role reversal.

Arrr, arrr, arrrf!

A bit patchyI’m not suggesting that Madeleine is a cure all for my foul moods–as evidenced by my bout of wallowing over being broke. Nor am I recommending that everyone who is mourning the loss of a pet rush out to get another one. We all have to go at our own pace.

Above all, someone in the throes of a serious depression might find the responsibility of caring for a dog to be burdensome. Another blogger friend, Pamela, wrote very movingly about that on Something Wagging This Way Comes: Dogs Don’t Cure Depression.

I’m just saying that opting for the possibility of happiness by getting a dog turned out to be the right decision for me.

My friend Cynthia put my wallowing into perspective. En route to dinner with her last week, I complained about being broke. On the way home, I mentioned that I’d spent a half an hour on the internet looking for a pirate costume for Madeleine. She laughed at me and said, “I thought you couldn’t afford tennis shoes.”

It’s always dangerous to have friends who have your number.

Not to mention dogs.

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Meet Madeleine

So last week this happened: I adopted a dog. She’s about four years old and weighs 12.2 pounds. She came with the name Madeleine and I like the gravitas of that, though she is very small and very lively so I don’t think anyone will blame me if I start calling her Maddie.

MadeleineI didn’t exactly intend to adopt her. I mean, I’d been inching my way towards thinking about adoption. I’d started ogling adoption sites. I visited the local shelter and, the same day, attended a few adoption events. But I didn’t find “my” dog, the dog that spoke to my heart, and found the whole process depressing. I was about to petsit a friend’s dog and figured I’d put the search on hold.

Then another friend posted a picture from the Humane Society of Southern Arizona (HSSAZ) on Facebook and tagged me.

Oh my. Those eyes.

The post said there was an adoption event across town where I could meet this cutie. I went. There she was, by herself in a pen. I took her in a room with me. She shed. She was very pink. Was she sunburned, I wondered, did she have allergies?

I learned she was picked as a stray in the next county over, which only has a high kill shelter. It was clear that, at one point she had had puppies; her figure isn’t entirely girlish.

Was she traumatized?

If she was, there were no visible signs of it. She was friendly and perky.

I asked the universe whether she was “my” dog–you know, if she licks me in the next minute, then she is, if she follows me when I get up then she is–and the universe said yes, but I was still uncertain. The volunteer from HSSAZ gave me the adoption form and said she’d be at the PetSmart until 3.

I sat in the car and filled out the form. Then I drove away. I called the friend whose dog I was going to petsit the following day to see what she thought; I didn’t want to jeopardize the arrangement. She wasn’t home. At five minutes to 3 I phoned the volunteer, who said she was about to bring Madeleine back to the humane society and that if I was interested I should drive over there.

I stood in front of Frankie’s shrine, shed a few tears, and asked if it was okay if I got a new friend. I got no answer from him or the universe.

I waited a while. I drove over to HSSAZ. After I heard the volunteer tell the second person who phoned about Madeleine that there was someone sitting and thinking about it, I took the plunge.

Frankie shrine, the big picture

The Woman Who Knew Too Much

My friend whose dog I was going to pet sit phoned me back soon after I brought Madeleine home. I kept repeating, “I got a dog.” She said, “You sound slightly hysterical.”

I was.

I had a dark night of the soul, tossing and turning. What had I done? What happened to my travel plans–my life as a free woman?

This time, as opposed to the first time I got a dog, I know what I don’t know. The food. The insurance. The training. The car seats. The vet. There is so much that I need to do, so much money I need to spend.

Madeleine, however, had no such reservations about me and my home.

Madeleine’s MO

A week in, I know that Madeleine is not like Frankie, except for the little white fuzzy part. She is bold and confident, claiming me by the second night when Mimzy, the dog I was petsitting, arrived.

You can see, below, which bed was intended for whom. I celebrate Madeleine’s aesthetic sense, if not her ability to share. The ebony and ivory effect is much better with the contrast.

M and M, Ebony and Ivory

Madeleine is also part mountain goat. When things were suspiciously quiet and I went outside my office to look, I found her standing on top of the kitchen table. I now know I have to push the chairs in every time. I also know that I need to use a rubber band to secure the door handle of the cabinet where I keep my trash.

Even in repose, Madeline likes to find odd perches–the armrest, say, as opposed to the couch.

Resting on the armrest

She managed to escape the harness that I used to secure her in the car, twice, even after the (new) vet I took her to made sure it was on properly.

She does not seem afraid of the car, however. Nor of lightening. She barks at it, rather than shaking.

Not a replacement

A friend whose heels Madeleine tried to nip–three times!–said that Madeleine would never be the companion to me Frankie was, which was very mean. It was also true, in its fashion. She will be a different companion to me. I have yet to find out exactly what kind, but there is no question anymore that she is “my” dog, whether the universe or Frankie intended her for me or not. When I took her in the car to go to the vet and she seemed worried, I promised her I was taking her home again, that I would always take her home again.

In the meantime, while trying to establish such good habits as no begging at the table–Madeleine has the most pitiful little whimper and a way of putting her paws up on your legs and looking into your eyes–I am also trying to relax.

And here I can take a page out of Madeleine’s book.

Stretch marks who cares


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