Thursday, March 10, 2011

Things That Go Squish in the Night

Rocket spent his first few weeks sleeping in a crate outside the front door. It was a high quality crate with a cover, bedding, and toys. From one person’s perspective, he had everything he needed…and wasn’t it better than being on the street? From another point of view, someone easily could have thought he needed to be inside the house (in the crate). From yet another outsider, perhaps he should have been in the house, not in a crate. At the end of the night, he was safe, that was the bottom line. He was also constantly covered in poo. Crate training—designed to housetrain a dog, provide him with a comfortable den, and keep the dog safe—was not working for a puppy so heavily medicated that he could not control his bowels. Rocket whined. All. Night. Long.

It wasn’t long before Rocket came inside to sleep. The crate stayed out. I was tired of not knowing why he was whining. Was he lonely? Was it separation anxiety? Did he really need to go that much? Had I spent the week conditioning him to whine all night by letting him out each time? Ironically, I was trying to avoid a mess in the morning by letting him out over and over. But all of the up/down/up/down with no poops only left me exhausted to the point I would sleep through his real “I have to go now” whine, and still wake up to a white dog turned brown from extreme amounts of feces. “Where is this shit coming from?” came out of my mouth every day. I wonder if Rocket thought that was a command.

So I bought him a bed. Then two, then three. And piled them up on the floor next to my bed. (The beds weren’t for him, they were for me. I was trying to purchase away the guilt I felt for having left him outside in the crate for two long weeks. Rocket chewed them up and spit them out. I found this very symbolic. And expensive).

There was no guarantee that this poo-fest would end until Rocket was off of his medicine. Lucky human I am, if I have to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night, all I had to do is stand up (without whining) and walk to the toilet. Puppies don’t have that luxury. Soon after moving inside for the night, Rocket followed my example of going to the bathroom without whining. He just started going. All. Over the Place. And when I got up to use the bathroom, I had to step in that same “all over the place” area to get there. I started whining. And taking mini-showers twice a night. Yes, the whining had transferred to me, and there was no guarantee I would stop whining until Rocket was off his medication.

I should have re-written the old “prayer” about things that go bump in the night, perhaps then I would have taken fewer foot showers at midnight…

“From ghoulies and ghosties, and four-legged beasties, and things that go squish in the night, good Lord deliver us. Amen.”

I also should have consulted a trainer. And started wearing slippers. Rocket no longer goes poo in the night; but I use a nightlight, just in case.

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