Sunday, December 2, 2012

The up-and-down day

Yesterday morning, we were heading out to buy a dryer. Yes, we are exciting folk. Our current dryer needs a new motor, and a few other things, and since the dryer is probably original to the house (we're the second owners), along with all the other appliances, it just made more sense to replace it. And soon, because hauling wet clothes to the Laundromat is nowhere near as much fun as it sounds.

So we were driving out to the main road and we saw a dog running loose, and a woman and several kids running after him. We watched worriedly as the dog kept dodging them, thisway thatway thisway, and then he ran across the road, with a boy chasing him, and we both gasped a little. The dog came back across and we pulled over. DH called out to the woman, asking if she needed help. Then the dog dodged them again and I hopped out of the car and started running after him myself.

The dog, whose name was Patches and appeared to be some sort of tall pitbull mix, if that's even possible, was fast, and clearly having the time of his life. This was the best game of Keep-Away ever! I got really close a couple of times and reached out to grab his collar, and at the last second he dodged me and ran off again. The woman, flustered, kept explaining that this was the first time he had ever gotten out. Random other people kept pulling over to help too, including a big burly guy in a delivery truck, but he was uncatchable. Finally I just crouched down nearby and started calling him, hand out. "Patches, c'mere! You know you don't belong out here!" Curiously, he came over and sniffed my hand.

"I'll grab his collar!" the owner said behind me, as one of the kids handed me a dog treat to give him.

"I've got it," I said calmly, and once he realized he was about to be leashed, he started trying to jerk away, but I gave him the treat and he calmed down some.

The owner and I introduced ourselves to each other, and she thanked me profusely, saying her biggest worry was all the kids running around after the dog. She couldn't understand why Patches would come to a stranger but not her. "Strangers have more interesting smells," I pointed out.

So that happened. And then this happened.

We went to two stores -- one to order the dryer (yay), one to buy a Hanukkah present for my sister and her husband. It was not kiddo's most shining hour. He kept wandering off, not listening, yanking back on my hand and collapsing on the floor when I tried to make him walk with us. As he does. The second store was the worst, because it was crowded with holiday shoppers and full of pretty lights and sparkly things. He's lousy in crowds and easily overstimulated by bright lights and toys to buy and such. So we were basically just dragging him around, and periodically this sort of thing gets in my head and I think the other shoppers must think he's such a brat and then I start snapping at him, because I get tired of looking like That Mom. So we made it to the register and paid with a minimum of whining and tantruming and then he tried to wander off the other direction afterward, and I yanked on his hand and he stumbled into the counter with a clunk. And then he lost it entirely, and I had to hustle him out of there before he broke the other customers' eardrums. I let him have it outside the store, and DH calmed him down, and the good cop/bad cop routine more or less worked.

Why is it I have more patience for a strange dog than I do for my own son?

Because the dog doesn't know any better? But neither does my son. And even though intellectually I know he can't help himself, that a crowded store is probably the last place on Earth we should be bringing him, it's sometimes impossible to remember in the moment. And I can't help wishing that one time we could bring him somewhere without worrying that he's going to bolt in the opposite direction, just because he feels like it.

On the plus side, we're halfway done with the shopping.


  1. Remember what you said "a stranger has more interesting smells". That sort of flies with why you had more patience with the dog. Its a more tolerable and interesting problem when its NOT YOUR PROBLEM. You have to deal with your son every day.

    I found it very interesting that the dog came to you when you were calm and got on his level. This is very good advice for when we are feeling overwhelmed with our ADHD children. Geez, am I happy to have found this blog!!!

    1. You're totally right on both counts. I guess I should remember to think more in dog terms with kiddo. :)

  2. I need to remember this too!!!!