Bathing vs Barking

Dearest Rachel –

No, I’m not about to talk about bathing Chompers. I honestly don’t have a clue how to go about that, and if anything, I should probably set up an appointment with the groomers to deal with that at some point in the near future. After all, he needs his nails trimmed and – as the weather continues to warm up (cool your jets, Greta, it’s just spring. The weather does that every year), probably could do with a haircut, too. And I imagine that, given your recent experience with them, I’ll probably have to set a date some time in the future for such an appointment. What was it last time you had him there, something on the high side of a month before he could get in? They do good work there, don’t get me wrong, but wow, that’s a wait.

So yeah, that’s a to-do list item (yeah, I’m going to have to start making those sorts of things. Didn’t realize how much you did that until I started going through the house like this – you made so many lists of things to to or buy or what have you, and you kept them all, too), but not the topic for this morning.

No, it’s my trying to figure out how to get started for the day, and how to work around Chompers’ own schedule. I get that I need to feed and get him outside as soon as he wakes up – he’s well and truly housebroken, but after sleeping through the night (and as long as I wait until eleven or 11:30 to get him to bed, he manages… eventually), I know he’s busting to go. And of course, he’s always hungry when he’s awake, so that has to be dealt with. I’ve figured these things out by now, and try to wake up before he does so I can get everything ready for him before he wakes up anxious to be tended to.

And here’s the thing. I always used to take a shower first thing in the morning. That doesn’t work with this new structure. I don’t know what it is, but something about it wakes him up, and he starts in on the whimper-whine-bark cycle, at which point I am utterly helpless to do anything about it and worry that he’ll wake Daniel (and given that I thought he was using the washroom shortly before seven this morning – did he stay up all night last night? Was this a common thing when you two would stay up together?). I did try to do it without the heat fan going, thinking it might be generating some high-pitched noise that particularly bugs the old man, but nope. Maybe it’s the running water. Who knows?

So what I’ve been trying to do is to put on whatever I was wearing the night before (or recently, since I’ve not been feeling so hot, I’ve just slept in my clothes), and when I wake up, I get Chompers’ breakfast put together before he wakes, do my reading and whatever until he does, and then get him fed and out and into the sunroom, which he seems to like hanging out in now that he can – although he hasn’t picked out a place where he’s most comfortable yet, it seems.

And then I go take a shower and dress for the day. At which point, I have breakfast and wait for Daniel to wake up, so I can hand the old boy over to him. Usually, he’s been pretty cool in the mid-morning (at least, from Jan and my experience when we’re there cleaning the place out), but you never quite know, and I’d feel better if someone was awake to deal with him if need be.

But the last couple of days, it seems Chompers has figured out my plan, and is actively trying to subvert it. Never mind that he’s been fed and pottied, and he’s situated nicely in the sunroom, basking in the light streaming in from outside. That water fires up, and the next thing I know, he’s barking again. I have no idea what he might want or need, and no way to get it for him if he did – and I’m certainly not busting out of the shower to help him if it means crossing in front of a picture window, that’s for sure. Even if it is only pointed toward our back yard, as opposed to the street out in front.

I have no idea what to do about him, but I really want it to stop.

The truly disturbing thing about this whole thing, though, is that it might just be me that causing the problem. Last Thursday, when Logan was over with Daniel, I spent the day at the ‘office,’ scanning old photos for our digital record (and, I expect, to use for this blog someday). As I came home, Chompers started barking – and I do mean started; according to the boys, he’d been more or less calm most of the time I’d been away. Just my arrival was enough to set him off.

Daniel has observed that, in my frenzied efforts to get him to some mythical ‘happy place’ where he would settle down and stop barking, I might actually be causing him anxiety, which would lead him into this whole cycle in the first place. So while I’m setting him on his feet, yanking his back legs apart so he won’t fall down and he can walk to where he theoretically wants to be, and then he takes a few tentative steps before falling down and whimpering, whining, and barking – lather, rinse, repeat – this is just getting him worked up, which leads to getting me worked up, and so on and so forth…

The scary part is, I think Daniel might be right.

Which may mean that the old boy just wants the opportunity to complain for a bit, without having the threat of me rushing in to try and ‘solve’ the problem for him immediately, and he knows I can’t go anywhere when I’m in the shower, so… this is his chance. It may very well be that he doesn’t want me to come out and try to ‘help’ him. I mean, he is still capable at times of tottering across the length of the sunroom and into the family room if he’s of a mind to. Maybe, he just wants to bark now and again.

Which, if I knew that, I’d be okay with… except that Daniel’s sleeping, or at least trying to, while all this is going on, so that’s really not acceptable.

Maybe I should keep him in the bathroom while I shower next time, so whatever noise he chooses to make would be literally drowned out. I’ll let you know how that goes.

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I am Rachel's husband. Was. I'm still trying to deal with it. I probably always will be.

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