The Unpredictable Squeak

Dearest Rachel –

Another day, another weird Chompers experience. This isn’t the first time even this week that he’s barked to go out at 5:30 in the morning, but this one was different insofar as it was raining. So, not a pleasant experience for either of us. Nor, as far as I can tell, a particularly productive one. Although admittedly, I can’t tell on wet pavement.

I wish I knew about your experiences, so that I could compare against mine. But I suppose, if we talked about it, I would’ve forgotten about them by now. Besides, at that point, I wouldn’t have had anything to compare against.

In any event, it’s a good thing that you bought that four pack of Shamwows back in the day. Once I brought him in, I polished him off with one like I was shining a shoe, and when I said him down in the sunroom, I laid another one on top of him like a blanket.

Since I was barely awake, I simply sat down in the nearest chair, so that I could keep a half-lidded eye on him. Which was just as well, because it didn’t take long before he started whining again about where he was and that he would rather be somewhere else. And so the usual dance began, we are in I would nudge him up on his feet with mine, he would take a step or two, and then fall back down into a sitting position, as he does. The whining stills for a second, as he slowly gain awareness that he’s changed position and location, before he starts up in earnest yet again. Lather, rinse, repeat.

To be fair, I knew what he was whining about at that moment: he wanted to be fed. But when it’s not even six in the morning, let alone seven, I’m not about to acquiesce to that. If nothing else, that’s just rewarding him for undesirable behavior.

But it does mean I wind up having to stay up with him, as we do this little pas de deux (paw de deux?).

At a certain point in this back-and-forth dance, I realized that he was heading towards the doorway that leads to the master bedroom extension. Well, hey. If he wants to go back to the bedroom, I’ll be happy to oblige. So I picked him up and brought him in there, setting him down on his side of the bedroom.

All of which allowed me to actually lie down as he continued to try and figure out a way and a place to make himself comfortable in. I hope you don’t mind, but that meant sleeping on your side of the bed for the better part of half an hour. It still feels very weird. Although, maybe part of that is because I was laying on top of the comforter and several of those angled pillows that I couldn’t use for myself.

Eventually, he went silent, and I rolled over onto my side of the bed, and actually tucked myself in. The next thing I knew, I was looking at my alarm clock, which read 9:25. Yeah. And I know my alarm clock is twenty minutes fast, but that’s still ridiculously late. It’s a very good thing I don’t have a schedule to keep.

Needless to say, I got myself up, and got him up, because I didn’t want him doing any of his business in the bedroom. Got him in his wheelchair, and set him down outside, I went to get his breakfast, now over two hours late, rather than an hour or so early.

He peed, and he ate. But that was it. It didn’t take long before he sank down to his elbows like he does. And eventually, he started to whine out there just like he does inside (only it’s harder to hear what with all the traffic going on outside).

I didn’t want to, since he wasn’t done as far as I was concerned, but as he wasn’t about to do anything more, I took him in. Set him down in the sunroom, at which point he was settled… for maybe ten minutes before he started to whine again. And once again with the dance, before I figured well, maybe he’s urgent now.

And so, for the third time this morning, we’re out, trying to get something out of him. More water, but nothing solid. Finally I just give up, as he seems to be tired, and ready to nap in the sunroom.

Once I set him down in the sunroom this time, I go into the bedroom to put my socks and shoes on. And there, on one of his blankets… well, you get the picture. All those trips outside, and they may not really have been necessary. Well, I guess he had to get rid of all that water.

Like most things in life, dogs don’t come with dashboards. There are no idiot lights to let me know what he needs, more’s the pity. Since I’m not a dog person – or even an animal person – as you know, that leaves me high and dry when it comes to figuring out what he needs.

And he certainly does need a lot. Now, it’s not a question of needing 24/7 care. When he’s asleep – and he’s asleep quite often – he’s okay. But when he’s awake, he needs constant monitoring, because you never know when he’s going to start barking again because Something is Not Right. And then there’s the fun of trying to figure out what that Something is, and what to do about it.

Even now, as it’s approaching eleven in the morning, I’m still sitting around the house, waiting for him to settle down and have his mid morning nap, because I’d rather he be settled in and comfortable before I leave, rather than get upset about… whatever… and wake Daniel.

Which brings up another subject: that of Daniel. After all, he needs attention, too, as your departure hit him hard. And being on the spectrum like he is, I can’t invoke any of those “when I was your age” type of things. I can’t expect him to handle himself on his own; and when I was his age, I still had my mom. Still do, in fact.

(Granted, it might be argued that I have taken the opposite tack, and not required him to be nearly as independent as he ought to be at this point. Certainly, my sister has made that clear to me, and I know she’s right in the final analysis. But I don’t know how to make him move in that direction at this point.)

But I’m afraid that, with having to constantly deal with the dog and his needs, I’ve been offering little more than benign neglect to Daniel. To be sure, sometimes it seems like that’s exactly what he wants: honestly if I didn’t know better, you’d think he was a teenager, not really wanting to have anything to do with adults, or really much of anybody. His moods, whenever I attempt to check them, are generally either “meh” or “whatever.”

And so, I keep giving the grease to the squeaky wheel, Chompers. And there’s no predicting his squeaks, or what they mean. Meanwhile, Daniel rolls along smoothly and quietly, and if the day comes when he falls off the axle, it’s going to come as a terrible shock.

I need to get going to the office now, honey. I think Chompers has gone quiet, so I can head out. I’ll talk to you later. Love you. Wish me luck.

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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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