Rosie is Insanely Jealous of My Hot New Girlfriend. And We Haven’t Even Met.

When I adopted Rosie, I made a promise to myself that if I had anything to do with it, she wasn’t going to be one of those needy, dependent, shaky, barky, unapproachable, jealous, neurotic Chihuahuas that you see in some people’s purses. It was not too difficult a task because she has a lot of terrier in her (and also because I don’t carry a purse), but still, I was aware that even dogs that are part Chihuahua can be a jealous breed when a new love interest enters the picture. And me, not being in a committed relationship at the time, wanted to be able to date and not have Rosie bite my potential girlfriends’ hands off every time they came over for a drink.

The first woman I dated after rescuing Rosie wasn’t really an animal person and made no effort to bond with the dog. Rosie wasn’t too fond of her either (ultimately, neither was I). I take the blame for part of that. Rosie was a new addition and the relationship with this woman (we’ll call her “fucker” for anonymity’s sake) began around the same time I got Rosie. Rosie barely had time to acclimate to me or her new surroundings much less this new person.

I made an extra effort to iron out the wrinkles between fucker and Rosie (I bought a toy and had fucker give it to her; I let fucker walk her; I made fucker talk to her in the “special” voice I use with Rosie; and I made fucker pet her when we were watching TV). Nothing worked. Rosie glared, growled, nipped at fucker’s fingers, and gave her the side eye. After two months, my relationship with fucker was obviously falling apart, so I did what any sensible dog parent would do — I told her the truth: “It’s not you; it’s Rosie.”

Enter: Hazel. A beautiful, big-hearted, funny, bright, charming English woman I recently contacted on OkCupid. The one teeny tiny catch? She lives in Australia. Halfway around the world. It would have been hard to have found someone farther away. I didn’t intentionally aim to find someone 10,617 miles across the globe; Hazel was simply too irresistible to ignore. So, we haven’t met and don’t know when we will (though we have vowed to), but we talk on the phone through the free Facebook messenger app, and we email and text all the time. It feels fantastic. I feel giddy and think of her all the time. In a word (okay, two): I’m smitten.

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Rosie, trying to size up beautiful Hazel from 10,617 miles away.

Rosie, however, doesn’t seem as smitten. She hasn’t said so directly, but I can tell because when Hazel and I chat on the computer, Rosie gives me the side eye and pouts. They’re the kinds of looks she doesn’t give me when I’m doing anything else on the computer (like, say, writing, or talking to a friend). Just when I’m talking to Hazel. It’s as if she knows my feelings for Hazel are overflowing and is afraid that means there will be fewer left over for her. Rosie is, quite simply, jealous of someone she can’t even see.

So, this morning, Hazel and I set up a FaceTime chat with Rosie so they could see each other and “meet” to break the ice.

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Rosie and I working on our FaceTime etiquette.

“Rosie, hello. Rosie? Good morning,” Hazel said in her sweet English accent.

Rosie was curled up on the bed in a ball, next to a giant pillow, side-eyeing this complete stranger, as if to say who the fuck are you and when are you going to give me my mommy back!?

I tried to reassure the dog.

“Rosie, this is Hazel, can you say hi? Look! Look at the screen! See how nice she is? And pretty? She likes you. I bet she’ll even bring you a toy when she meets you.”

I can’t think of a better way to ease an animal into getting to know a new person in my life than by dating them long distance. I figure by the time Hazel and I meet, Rosie will know her face and her voice, at least.

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In Stephen King’s “Cujo” (1981), a rabid dog terrorizes an unsuspecting woman and her son.

Things with Hazel feel really positive, and I’m sure Rosie will come around. But I have nightmares of the movie Cujo with Hazel stuck in a car, doors locked, Rosie starring as the rabid dog on a murderous rampage, unable to control herself. (Of course, we all know this would only happen if Hazel brought Rosie a toy that she really didn’t like.)

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My little Cujo

Hazel and I talk about the future in positive but pretty loose terms at this point. We haven’t been talking to each other that long, but still, the “what-ifs” are already falling off our tongues during lazy, long morning and late-night conversations. What if our feelings grow even deeper? Who’s going to visit whom first and what happens to Rosie during our adventures? (Answer: in the event of a long visit down under, Rosie will have to be quarantined for 21 days. The thought makes me nauseous, but no point thinking about that now.) What about Hazel moving to New York City? There are complications, just as there are complications the other way around. Right now, it’s day by day and it’s lovely.

And there’s absolutely no reason to not have Rosie renew her passport … just in case.

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Have passport, will travel.

I’m a Helicopter Mom. Of a Chihuahua. So Sue Me.

I don’t remember my parents being particularly overprotective when I was growing up. I certainly played my share of sports, had minor bumps and bruises, even a few concussions, and they didn’t whisk me off to the doctor every time I stubbed my toe or had a snotty nose. Then again, my mother was a nurse — which meant she could quickly determine whether something was really a crisis and act accordingly. More often than not, the “crises” were manufactured by me, a self-confessed hypochondriac from a young age with an extensive ACE bandage collection my family still teases me about. (I don’t think I’m really a hypochondriac, incidentally — I’m using the term loosely — but I do tend to be dramatic about my own injuries … as well as most things in general.)

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Rosie with her “Noni” (my mother), who calls me “Helicopter Mom”

Today, my mother’s theory is that she spent the day working with patients when I was a child; when she came home, I wanted her attention. I wanted to be the patient. So I made up ailments. Like sprained ankles, headaches, and other things I could pretty easily exaggerate. I wasn’t conscious of it. And lord knows I got tons of positive attention from my parents all the time. I don’t know why I was such an attention whore, but I apparently was. (And yes, I’m in therapy now. Twice a week. I know, it should be like 17 times a week at least. I’m accepting donations.)

Before Rosie, I had cats — Lucy and Ethel — who lived to be 17 and 19, respectively. They were pretty healthy up until they died, and I don’t remember being particularly overprotective of them. They were pretty independent — coughed up the occasional furball, got a UTI or two, then just got sick at the very end and died. I don’t mean to sound callous; I loved them dearly, but that’s what happened. They were healthy and then they were not. I simply didn’t really worry that much about them.

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Ethel (left) and Lucy. R.I.P.

Rosie is a different story. I worry about her incessantly. My mother has dubbed me a HELICOPTER MOM. I hover. And it’s been this way since I rescued her last year. I clearly didn’t learn this behavior from my mom, so I don’t quite understand why I hover. It’s not like Rosie’s done anything to make me not trust her. She doesn’t drink (well, just lots and lots of water); meets her curfew; doesn’t run around with shady neighborhood mutts; and, as far as I know, does not smoke or take drugs (except her once-a-month heartworm treatment).

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I can seeeeee youuuuuuuuu!!!

My “helicoptering” started almost immediately after I rescued her. Maybe it was because I saw her as especially vulnerable and viewed myself as her savior; maybe there was some weird tie-in with my aforementioned “hypochondria”. Perhaps I project it onto her. Maybe it was simply because I was a new dog mom and I wanted to do everything perfectly and I was just a nervous nelly. Whatever the reason, I have become one of “those smothers mothers” who practically hold out a safety net underneath the monkey bars every time their kid is on the fucking jungle gym.

I fell instantly in love with Rosie (which wasn’t hard to do) and couldn’t believe how quickly we bonded. When she arrived from Los Angeles via Waggytail West, she was exhausted the first few nights. I would just walk her, feed her dinner, wrap her up in a little blanket and watch the sweet little thing sleep. Sometimes my eyes would well up with tears, as I couldn’t believe how lucky I felt to have this little puppy in my life. She was truly my dream dog.

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If dogs could talk, this one might say: “Um, mom would you stop being such a fucking creeper?”

As I watched her sleep more closely, I observed the way she loved to make her body as small as possible in the blanket (this is very Chihuahua-like); her gentle breathing; the way she adjusted herself every ten minutes or so, and the way she opened her eyes and look around every so often as if to say, “Where the fuck am I tonight?”

When she would go back to sleep, I started to focus on her sweet little blonde lashes and the way they fluttered a little, as if she was dreaming.

Continue reading “I’m a Helicopter Mom. Of a Chihuahua. So Sue Me.”

Dogs and Chicken Bones: A Bitchfest and a Few Haikus

As many of you know, Rosie was a street dog in L.A. before she was brought to the high kill shelter. So it’s her survival instinct to pick up every little bit of anything that looks like food on the street, especially in cracks of the sidewalk, by the curb, and under restaurant tables. We took a training course to try to break her of this habit, and it seemed to help for a while until she went right back to her old ways.

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Rosie cuddling up to Manuel

I asked Manuel, her trainer (and love of her life), if I should consider getting a little muzzle for her so she can’t get sick (or worse) from picking up the wrong thing (like, say, rat poison). He said that would be traumatic for her, so I should continue the training instead. (Positive reinforcement, with treats. We just got these new ones at Trader Joe’s that she loves — freeze-dried beef liver. TJ’s has great, inexpensive USA-made dog treats, by the way. Find your local store here.) But I digress …

So yesterday Rosie and I were enjoying our afternoon walk, walking north on 10th avenue. As we approached 24th street, Rosie spied a chicken bone with a little bit of chicken left on the ends and she went bananas. I hate yanking her away from anything, and she’s not great with “leave it” or “drop it” yet, but she does have a harness so I yanked her quickly and hoped it wasn’t too hard. She seemed alarmed but unfazed about two seconds later. (The responsible thing for me to have done, in hindsight, would have been to pick up the bone and throw it out so some other dog didn’t choke on it. I was not thinking.)

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Rosie enjoying a stroll “in the bag”

Anyway, we continued our little jaunt up 10th Avenue, met a few of her friends along the way, and then turned around to go home … passed that fucking half-eaten rancid chicken bone. Luckily, I was watching because Rosie went right to the spot (which was actually slightly hidden under a bus stop bench). I always have to watch her like a hawk. I distracted her with the promise of a “cookie” when we got home and a “ride in the bag” (Rosie’s new favorite thing — we did do that later). She sort of reluctantly left the bone alone. But it could have been extremely dangerous had she not. (Here’s some good advice, by the way, in case your dog swallows a chicken bone.)

Okay. so here’s the thing about chicken bones and New York City. They are fucking everywhere. Do they rain down from the sky? Is there a KFC up there? Do people just chuck them out of their cars? Eat their chicken on the street and drop the bones?

Who are these people? Why aren’t they more considerate? Why is it chicken bones people discard on the street? Why not, say, omelettes? Or steak tartare? Or cannoli? I’m baffled.

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Thatcher, my friend Fiona’s boxer.

Just the other day, my friend Fiona’s dog Thatcher got her paws on a chicken bone and swallowed most of it before Fiona could pull it out. She was really worried about Thatcher. Thank god it all worked out, but Jesus, people, enough with the chicken shit.

Okay, so I thought I’d get out my feelings with a few chicken bone-themed Haikus. Ready?

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Why this and not, say, a cannoli?

Bone of contention
It reaches my dog’s belly
Blocking her bowels

Finger lickin’ good?
It may be so but you see
My dog Herb has died

Rosie’s at the vet
No thanks to you you asshole
Eat chicken at home

 

Rosie’s First Love

We’ve all had ’em. The ones that keep us up at night, the ones that make us sweat and shake and obsess and see stars.

Well, dogs are no different. And Rosie’s fallen in love with her handsome Italian babysitter/trainer Manuel.

Rosie and loverboy.

When she comes back from staying with him, she cries for hours, won’t eat, and looks at me as if to say: “Who are you and what did you do with my boyfriend?”

When the phone rings, she does a manic dance — as if she’s thinking, THAT MUST BE HIM, HE’S COMING TO RUN AWAY WITH ME!

And god forbid there should be a knock at the door… she has lovesick seizures. And the poor Chinese delivery man doesn’t know whether to get me to sign for my scallion pancakes or call doggy 911.

Click here and you’ll totally see how she flirts with the love of her young life.