27 January 2009

In which I totally lose it

This was how dark it was 20 minutes before I caught the dog.

I feel for you parents. I mean, I KNOW having a dog isn't the same thing but there are times when I get a glimpse of the heart-wrenching horror you go through on your daily quest to balance good parenting with helicopter parenting, with wanting your child to grow up and be happy and independent and OMG THEY ARE GOING TO KILL THEMSELVES I JUST KNOW IT AND I WILL BE THE WORST PARENT IN THE WORLD HOW CAN I LET THEM RIDE THAT SKATEBOARD I JUST KNOW THEY ARE GOING TO DIE DIE DIE.

My dear dog Goldie's favorite thing in all the world is to chase birds on the beach. Since she can run a mile in about a minute and I can run shuffle about 200 yards before collapsing, this means she goes off leash.

And when she goes off leash, she loses her hearing and her normal devotion to me. She is in the Zone, the Bird-Chasing Zone where the only thing that matters is that seagull down the way.

For a mostly sedentary dog, she can go for a surprisingly long time, too, racing up and down the beach for 45 minutes as if she had had a transfusion of Seabiscuit's racehorse blood.

I just have to watch and wait, because she is not at all under my control. Sometimes I can just see a tiny dog-colored speck in the distance. Sometimes I lose her altogether. I can yell, I can wave, I can whistle, and she will not come.

Why do I let her do it? Why did Tony Hawk's parents let him go on a skateboard, though they had to go through child-abuse grilling by emergency room staff every time they brought their bruised, broken, skinny little boy in for treatment, which was often?

Because it is irresistible to let them do what they really love and are really good at. It is a risk you have to take.

But tonight was almost too much. It had been a super sucky day at work. As soon as I could escape, we went to the beach.

It was about 4:40 pm and she started chasing birds. When the sun went down at 5:20, she was still chasing birds. And as darkess really started to fall 10 minutes later, she was still running, even though she could hear me calling her and whistling and waving my arms and walking up the path to leave.

She kept running even when I went out knee deep in the water to catch her, zipping past me with the ease of Magic Johnson eluding a Celtics double-team (oh, those were the days).

Finally she got tired and I got near her. I had to go out waist deep to grab her and I was so scared and tired and just...cooked by then that I lost it like a mother of triplets in Wal-Mart on a Sunday afternoon. Screaming.


I did not beat her. I did not strangle her. I did not leave her behind. But I wanted to, and I told her...well, screamed at her...that I should have done all those things, and that we were never, ever coming back to the beach.

In other words, I lost my parental sh*t. Even if my child was a just a dog. I think I may have broken my voice. I know I scared her by yelling, but she got over it by the time we crossed the railroad tracks and she peed on the iceplant.

That's the difference between dogs and kids, and I'm glad for that.


mar said...

that's how i feel about my spider plants.
perhaps a kitten will enter into the picture in the near future.
you're no less a parent than people with furless children.

Stinkypaw said...

That is one very big and good difference, and if Goldie gets prego you can sell her babies! ah!

Maggie said...

ah it's nice to know you understand us lunatic mothers. :)

isn't it also nice to know that even though we lose our sh*t once in a while, our kids (be it dog or hellion twin or other) still love us, wild hair, red face and all.

Kizz said...

Oh yeah, I remember those days. Emily was abandoned so she always comes when she's called but the chewing of things, the eating of disgusting crap off the ground, the endless jumping on people etc. etc. The number of times I about popped a vein in my skull with the yelling? Yikes. Sorry your beloved dog added to your crappy day.

Chicky Chicky Baby said...

Been there, both with kids and dogs. Yeah.

nec said...

Oh. my. gosh.

Thank you.


claire said...

YEAH. Yeah, i know this story. That's why i don't let the dogs off-leash in an area that's not fenced in - because i have no idea if i would EVER get them back. One is good about coming when she's called, but if she's chasing things? I just don't see how i would break through her one-track mind.

Good for you for not losing your shit. It's hard to be a parent. :)

Karen Sugarpants said...

I LOVE letting Ruffy off leash too - it's good for her and I don't get my arm ripped off. I think it's cute that we're so similar with our dogs. As far as I'm concerned, Ruffy is my only daughter. :) And yeah, I lose my shit on her too once in a while.

Summer said...

LOL This is why I don't have a dog, I get ignored enough by my kids. Plus I have cats, so it's already like having snotty teenagers ruling the house.

Glad you finally got her back. :)

Summer said...

LOL This is why I don't have a dog, I get ignored enough by my kids. Plus I have cats, so it's already like having snotty teenagers ruling the house.

Glad you finally got her back. :)

Summer said...

LOL This is why I don't have a dog, I get ignored enough by my kids. Plus I have cats, so it's already like having snotty teenagers ruling the house.

Glad you finally got her back. :)

mothergoosemouse said...

I'm sorry that your afternoon ended like that (and Goldie's too), but it's so heartening to know that parents of furry children lose their shit now and again too.

apathy lounge said...

Breaking your voice. Yeah. I've done that a time or two.

g said...

Yikes. We once had the malamute take off and totally not respond, it really freaked me out. He was running toward the road, and we couldn't keep up.

I think that was about the time when we realized he was going deaf.

Mignon said...

I'm still laughing at Mar's comment - imagining her all "GRRROOOOWWWW!! NO NOT THAT WAY! DAMMIT ARE YOU LISTENING TO ME??"

I think your experience is way more infuriating, because, while Goldie does forget your anger, she probably has no idea why you were angry ("What the hell's she yelling about? I'm here, she's here... oh look! A bird!"). Whereas a kid would/should get it after a couple times.

flurrious said...

I'm similarly overprotective with my cat, which makes me realize that I could never raise a child at this point in my life. As soon as the kid started walking, I'd be all, "okay, son, into the plastic room. You're a bubble boy now!"

incognitomom said...

Yeah, for someone who doesn't have a child you did a pretty damn good job of describing both parenthood and the guilt over losing your sh*t once in awhile. Happens to us all. I'd say Goldie's lucky despite the fact you lost your sh*t.

TB said...

Spoken like a true mother.

Traceytreasure said...

Keep treats in your pocket! She'll come back to you!

Losing your parental sh!t happens. I try not to do it in Walmart, but hey, nobody's perfect!


Traceytreasure said...

And, sorry work was sucky! Hoping next week is better!


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