Saturday, June 19, 2010
(An actual photo my mom took on that trip)
In the fall, by mom took a couple of vacations, one of them was two week trip to Great Britain. My mom and her sister along with their aunt, uncle and cousin flew to London and went on a bus tour around England, Wales and Scotland. My immediate worry was how Abby was going to behave with all that “alone time”. She was still in her separation anxiety phase of her life, and other than a few days here and there, Abby had not spent much time by her babygirlself. I was going to have to change my routine quite a bit to accommodate my baby girl. I shortened my work day. I got into and out of the lab as quickly as I could. I also decided to come home for lunch, which I normally did not do. I didn’t have the heart to leave Abby at home for so long. She was still a high-strung puppy needing quite a bit of attention and physical exertion. She still played fetch, but she was also discovering how good she was at tug-o-war. I hoped that limiting my time away from home to 4 or 5 hours max, it would make her separation anxiety more manageable.
I started my days as any other while my mom was gone. However, since no one was around in the house to let Abby outside in the morning, I’d let her out, go to the bathroom, and then let her back in. Abby grew even closer to me while my mom was away. She went with me everywhere in the house. So in the mornings, she would come into the bathroom with me while I showered and shaved. She would just lie there and fall asleep. Where my routine departed was after I dressed, I’d usually say my good-byes to Abby and head off to school. Now, I’d go outside with Abby, accompany her while she sniffed around, or I’d play with her. Then I would go to school.
I’d leave for school around 8:30 unless I had an 8 am lab, and do some lab work. At this point in grad school, I was finished with taking courses and had passed all my cumes. There was no more course work for me (forever, or so I thought). Other than some seminars, the major obstacle between me and graduating was lab work. Sometime between noon and 1, I went back home to see Abby. She was always delighted to see me. I’d feed her, play with her, let her out, play some more with her and let her back in. I know there are some curious people out there who may say “How come you didn’t leave Abby out in the back yard in the fenced in area?” Well, call me paranoid or a worry-wart, but I had heard stories of how those in dog fighting would steal docile pets and use them as ‘sparing partners’ for the fighting dogs. I’ve heard that golden retrievers were favorites for such dog trainers, but I imagine a lab would suffice for their needs. This was well before the Michael Vick story played out, but since then, I feel justified in not letting Abby sit in the backyard like that.
Father wasn’t much trouble for me. He was never a needy dog. He was a “go with the flow type of dog”. When Abby and I played, Father played. When Abby and I went out, Father went out. However when Abby ate, Father usually did not eat. I’ll discuss more of this in a later entry. Father also didn’t sleep in my bedroom with me. He was scared to go that far back in the house. I imagine he felt trapped after so many turns, hallways and rooms. At night, he would sleep in my mom’s room or in the hallway by the foyer.
After 30 minutes of visiting time, I gave my farewells to the babies and went back to school. If I didn’t have a night lab, I would come home around 6 or 6:30. However, the organic lab director liked to have men teaching night labs for safety reasons. It was an unwritten and unspoken policy, but I noticed that the night labs tended to be taught by males. I will say that one night one of my students was robbed at gunpoint while going home after leaving one of my labs. When I did teach night labs, I would return home around 9:30 or so. However when the lab was ‘identification of unknowns’, the lab took the whole 3 hours. It was the most stressful lab for students. Miss an unknown, and 10 points is automatically taken off of the lab report. With 3 unknowns for each student, the thought of losing 30 points rightly put the students on edge. I tried to make my labs as ‘stress free’ as possible, but this was one lab I couldn’t help them out on. They were on their own; they knew it and struggled to deal with it.
When I returned home, again, Abby was happy to see me as was Father. However, Abby would leave me a surprise upon my return. Yes, she had pitched a baby girl fit. She could handle me leaving her the first time in a day, but when I left her again that day, it was too much for her to bear. Instead of mangling my mom’s glasses, Abby sought out one of my belongings either from the table by the recliner chair where I normally sat in the living room, or she would march back to my bedroom and grab an article of clothing, bring it to the living room and drop it off there. I would ask her ‘Did you do that?’ she would sit quietly, look up and away from me, and then I’d scold her and give her a ‘little’ spank. I’d swat at her rear without putting any force behind it and say ‘bad girl’. She would get on her haunches and try to hug me. I couldn’t resist that, and I’d bend over and hug her. She would wag her tail and lick my face. We would then settle in for the night filled with playing and romping around the house. We had the place all to ourselves and were going to make good use of it.