Thursday, June 26, 2014

Single Dog Mom Diaries

Last night, I was up until midnight chopping and pureeing produce for my French Bulldog Bleu so that he could have home-cooked food for the week. I tried to make the labor-intensive kitchen extravaganza more enjoyable by throwing on a Netflix movie while doing it, but I kept worrying about chopping off a finger every time I took my eyes away from the carrots and looked at my TV screen. Bleu, however, parked his butt right next to my feet and looked up at me with expecting eyes. “When will it be ready?” his repeated glances demanded. The thick mucousy drool hanging from the left corner of his mouth was also making me edgy as I diced his yellow organic squash. As minutes turned into hours, an entire puddle of dog drool formed on my kitchen tile. But Bleu didn’t care. All he wanted was a second dinner.

Now that I cook for my dog, he’s turned into a food fanatic and snob. Every time I open the refrigerator, or a kitchen cabinet, turn on a burner or open up a container, Bleu thinks it’s for him. It’s as if no one else in the household, or the world, for that matter, should consume human food before he’s satiated. And when I have the audacity to cook myself a nice dinner, and sit down to my Japanese-style dining set, Bleu is lurking close by. After a long, hard day at my advertising agency job, I want to sit Indian-style on my over-priced Crate and Barrel floor pillows and eat off my World Market coffee table in peace, but Bleu also wants to help consume my cuisine. Since I’m vegan, almost everything I eat he can also eat (except, there are certain vegan foods, like avocados and macadamian nuts that are harmful to dogs). He slurps fresh spinach from my plate, and instead of scolding him, I let him have it because 1) I think it’s cute that he’s stealing an antioxidant-rich leafy green veggie off of my plate, 2) it’s good for him, and I like to share.

Finally, finished with chopping, pureeing and dumping his mixture of freshly cooked broccoli, parsnips, sweet potatoes into the crockpot, I set my alarm for 6 a.m so I can finish the ordeal and still have time for a run before work. In the morning, I transfer his veggies to a heavy-duty cavernous pan, and sautee the meat: ground turkey and bison. Then, I add that mixture to the pot with calcium citrate and a pound of fresh spinach or other leafy greens, whatever I think Bleu is in the mood for. I transfer the mushy mess into mason jars and freeze Bleu’s food, taking out each jar, thawing it out in the fridge, as needed for the day. With home-cooked food, dogs have to eat more of it, which means you will have to feed and cook a lot. I feed Bleu, who is 27 pounds, lean and probably has almost no body, 4 cups of food a day.

I know if I didn’t have a French Bulldog with severe food allergies and health problems I would have a lot of free time and money on my hands, but I remind myself that this is what pet parents do, make sacrifices for the ones we love: our little fur kids.

I’ve canceled dates with handsome men because I have to cook for my dog.

I’ve turned down yacht parties because Bleu has a San Diego French Bulldog yappy hour to attend.

I could have owned a home by now, but instead, I own a husky Frenchie.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

My Vindictive Reindeer

“Do you normally dress up your dog?” My friend Dan asks me.
“Unfortunately, Bleu can get temperamental and vindictive with clothing on,” I reply.
I wish he was one of those careless dogs that let me throw on tight-fitted San Diego Chargers jerseys during football season and ugly Christmas sweaters during the holiday season. I’ve spent hundreds of dollars on clothing for him, but, I have learned the hard way that Bleu has a mind of his own when I put any garment on his bully back.

It was a cool Black Friday night in November, and my friend Shelli and I decided to go out for yappy hour with our dogs to La Puesto. I was looking forward to spending my Saturday evening at the newest Mexican hot spot at the Headquarters in downtown San Diego— a spacious, outdoor area with heat lamps for wimpy San Diegans, loungy, comfortable patio furniture, killer margaritas, and delectable tacos (my favorite is the vegan cactus taco). BUT, Bleu had other plans for that evening. I had just purchased him a new doggy jacket for our wicked San Diego winter: a bright blue zip-up hoodie from American Apparel; I thought it would accentuate his blue/blonde brindle coat. Instead of shopping for others on Black Friday, I was shopping for my dog of course. That’s what pet parents do.

I decided, in order to get him used to his hoodie, I would put it on him before we went out while I was showering. Bad idea. It was unusually quiet in my one bedroom condo as I lathered overpriced Aveda shampoo in my long dark hair. Why hadn’t Bleu peaked his head into the shower like a peeping Tom like he normally does? I like to crouch down and kiss his nose when he peeks his head in, and then he'll leave satisfied knowing he's still the center of attention, and waits for me on the bath mat until I get out. But this time, there was not sign of Bleu. When I finished my shower, I felt fresh, relaxed, and ready for a fun night out with drinks, good food, and puppy play time. But instead, the scene that unfolded before my eyes would make anyone lose their lunch. The first thing I noticed was Bleu’s new jacket, crumbled up, laying languidly next to the bathtub with brown spots. He somehow managed to wiggle his way out of it and pull it off of himself, with amazing bulldog abilities. I was kind of impressed. But then I saw it. Diarrhea. And lots of it . I was not impressed. I was disgusted. It was smeared everywhere. All over my bedroom and living room walls, rugs, hardwood floor, up his doggy stairs, and onto my bed.

“Bleu! What have you done?!” I exclaimed.

He just looked at me like: “You know this your fault for putting that ostentatious costume on me. I won’t be caught dead in that silly thing in public mom.”

I had to call Shelli and tell her I would be spending the next hour or two cleaning up Bleu's excrement on my hands and knees. She didn’t really understand, and I think she thought I was lying to get out of happy hour. I scrubbed frantically with paper towels and soap and water like Cinderella while Bleu watched me condescendingly from the bed, curled up like a king from his thrown. “That’s what you deserve,” he was saying with his big blue accusatory eyes.

I finished cleaning up his sh*t show earlier than expected and called Shelli to tell her yappy hour was still on, although I kind of lost my appetite and just wanted tequila now, and lots of it, thanks to my loose-stooled asinine canine.

To punish him, I put his jacket back on his, slapped on doggy reindeer ears Petco was handing out for free with purchase that day and made him wear them throughout the night. He was not amused. But almost everyone at the restaurant was and stopped to tell me “how cute” my little doggy reindeer was. If they only knew the truth…