The following entry marks my third post. That means that I have now repeated this behavior three times in a row. That makes it a pattern. And I’m building a habit! This is HUGE! I’m a blogger!
Because this is our third date / my third blog post, it’s probably time to start sharing a few of the more intimate details about who I am. So, I will now share with you one of the defining aspects of my existence.
I am a mom. To a dog. HE IS INSANE. His name is Langston.
Langston and I go way back to the Summer of 2014, when I first moved out of DC for business school, when I was going through this whole emotional crisis about being all alone in a strange, new, faraway land (Atlanta). I grew up with a dog, and I’ve always loved dogs, and now seemed like the best time ever to expand my family-of-one and get a puppy! I told my parents my plan and they were borderline inappropriately supportive and thought this was a GREAT idea. (My theories for why this was the case are as follows:
I was the kind of kid growing up who maintained a 4.0 GPA and avoided being arrested no matter WHAT I was doing, so my parents have always been pretty cool about not over-mandating my ~*LiFe ChOiCeS*~
I’m also generally scared of doing anything too ridiculous, like jumping out of a plane or tattooing my face, so I’m pretty sure that – from their perspective – if I wanted to get a dog, it was less like “Are you sure you’re ready for this 14+ year commitment?” and more in the vein of “Go for it! Carpe diem! Get some carpet stain remover and live a little!”
My dad loves dogs. My mom hates dogs. When I was little, I begged for a dog, and I have a feeling the only reason why I ultimately got one was because my house caught on fire when I was in third grade, and my parents didn’t want to feel like I was gonna be ruined forever, so I miraculously received a puppy who I loved very, very much. She passed away while I was in college. Now, Dad is dog-less. But if I get a dog, it’s like he gets a dog, too, by some kind of familial associative property.)
ANYWAYS, the point is, I GOT A DOG. On something like, my third day in Atlanta. I had a bed and a couch and a TV and a dog. Oh, and approximately 19 hours of class work starting in a week. For some reason, I thought that would be enough time to acclimate to one another. Isn’t it just supposed to be that easy and natural between (adoptive) mother and (puppy) child??
So, I ended up rescuing Langston when he was six months old. His name was Spike but I changed it to Langston (after Langston Hughes) because he struck me as more of an intellectual. The lady from the foster program brought two dogs to my apartment for me to choose from, and I chose Langston, because he was cute as a button, and was pretty much full-grown at 20 pounds, and didn’t pee on my carpet in the first five minutes, like the other dog did. The lady left me with a dog and a crate and that was that. Peace out! Thanks for saving a life!
Fast forward to just about four years later, and Langston is legitimately the most complex creature on the face of this planet. He’s like a Dan Brown book in dog-form. He’s got layers. Here are a couple things to note:
He is a Boxer / Chihuahua mix. Maybe. That’s what the foster program said but, honestly, those people will say anything.
He has separation anxiety. TO THE EXTREME. When I first got Langston, I couldn’t leave my house for more than a single second without him immediately slamming himself against the door and barking like a psycho and going full-on manic. Vets and trainers alike dubbed Langston the worst case of separation anxiety they had ever seen – cool, a superlative! – and it was only ultimately due to my unexpected dog-whispering skills that either of us survived. (Crate training, citronella spray collars, incents, mood setting music, a short stint on doggy Prozac, and generally pleading with God is my secret sauce.)
Speaking of sauce, Lang loves peanut butter.
Speaking of peanut butter, it makes him shit / puke EVERYWHERE.
So does food. Or anything, really. If Lang consumes anything besides his Blue Buffalo Basics diet, his guts have a personal vendetta against any and everything within a 15-foot radius.
Thus, I’ve learned that dogs can take Pepcid AC!
Langston LOVES to listen. He is truly obsessed with following the rules. I could place a full bucket of Shake Shack in the middle of the floor and say “Don’t touch that” AND HE WON’T. I don’t even listen to me as well as Lang does.
He has jaws like a shark. You know the “indestructible” chew toys that have a picture of a growling Rottweiler on the packaging just so you know how much the manufacturer means “indestructible”? He chews through those dumb toys in ten minutes. LANGSTON IS 20 POUNDS.
He is a magically fast runner. Basically Seabiscuit. All of a sudden he will just start ripping around the house / apartment / yard / wherever like a bat out of hell and all you can really do is live and let live.
He also, presently, has a wart.
**Warning – the following image is graphic
(Ok, maybe not that graphic.)
WHAT is a dog wart, you ask? If you’re fortunate enough to have this question, I miss my own naiveté. If you’re not, I’m sorry. And know that you are so tough and brave for encountering this experience with your own pup and surviving it.
The best way I heard a dog wart described was when one of the owners at Lang’s daycare called it “basically oral herpes for dogs.” Awesome! It’s a growth thingy that dogs catch from other dogs, that’s apparently super contagious for dogs but not humans (not to focus on the wrong things here BUT CAN I PLEASE NEVER HAVE THAT THING ON MY FACE THANKS), and it’s totally harmless. In most cases it just falls off one day, like magic; like the final petal on the enchanted rose in Beauty and the Beast, that fluttered to the ground and sparked a dope, reborn kingdom of brightness and happiness and real people and love. That’s what I pictured, when it came to Langston’s wart. It would one day flutter (fall) to the ground, like a beautiful rose petal (wart), and we could all rejoice and start anew.
Life Update: Langston’s wart is still very, very attached.
It started out like a baby wart. A little dot that I inspected curiously and took pics of to send to my veterinarians (aka my friend who is currently in med school and my other friend via group text). Then it grew, and grew, and grew, and WOULD NOT STOP. Because it’s Langston. Because our life together is insane.
It’s now been over two months, and it’s only gotten huger by the second. So instead of the benign neglect process, which was fully supported by my slightly realer veterinarian (aka an actual veterinarian), I decided to take action against this damn wart that was trying to ruin my dog’s cute face. I scheduled a freezing. We completed said freezing. The wart remained.
I scheduled another freezing. We completed said second freezing. The wart remained.
The wart remains.
Which means we (Lang and I) are moving forward with proper removal via an actual surgery this Friday. Of course it’s gonna be hella expensive, but I am still oddly excited. First off, because the wart will be gone. And, second off, because I think he might get one of those collar cones that dogs HATE and I secretly love.
And from all this, in my effort to find **meaning** from **experiences,** I do think that it’s kind of cool that he seriously, fully does not GAF. I know he’s a dog. I know he barely even has the self-awareness to realize he’s looking at his own reflection in a mirror. But I do think there is something kind of beautiful about being so consumed in your present-state that you don’t even care that there is this new giant thing on your face. He still runs around like Seabiscuit. He’s still so proud and excited to see me. Because everything that matters to him is still here. And maybe we all owe it to ourselves to not be so hard on ourselves for what we don’t have or what we didn’t do, and let the things that matter, matter more.
(But, regardless, the wart is disgusting and it’s coming off on Friday.)
More details on this captivating tale to come!