I got Cautionary Dog in the separation. There’s no way I could’ve managed these next few months without him. The loneliness is already so painful that at night I count on my hand the hours I have left before I can reasonably go to sleep. Without CD to take care of and to take care of me, those hours would be unlivable.
CD was part of my Cautionary Life because we thought he was defunct. Don’t get me wrong; he is a wonderful dog. He’s (kind of) smart, and he has more love to give than any other dog I’ve ever met. He’s also the best cuddler I’ve ever met. But. He’s had an issue with separation anxiety since we first got him two and a half years ago. He was on a mission to systematically destroy our house while alone, so we bought a crate to keep him in while we were at work.
We’ve been through four crates since.
The last time we tried to leave him out alone in the house was probably two years ago. He ate an impressive number of my books in the few hours he was alone, and the experience was so painful for me (mah books are mah babies!) that we haven’t even entertained the idea of leaving him out. But since this separation is all about me trying to shake the “Cautionary” from my “Life,” I thought I’d give CD a chance to do the same. Mostly because trying to manage a defunct dog alone (taking him out, regular walks, cleaning his crate EVERY DAMN DAY, etc.) seemed like the most overwhelming part of this whole trying-to-make-it-on-my-own experiment.
On Saturday night he took a chance I didn’t mean to give. I put him in the bathroom while I took the friend who helped me move out to a thank-you sushi dinner. When we returned, however, CD greeted us at the front door. Turns out my bathroom door doesn’t really shut. But since CD had handled himself well in the hour and a half we were gone, I decided to leave him out when I ran errands on Sunday. Another success. So I left him out as I got dinner Sunday night. And he was fine again. Surely it was a fluke, I thought.
I was ambivalent yesterday about leaving him out when I was at work, but Cautionary Husband said that maybe we should extend this gesture to CD until he abuses it. So I did. I came home at lunch fully expecting to see the apartment in shreds, but when I opened the door, CD jumped off my bed, came trotting into the living room and stretched at my feet. He’d slept the whole time. So I left him out in the afternoon for his final test. And he passed! This time I walked in the front door and had to call his name before he jumped off the bed to greet me. I texted Cautionary Husband, “HE DID IT!” A big victory for our pup–no more crate. And, hopefully, no more “Cautionary.”
Really, though, I’m not sure it’s a victory: I think he’s just as broken-hearted as I am. I took him with me to the old place last night to grab a few kitchen items, and he simply sat and stared at the place where his food and water bowls used to be. But he’s adjusting. And I know that we’ll get through it together.