Wednesday, October 5, 2011

The Forgotten One

I write all the time about Braden.  About Casey.  About my husband and work and vacations and my various identity crises.

It dawned on me yesterday that I haven't written at all about a certain family member and housemate. 

This is Cous Cous.  She also goes by Cous, "The Moose," Moostifer, and Ga ga. 

She is a Cavapoo (a mix between a King Charles Cavalier and a poodle).  She is 4 1/2.  She is about 25 pounds.  She is a daddy's girl.  She is OBNOXIOUS.  And as much as I hate to say it, she is at many times forgotten.

It wasn't always the case.

Back in December of 2006, we were newlyweds living in New York.  I was working at Skadden in those days, and I was miserable.  We made the decision to leave our jobs and move to DC, and we thought it would be a perfect time to get a dog.  We'd have more space, an easier lifestyle, and I'd have four weeks off from work to potty train the little thing.  We perused the internet for hypo-allergenic breeds (husband claims he is allergic) and knew Cous was "the one" from the second we saw her picture.  She flew into JFK Airport with her breeder the day before we moved to DC.  I fell in love with her from the moment I saw her.  My husband, on the other hand, vomited that day when she had her first accident.  (I told you he had a problem with his stomach when he is undergoing a life change!)

Meeting Cous Cous for the first time.
Once we got settled in DC, she became the focal point of our lives.  Though we had a dog walker, we would still race to get home after work so she wouldn't be alone for too long during the day.  We would take nightly walks.  On the weekends, we would explore dog friendly parts of DC and eat at sidewalk cafes with Cous at our feet.  She was the picture on our holiday card that year.

Exploring DC with Cous.
Just a few days after Cous's first birthday, I got a positive pregnancy test.  Things changed rather quickly.  We bought a house.  We moved.  With the commute, we started getting home a little later and our nightly walks turned to weekend walks.  Then I ended up on bedrest and walks became pretty much non-existent.  Luckily, our house has a spacious backyard.  

On September 5, 2008, Braden was born.  It was one of the best days of my life.  For Cous, it was D-Day. 

I have to give her credit.  She was by no means hostile to Braden at all.  I think she was just confused.  She got hyper.  She got nervous.  She hid under Braden's crib for hours on end.  She went on a hunger strike.  And my husband and I didn't really have time to pay attention.

She may not have been welcoming, but she was intrigued.
Eventually Cous got used to Braden being around.  After we would put him to bed at night, she would stand guard at his door.  She would give him kisses, despite my objections.  Amazingly, she left his toys alone.

That's the good news.

The bad news?  She was pissed.  At me.  And she let me know about it, in the form of eating any pair of my underwear she could get her paws on.  And, at one point, eating 8 pairs of my shoes.  Eight!  She formed a little nest of them to surprise me when I got home, just to say "F you, look what I can do."

I was starting to get annoyed.

She also started barking.  A LOT.  As in, anytime a human or animal got within a 200 foot vicinity of our house, she went ape shit.  Maybe she had always done this, and I just had been at work or hadn't noticed.  But once there was an infant being awoken, or worse, I was being awoken from a rare much needed nap, I was less than amused.

Perhaps because she was bored, or ignored, she also started going crazy every time someone entered our house.  She jumped, she barked, she licked, she inadvertently scratched.  Once we started hosting playdates, some moms would look at her with fear in their eyes, thinking "Is she going to eat my baby?".  In Cous's defense, she would never hurt anyone purposely.  She is the farthest thing from aggressive.  But, for those people who don't have dogs or don't understand the notion of an excited, hyper furball, it was unnerving.  If I tried to put her in another room, or in our backyard, she would bark in protest until I was forced to let her in for fear of complaints from the neighbors.

Then, the kicker, was a flea infestation.  Despite religiously applying her flea medication each month, she came back from a grooming appointment with the bad report card- "Found fleas."  This was the WORST!   Exterminators.  Countless loads of laundry.  And the vacuuming.  My God, the vacuuming.

As awful as it is to say, I was starting to think this dog was more trouble than she was worth.  She was quickly falling out of my favor, and officially becoming a daddy's girl.  Given his knee jerk vomit reaction years prior, who would have thought? 

When I decided to stay at home, I thought maybe Cous and I would rebond a bit.  After all, this would be the most time I have ever spent with her.  And I have to say, it has been nice in some ways.  She keeps me company.  She follows me around the house.  She entertains the kids, and is a great sport.

But she still barks.  She still jumps all over our guests.  She still eats my underwear (my shoes have since been spared).  And yesterday, we hit a new low. 

I had let Cous out in our backyard, and after letting her back in, I noticed some brown footprints all over the den carpeting.  Oh no, I thought.  Please let this just be dirt.  Please let this just be dirt.  

No such luck.  

I screamed at Cous to get back outside, put Casey in his jumperoo, and begged Braden not to touch anything brown on the floor.  I surveyed the damage.  There must have been at least 40 poo stained footprints.

Curse words fail me. 

I called my husband, as I tend to blame him for anything Cous does these days.

Your dog just got shit all over the downstairs!

Where is she?  He asked.

Outside and that's where she will stay until you get home and can hose her down!

I know it wasn't her fault, but I couldn't help it.  I was pissed.  I spent the next 45 minutes on my hands and knees scrubbing shit out of our white carpeting, and trying to keep two kids entertained and away from said shit in the process.  My husband got home shortly after and washed Cous's paws with soapy water.

Just another day.

I do love my Cous (despite what extended family may think).  I love her good intentions and her underbite and her energy and how she loves my kids.  I tear up every time I watch Marley and Me (okay, bawl hysterically), and I can't imagine our household without her.

She can be a pain sometimes.  HUGE pain.  But, despite her barking and jumping and underwear eating and shitty paw prints, she is family.  All she wants is love.  And I need to cut her a bit more slack. 

[Note to husband - please stop crying at your desk.]


  1. Awwwww, do cut her some slack. She is adorable! Love the name.

  2. I've been working on a post very similar to this for a few days now! I guess these poor dogs really get the shaft...

  3. I have a 7 month old and I have the same feeling/frustrations with our 2 dogs...and I'm a veterinarian!

  4. She is a cutie! I always longed for a dog, but now I am not so sure...

    Because J.D. and I have three cats and it is really sad how little attention we pay to them now that we have a kid. The other day I noticed our cat Hank walking around with a piece of tape and wrapping paper stuck to his fur--from a present I had unwrapped three days before. He had been walking around with tape on him for THREE DAYS.

    If there was a CPS for cats, we would be on their shit list for sure!

  5. Cath- Ha! I say to my husband at least once a week: "We're never getting another dog!" Not that I don't love Cous, but man, dogs are a lot of work. And so are kids. It's hard to adequately take care of both!
    I'm sure your cat has forgiven you already. :)

  6. Dogs eat underwear and shoes because they have our scent on them (yeah, gross) -- it's a way for them to get as close as possible to us. Not because they are mad, not at all. The poor girl. :-(

  7. 10:29 - Okay, now you are making me teary! So she must love me the most if she only eats my underwear. :)


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