Day 2: He’s Fine, I’m a Mess

The title kind of sums it up – RedCloud is doing well.  I, however, am post partum: emotional as all get out, and tensed – ready for a disaster.  Any disaster will do: it could be the way Tom is holding the leash, or it could be the fact that the vet never called me back.  Real or imaginary, Cat I or Cat V, I am poised for full a blown melt down.  PMS ain’t helping none either.

The day began with an emergency race outside, handled by my 16 year old daughter.  Thanks, Maya.  The floors and my sanity are preserved.  After breakfast and second breakfast, Red just lay in his bed, not moving, occasionally coughing.  He slept for hours, Iske and Lily camped out on the floor near the crate.  I fretted and called vets and emailed Sara and fretted some more, and then exhausted by my lack of exercise, fell asleep on the couch too.  Red woke me up after about half an hour to make sure that I didn’t get too much rest.  He and the gang went out, where we bumped into a neighbor with a dog she’s just babysitting.  She was rather charmed by Red’s drippy eyes, horking cough, and fire hose butt.  We slunk back into the house.

I can’t stop fretting; it’s in my nature.  Being a mom is rather like being the Executive Director of a small not-for-profit:  I do a ton of fund-raising activities because I have to, to keep the boat afloat, but I also manage payroll, scheduling of activities and have a finger on the pulse of all corporate (I mean household) endeavors.  Multitasking is survival, “as natural as the weather on this moody sky today” (Thanks, Joni).  Even so, taking on a new project is huge – stretching already taut resources and stressing every stressable interaction. His presence strains me in ways I hadn’t considered, and I assess and reassess my ability to “do this” at least five times a day.

No matter how ready you may think you are, you aren’t.  Less like an Executive Director and more like a brand new mom, I spent today obsessed and obsessing, alternately mooning over my new boy, and then filled with dread, watching him sleep when he “should” be playing or worrying about some other artificial construct.  I had moments of pure negativity: awful thoughts spiraling one after the other.  And I had moments of pure peace, dozing on the couch with three dogs down, dozing along with me.

I’m starting to get to know him, to make progress deepening my relationship with this new family member. He is amazingly likable.  He is easy to manage, despite his size (HUGE) and his physical condition (TERRIBLE).  He is a gentle giant, a colossal baby, ready to be a good boy if only someone would take the time and effort to tell him how.  He is gobbling up instructions and routines along with food.  Out walking with him today, I reminded Tom of The Secret Garden, comparing RedCloud to Colin and the Catskills to the Yorkshire moors.  He needs everything: rest, exercise, food, care, and exposure to everything that has made Iske and Lily become the dogs they are.  Taking on a young, sick, ignorant stray is no mean feat.  I’m still reeling a little.

This is Iske, an image intended to provide direction: this is where we’re going, RedCloud.  I have a feeling we’re all going to enjoy the ride.

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