Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Strange New Place

Hi everyone,

This is the first in a series that I hope to write on my adventures with Wyatt. I've been told many times that owning a dog, especially a high-maintenance one like a husky, is a trial for the experience of having kids. I'm excited to see what Wyatt will teach me.

After the three-hour drive from picking him up, it was raining hard and he seemed both scared and amused that this water thing he usually drinks from the ground was coming from the sky. I had worried about him having separation anxiety, but the ride home went fine, except for when he started whining. Wondering what was up, I took him out and he relieved himself almost immediately. It was an important first reassurance that I could understand a little of his language. 

An hour into dog ownership, I experienced one of the ironies parents often mention: the moment you look away is the moment bad things happen. I had kept a constant eye on him from the moment he entered the door, but after the five seconds I looked away to cook pasta, I turned to see him pooping on the welcome rug of a roommate - welcome, indeed. I took him outside but he had completed his plan.

For the rest of the night, I gave him lots of water and belly rubs and he seemed to appreciate both. I thought these first impressions could be influential so I strived to be caring. I worried he was too wired to sleep, but after five minutes with the lights out, he was zonked on the floor, safe and sound in his new home.

The next morning, I woke up how we all should be fortunate to - with a loved one two inches from our face and awash in sloppy kisses. Is there any better way to start the day? We ate breakfast together and as I turned to wash my bowl, another bad thing hit - this time five of them on the same welcome rug. I told Wyatt the joke was funny the first time but not so much now. I cleaned up, yet noticed the hallway now had a distinctly unwelcoming, geriatric hospital smell. I'm glad Wyatt is adorable because his roommates could get resentful quickly.

As I finished cleaning up, I heard a roommate's door in the hallway crack open, then immediately shut. I looked to see Wyatt staring intently on the door as it opened again and quickly shut. Was it the wind? I knocked and my Korean roommate Ying opened up. "What is that?" he asked in distress. I explained Wyatt was the dog I had told him I was getting, but since his English isn't great, I guess he didn't understand. I imagine opening your door in the morning to a wolf-like creature staring up at you is unsettling.

The next twenty minutes was a game of fear and trust. Ying would open the door a bit, Wyatt would approach and bark or sniff, then both would retreat. I thought introducing Wyatt to roommates would be no problem since he was so friendly with strangers, but he barked several times at Ying, me, and my Indian roommate who also came out to shower - "where am I? where's Bandit? are you going to eat me?". I got some treats and finally convinced Ying to open his hand and feed them to Wyatt, but he still didn't feel comfortable petting him - baby steps.
After breakfast on the third floor, I headed down to my room on the second floor and another drama began: the dreaded stairs down. Wyatt was not used to steep steps and apparently going down is scarier than going up. For twenty minutes, I stooped to his level, gradually getting closer to the top of the stairs with treats in hand. The closest I could get him was a foot from the top, where his facial expression acutely communicated his pain: "I really want that food... I really don't like the stairs... what do I do?" I finally decided to carry him down, whining all the way. This would take some time.

Next was Wyatt's IPO, his first public appearance. I drove to Stanford, parked at the coffeehouse, and took him toward campus. The impact was immediate: a shockwave of adorement, Wyatt potion no. 9. Wyatt affected a ton of bypassers who would smile, point, or approach to pet him.

This is how supermodels must feel, I thought. The power of beauty. We spent the rest of the day eating our respective crepe and bone...

..laying on the grass...

and causing trouble...

It was a strange and wonderful form of companionship - a loving, energetic, unpredictable friend who speaks a different language. How do we communicate? It's a language I hope to learn.


At 2:54 PM, Blogger Fraticornicos Fan Club said...

Has visto la pelicula "Eight below". Se me ocurre que algo tiene que ver con tu pagina.

At 7:16 AM, Blogger milano said...

so sweet!


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