As it turns out, there’s a lot of stress in my life. Who knew, right?

One of the stressful things this week was dog care. We’ve been having some trouble with Annie. Enough to make me reconsider adopting a dog. Any dog, not Annie specifically. She is the perfect dog for our family, but I’m no longer positive that our family should have a dog.

I knew the care for Annie would fall to me. That was a given. And I remembered how much care a puppy needs, which is why I didn’t want a puppy. But I knew what I was signing up for in that respect.

What I didn’t realize is how difficult it is to train a puppy and two autistic boys at the same time. I knew that living with a dog would not be intuitive for our boys. I knew they’d need lots of specific instructions that most people would take for granted boys of six and nine already knew. But I failed to take into account receptive language issues. It’s almost like you need three trainers, one for the dog and one for each boy, for any given training session. Most of our sessions are impromptu and that’s not a good thing for people who fall heavily in the rigid column.

I was overwhelmed before we got her. Now my overwhelm has overwhelm. I need a break.

I think I need to train Annie separate from the boys first, but that’s proving difficult because many of her issues are more of the in-the-moment type. Begging for food, for instance. She shadows me in the kitchen while I’m cooking. One of us is going to get hurt with her under foot. I mentioned this to a clerk at Mud Bay and she suggested a water buffalo horn. She said her dog goes and gets his whenever she is cooking. Of course, I immediately got one for Annie. I imagine her chewing on it indignantly, so I named it The Horn of Injustice.

Due to the rule of three, we also now have The Spiral of  Abandonment and The Ball of Fetching.

This week, I found a kennel whose website said they not only board, groom, and do daycare, but they also have a two-week in-house (their house) training program. So, theoretically, Annie could go there for two weeks and come home trained, so that I would only have to deal with training the boys. Yay!

I made an appointment to check them out on Wednesday, the day the boys were leaving on a camping trip, with plans to have her do daycare on Thursday or Friday. We also have a weekend trip coming up for which we need to board Annie anyway, so it would be perfect timing to start the two week training course. I was supposed to bring Annie with me on Wednesday so she could go on the tour and check them out, too.

Annie and I showed up a few minutes early. I was surprised to see several cars in their lot and quite a few people to go with them. None of the people had dogs with them. Hmmm.

A woman with a clipboard approached the car as I got out. Annie went nuts, but I wasn’t ready to take her out of the car yet. I wanted to make sure I parked in an okay place.

The Horn of Injustice

The Horn of Injustice

The woman said that I had. Then she told me that they’d had a dog boarding with them who had developed kennel cough during his stay. Because it has an incubation period, they didn’t know he was sick when he arrived, but that also means all the dogs who interacted with him are potentially ill as well. So, she couldn’t take us on a tour. Annie couldn’t even get out of the car to check out the parking lot we were standing in. The woman looked in the open window at Annie and commented on her cuteness. Annie responded by trying to chew through her car harness to get to me.

My slow processing speed kept me from realizing at the time that they could have let me know in advance not to bring Annie, which would have saved both Annie and me a lot of agitation. I’d be really pissed about it later, though.

So, no tour.

The Spiral of Abandonment

The Spiral of Abandonment

I asked about the board and train program. Their trainer apparently took an emergency leave and just never came back, so they don’t do training anymore. Might want to tell that to your website, people. Also, now I’m kind of worried about that trainer. Is anyone looking for her?

So, no board and train.

I asked about daycare. She said they aren’t doing day care right now. Because kennel cough. But she said they are doing boarding, so I could schedule Annie to stay over night.

Yeah. Okay. Let me think about that as I back away slowly.

I was…what’s the word…crushed. There would be no relief for me.

I freaked out. A little.

The Ball of Fetching

The Ball of Fetching

Then I got back on the web to look for another place because we still need to board her for the upcoming trip. Luckily, the first place I found this time worked out. They have an actual front staff and seemed very organized. We’ve already tried their grooming and daycare services. Both were fantastic. Now Annie has a reservation for the upcoming trip and I have piece of mind.

And a place to take Annie for the day when the going gets tough.