Sunday, December 7, 2008

The Cinnamon Chronicles, Episode 1, or, So We Got a New Dog...

Thursday was a special day for Shaundra and I... at least it started out that way.

For the longest, Shaundra's wanted to get a dog. She's never had one, and was very much looking forward to the experience. I've had a dog before, but Felicia was an "outside dog." Seeing as how we live in an apartment, of course this new addition was going to be inside with us - which was going to require a huge adjustment on my part.

Don't get me wrong, there's nothing wrong with inside dogs, it's just that I wasn't used to it. I had absolutely no knowledge of how to housebreak a dog and, because of how I was raised, had some issues with sanitation (long story). But that's what my baby wanted and I wanted her to be happy. If it was up to her, we would've had a dog a long time ago. But the reason we hadn't was because she respected how I felt. How could I not love her for that?

It still took some gentle working over, but in the end, Shaundra prevailed, and I said we could get a dog (I had previously said we could get a dog when we got a house, but tomorrow's promised to no one and sometimes, you have to step out on faith). To her extreme credit, Shaundra did her research, and one day, while I was working on Jillted, she came to the office door and said she had something she had to show me. It was a picture of this cute Dachshund puppy named Cinnamon. She was in love, and asked me what I thought. I said let's go for it and a short time later, Cinnamon was officially ours.

Which brings me back to Thursday. After driving nearly 3 hours round trip to pick Cinnamon up from a breeder in Brenham, TX, we returned home, ready to start our new life with our Dachshund. But things quickly turned sour. Shaundra went upstairs to the bathroom and to get the kick-ass pooper scooper we'd bought the day before at the pet store while I set Cinnamon on a patch of grass intended to be her rest area. We had already put her collar on and attached the leash, but the collar was too big (we figured we'd go back to the store later to get the proper size). She was so cute. She took a few tentative steps, squatted, and did 2, just as I wanted her to. It looked like she might accidentally step in her own handiwork, so I reached for her hind quarters to gently usher her to safety...

And that's when the little bitch got her own ideas. This pint-sized runt, who'd acted so well on the ride back, went all Cujo on me, snarling and pulling away, slipping her head out of her oversized collar and taking smooth the fuck off. Now, I've been going to the gym regularly since February, and I've added a good deal of muscle to my already muscular frame, but at 5'9" and 244 lbs., I've also got a ton of fat that I have to burn. Long story short, I'm not the guy who needs to be running after dogs.

Yet here I was, chasing this little thing all over the parking lot (peeing the whole way) and into the grass and along a fence at the edge of the apartment complex. I'd get close enough to catch Cinnamon, but because I didn't want to accidentally step on her tiny ass, I had to stagger my steps which, combined with her freaky cutting ability, led to her avoiding my grasp. At one point she hid behind a car and I knelt down to spot her. But of course, since I'm in the gym Monday-Friday and that morning happened to be my leg workout, I caught a cramp in my left hamstring.

Cinnamon must've somehow known this, 'cause that's when her diminutive backside went scooting along the fence line away from me. I tried to follow, but with my blown hammy, it wasn't working. I'd close in on her, only for the damned thing to cut and go the other direction. This happened a few times before the cramp in my leg now combined with my tightening bronchial tubes (it was cold and I used to suffer from exercised-induced asthma - guess it was trying to make a reappearance) to hinder me even more. I was calling for Shaundra to hurry the fuck up - though it wasn't loud enough for anyone to hear and more motivated out of anger at my own sorry cardiovascular shape and the horror was watching $400 literally running away from me.

Cinnamon had me beat and was making a break for the end of the fence, which connected to another fence. One with metal bars instead of wooden planks. If she hopped though the bars she would be free and clear onto Richmond Avenue - and right into the path of traffic. To my relief, Shaundra emerged from the staircase, and after growling at her (which I had to apologize for later. She understood) she took up the chase.

Now Shaundra isn't built for running, either. But somehow she chased Cinnamon down and managed to cut her off from escaping the property. Cinnamon made a cut, and in her desperation to end the chase, Shaundra did something I've never seen her do - throwing herself to the ground to grab Cinnamon. But as luck and little legs would have it, Cinnamon evaded Shaundra and made a beeline for some bushes. I had finally hobbled my ass down to where they were at this point, and was able to seal off Cinnamon's escape. Fast, but not terribly smart, she ran right up to my leg, and I reached down to scoop her up...

And the bitch snapped at me! I get that this whole episode was motivated by fear and stress, but that's just something you don't do. I avoided her teeth and snatched her up by the hips, but she tried again so I reacted with the natural response - I dropped her. Luckily, she landed on top of some bushes and I was able to grab her (again being snapped at) and yank her to my face, where I laid into her something terrible. I know she can't understand my words, but she knew I wasn't happy. And that's when I looked down and realized I had bits of dog shit on my wrist, jacket sleeve and shirt. Cinnamon had bits of it on her, too. Shaundra, panting (she has asthma, too, and I was hoping she wasn't about to have an attack. But she was okay), rejoined us and after catching our breaths, the three of us headed upstairs together for the first time.

Not the best first impression.

On top of that, the first night we had her, Cinnamon didn't eat or drink, and suffered from diarrhea with bits of blood in the stool. A quick trip to the vet revealed that Cinnamon's large intestine was bloated with bacteria that thrives and multiplies when the host is under stress. We were given the proper medications to get things under control.

Today, things are better. Cinnamon actually likes us, and she's showing curiosity about her new digs, but she's still terrified of EVERYTHING. She's taking to potty training like a champ, and even though... shit... I gotta go...

She just pissed on the carpet.