I’m alone tonight, in my little cottage. Bella is spending the night with my parents because I have to be at work tomorrow at 7, and because I’m supposed to spend the day driving to a few of the more remote areas of the county. With all that driving, I won't feel like getting up 45 minutes early to drop the dog off before work.
It doesn’t have to be like this.
The yard is fenced. I did that with my dad. He manned a sledgehammer and pounded in the stakes. I bought a staple gun, and a neighbor donated the no-climb wire. We only had about 15 feet to cover, and now Bella has a big back yard all to herself (although possibly shared with a skunk).
So, yeah. There’s a fence. But there’s also the barking. And I don’t know if she barks only when she knows I’m inside or if she continues after I leave. I don’t know because I haven’t left her yet, but really, how do you find out the answer to that question? People offer advice – about voice-activated recorders, motion sensors and nanny cams. All expensive experiments, when I could just park down the street with the windows open, just like Animal Control does when investigating reports of a nuisance dog.
I’ve received plenty of advice on the Dog Alone in the New House Problem (and I'm definitely not looking for any more). But the solutions I’ve been offered vary and often seem impractical or cruel or… I’m just not there yet. Solutions like a crate, shock collar, and training -- the ever-elusive training. The dog sits on command, she lies down, she can shake hands, and occasionally she stays. Yes, barking is still a problem. So is jumping. So is helping herself to a snack from the fridge. We’re working on it.
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I actually intended this entry to be about something else. Today I moved my books and journals from the office in my parents shed. It was a giant pain, and I regretted not being more organized on the day I moved the furniture, because then I would have had help with the 50 billion boxes of books instead of moving them today all by myself.
Anyway, they’re mostly unpacked. By which I mean, they are out of my car. Some of them are on the bookshelves. There’s still a lot to sort through, but I’m working on it. The thing is, I thought when I brought over the books, and especially once I unpacked the journals – I thought that would mean I was finally home. I thought it would feel less like I was house-sitting and more like my own place. But when I went to get the books, I left Bella behind for the night. And as much trouble as she causes, it doesn’t feel like home without her snoring in the corner.