Wait a minute—stop everything—DOGS HAVE PERIODS???
This was never mentioned in Are You There, God? It’s Me, Margaret, my personal encyclopedia on periods. I have never seen a segment about this on Oprah’s Guide to Everything. I HAD NO IDEA THIS WAS COMING! Well, OK, there were those few times Ryan mentioned that we should get Lucy’s “little surgery” done before she starts having periods, but seriously—was I supposed to listen to him? Whenever any man starts saying anything about periods, I just roll my eyes and walk away.
Yesterday morning when I let Lucy out, I noticed that there were spots of blood on her doggy bed. I picked her up in a panic and looked her over, and then realized that the blood was coming from—ahem, well I guess that part of the story is not important.
I gathered up her doggy bed and blanket and put it in the washer, and realized that I was completely unprepared to handle this situation. I have spent considerable time in the doggy section at PetsMart and have never noticed doggy tampons or mini maxies with wings. So I improvised. I cut out a little hole on one of my pads for her tail and duct taped it to her body. (This is a good time to remind everyone that plans should have both a beginning part and an end part.)
My next plan was to do some math. I know dog years are different from human years, but still! Lucy is only six months old, which in dog years makes her like……………….this is the part where I get a headache. And even though I can’t figure it out, I’m pretty sure that she’s less than seven dog-years-old! And THAT is WAY too young for a PERIOD! I thought there was plenty of time to take Lucy to lunch at a frilly cafe and talk woman to woman about her maturation and our plans to have her Bob Barkered, not because we don’t think she’d be a great mother, but because we know that there are a lot of sly chihuahuas out there. We want her to have the freedom and independence to be her own dog and maybe go to college.
Life just comes at you so fast.
I spent the rest of the day working and yelling at my family. At one point in the day, I wondered if there were symptoms of doggie periods that I should know about, but instead of looking it up on the Internet, I just yelled at my family again.
My question was answered at 4:00 in the morning, just three short hours after I had finally finished my work and gone to bed. Lucy was barking and wincing, which she absolutely never does during the night. I got up to check on her. She was frantic and wanted to be held. I figured that she had cramps. I soothed her for a minute and then put her back in bed.
Back in my bed, I was wide awake and waiting for her to stop crying and go to sleep. I started getting mad that my precious and much-needed sleep had been interrupted. Then I started wondering why Ryan didn’t get up with her—why am I the one to automatically respond in these mid-night situations? Then I started resenting him; and when the dog was still wincing and barking 45 minutes later, I nudged him and said, “Why don’t YOU go check on her this time?” with all the animosity of my sleep-deprived state. He got up and said, “What am I going to do?”
“Maybe she needs to poop.”
“She’s not going to go outside right now; it’s freezing.”
“Figure it out.”
So, Ryan went in there to handle it like a man. There was a considerable amount of noise, like those clouds of dust on cartoons with WHAM! and OOPS! and flying pots and pans occasionally popping out, then Ryan in yell-whisper saying, “LUCY! SHUSH!” Next, I heard Lucy’s nails running on the hardwood straight into my room. I was reaching for the lamp, when Ryan came in and flicked the light on and there was Lucy right at my bedside, trying to leap up into my arms with a look in her eyes that said, “Save me!”
I reached down and picked her up. “Why is she all wet?!”
“Because I squirted her with water.”
“And how was that supposed to help?”
“She’s got to learn.”
I walked out with her, grabbed a towel, and cuddled her on the couch. Ryan walked out into the dark a few minutes later.
“Where is she?” he asked.
“I’ve got her. You scared her to death.”
“Where are you?”
“I’m on the couch.”
“So, what–you’re going to stay there all night with her?”
“I don’t know! We’re not going to sleep until she’s sleeping.”
“Well, that’s not good. She’s got to learn.”
“Oh brother. What are you, Pavlov?”
I cuddled her, calmed her, and put her back to bed.
This morning she is still sleeping. I have looked up information about doggie periods. I have learned that I am an idiot and should have had her spayed before this began. I have learned that Ryan actually knew what he was talking about, sort of. I have learned that there is no point in asking him to handle a mid-night situation. And most of all, I have learned that in life there are some things even Oprah and Judy Blume can’t prepare me for.