Weekend at Bruno’s

Weekend At Bruno'sJustin and Bruno have this special bond. It’s pretty amazing to bear witness to, and only slightly jealousy inducing. With Justin home everyday Bruno has built this expectation of what his day looks like around Justin’s normal routine, he depends on Justin and has established this bond that has become the foundation for his daily life.

Knowing that Justin would soon be visiting friends in Texas, I had started planning my six days with Bruno almost two months ago, blocking off my calendar for days I could work from home, and scheduling his dad for Bruno duty on the days I had to go into the office. Otherwise, our weekend would be spent at home – my usual weekend location anyway.

Now, with one day left of our time in the Emily & Bruno bubble, I know that he is still missing Justin. I can’t wait for Justin to come home and see the excitement on Bruno’s face (and in his tail). Bruno has been such a good boy and we’ve had countless hours to bond and build our relationship with each other, but I know that he’s bored with me. One more day pup, one more day.

Even though our weekend has been a little more relaxed than what Bruno is used to, we’ve done some pretty fun things. We’ve played countless games of tug, taken a nap in the late afternoon everyday, we’ve played fetch in the backyard, ignored countless firework shows, played keep-away running around the house, we’ve relaxed outside, and I took him to my elementary school playground to sniff and walk around.

As much as I enjoyed our relaxed time together, mainly in our backyard on the patio, my favorite part of our time together was our walk to my elementary school, which now sits just down the street from our home. Bruno is still working on his form when walking on leash. He’s so excited to go on a walk that the first half, inevitably, ends up being us stopping every five feet for him to sit and focus, instead of criss crossing in front of me, simultaneously pulling his leash, while rubbing his face on the cement to get his lead off.

On this particular walk, I was so irritated with his inability to just walk, he was so all over the place that it was practically embarrassing, nevermind I had forgotten to bring poop bags and I was terrified he was going to poop in someone’s yard and I’d be THAT person. Our original destination was the track that runs around the park at the end of our street, it would have been an easy two mile walk from the house and back. As we reached the beginning of the grounds I decided that with Bruno’s ADD that he needed a less-structured approach to our outing. I quickly turned into the field behind my elementary school, adjacent to the park, and let his leash go as long as it would. He was in heaven. I just kept walking and let him keep up or go ahead, I didn’t have to pull, he wasn’t pulling, we were just walking together. I would have given anything to be secure enough in both of us to have just let him off his leash and let him run.

As we got closer to the school I found myself smiling, thinking about all of the memories I had as an elementary school kid running these grounds. I hadn’t been to the elementary school in years, it has been easily 10 years since I’ve been this close to the building, and more since I’ve been on the playground. We walked passed the swing set that once seemed to tall and seemed like the boundary of our playground. Deeper, we walked (and sniffed), into the the place I used to know every foot of and I was conflicted, stuck between reminiscing, remembering, and laughing, and feeling sad that, more than twenty years later most of the same equipment still stands as it did when I was running around on my own recess breaks.

We walked on some of the equipment, onto what we onced called the school bus, it was so much smaller than I remembered. I still avoided the twisty slide structure that always had nests of bees and wasps at the top. We walked to the blacktop, I looked for the map of the United States that I remember being new one year, it took me several minutes to find it, mainly because for the most part, it’s faded and gone. Being this close to the school that was once so new and state of the art, it was pretty staggering to be so close and to see what twenty years can do to a building. The school itself seems to be under construction, the grounds were empty but the trailers of equipment and progress were evident that the work has started.

I looked down at Bruno, who at this point was panting from the heat and his exhaustive sniffing session on the playground. We cut through the neighborhood on the other side of the school and headed home. I thought about how much everything has changed on our walk home, passing by houses that at one time belonged to friends of mine. I was happy to have spent some time on the playground, with Bruno, just the two of us. I’m sure I’ll take him back soon so we can do some more sniffing and nosing (pun intended) around the school. This time I’ll be bringing his 50 foot leash so he can do an investigation of his own.

The rest of July will be a busy one for our family, we will be in and out of the house, traveling around Michigan, both together and separately. I’m excited for Justin to come home, to have my partner back so that we can all get back to our routine before the next exciting event: Justin and Bruno do the U.P.

Coffee & Dog Farts

This morning the weather is as close to “up north” weather as we get in Metro-Detroit. It’s about 55 degrees, a slight breeze, and the sun is shining. All I need is a lake and no schedule to make it perfect. 

The birds are chirping and I’ve got a full cup of coffee, I’m huddled underneath my favorite purple blanket with the puppy curled up at my side. I’m feeling fresh and clean from my shower, my hair is slowly drying from the breeze coming in the window. It’s slightly chilly. 

I’m listening to Morning Joe replay the events of the last few days: Istanbul, Brexit, Trump, Hillary… 

I sip my coffee and hear a little snore out of said puppy. Then it hits me like a ton of bricks. Not puppy snores, but puppy farts. 

Nothing like an eye-wateringly dense puppy fart to break your coffee by the lake fantasy. 

There’s not much you can do when the puppy farts take over a room. You can pull your shirt over your nose, you can run, but you surely can’t hide. My love bug puppy is now getting side eye glances and I think he’s starting to pick up on his influence on the room. He doesn’t care. 

So here I sit, spending my morning hour with my shirt over my nose trying to sip my coffee in between puppy farts. 

This is the life. 

Puppy Love

I am not a dog person. For most of my life I have contributed this aversion to the canine to an incident that happened when I was young. Honestly, I don’t remember this happening and relay what I remember being told. Apparently, as a toddler strapped in a stroller, a big dog jumped in my face. Not a big deal at all, but over the years that developed into a reason why I might not “like” dogs. All I can chalk it up to is that I’ve never spent a lot of time around them. Fear of the unknown and animals that jump on you.

Enter Justin. My husband loves dogs, has grown up with them as members of his family for most of his life. I didn’t get it, but that was fine. We adopted two cats that we love like children but I could tell that he still had that yearning for a dog. Conversations started to happen, but they never really went anywhere. Dogs are expensive, getting a puppy was important so we could be the ones to train him/her, we officially would be more tied down than ever before, and I still didn’t understand how I would live a daily life with a dog.

0126161212Enter Bruno. We were in the midst of one of our more positive dog conversation cycles. “Maybe we should look into it…” I found myself looking at puppy pictures online, they’re cute! Then I heard that the new puppy a family member had adopted needed a new home. He was ours, we knew it. Two days later we had a small black Pit Bull and Labrador mix in our living room, he came equipped with a hyperactive tail, toys, and excitement that bubbled over into pee on my living room floor. It took me less than an hour to fall in love with Bruno. My whole world became about him that day, thinking about keeping him entertained, making sure he doesn’t eat the cats, making sure there are enough trips outside, making sure he’s not eating things that he shouldn’t…my life became a 24-7 Bruno livefeed. I was okay with that, he instantly became a part of our family. I had done a ton of research on pit bull puppies and training, I was nervous to have an aggressive breed in our house but I couldn’t imagine this little guy doing anything dangerous to other animals or people. I’d be lying if I said the first month or so was easy, it was incredibly stressful for me to try and adjust my routine and frame of mind when at home. I’ve known nothing but cats, they just live with you, they are relatively low-maintenance pets. Feed me, pet me, leave me alone. I didn’t understand how to be a dog owner. I’m still learning.

I am still not a dog person. My love for Bruno is so immense and genuine, that I know he was meant to be a part of our lives. I want to cuddle him, protect him, play with him, and provide the best life for him that I can. I’ve slept on the floor for him, to comfort him after surgery, I bring his bed into the kitchen when I work from home so he can sleep at my feet, I work a longer day so I can run home to let him out if he’s got a long day in the crate. He is my dog and I love him just as much as I love our cats but there is a lot of responsibility that comes with being a dog owner. Some don’t take that seriously. We do.

So while I am still not someone that enjoys most other dogs, I love my puppy. Even when he eats my shoes or a purple sharpie pen on our white carpet. The puppy love is strong in the Paff household, my friends.