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Providing non-judgmental and non-criticizing support for family and friends of end-stage alcoholics through one-on-one coaching, support groups, blog posts, workshops and public speaking.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

My name is Jade...

And I’m a dysfunctional, co-dependent, Flat-Coated Retriever, mixed with some Spaniel. I live in a house in the country with my human Mommy and Daddy. Daddy is a drunk and so I am a Dog of a Drunk Daddy (DODD). I don’t know if there is a support group for that, but if there is I should probably be going.
Jax the Max Catz

I have a brother, his name is Jax, but I don’t think he is very much like me. He doesn’t bark. He makes this strange sound that sounds like crying and he does it a lot. He runs under me when I’m walking and rubs up against my face when I lay down. He’s all fuzzy and has spark-like needles that come out of his paws when he is mad. He always climbs trees when he is outside. I don’t know if he’s dysfunctional and co-dependent like me. He’s very independent and doesn’t pay much attention to anything other than the mice in the yard. No one rubs his head and says “good dog” or “bad dog”. Mostly they just rub his body without saying anything. I don’t understand why the humans talk to me and not to him.

I didn’t always live with this human couple. When I was just a tiny puppy I lived with Emily and her Mommy and Daddy. They were never home because they worked all the time. I had to stay locked in the place with the big white water bowl. It was small and there were no windows and I heard so many scary sounds. I wanted to protect the house so I barked and barked at all the scary things to make them go away. But they did not go away. They kept coming back all day long. I didn’t like that place.

When everyone came home they took me out and played with me. But they were tired so they couldn’t play with me for very long. I got to go outside for walks, but I had this thing around my neck and every time I wanted to go in a direction the neck thing pulled at me so I had to go where my human wanted me to go. I wanted to run. There were so many different smells. I have a very sensitive nose and could smell what everyone on the street was having for dinner. I wanted to go there and taste what they had. There was so much to explore and my time outside was very short.

I got too big to be in the white water bowl place, so Emily’s Mommy and Daddy locked me outside on the screened porch while they were gone during the day. That was much better than the white bowl place because I could see all the things that scared me before. There was the mailman and cars that screamed as they drove down the street. The screaming cars had colored lights on top that flashed. I didn’t like those cars and I wanted to chase after them. But I was locked on the porch.

Eventually, I found out that I could use my paws to scratch away the screen and escape to the outside world. It was joyous! I ran and ran and ran – all over the neighborhood! I met other puppies and other humans. Almost everyone was nice to me so I jumped up and tried to kiss them on their faces. I don’t know why they pushed me down and yelled at me to “go home!!!” – I just wanted to be friends.

When Emily’s Mommy and Daddy got home, they would tell me I was a “bad dog” and bring me inside the house. After that, they tied me up outside when they left for the day. I didn’t like that very much. I pulled at the rope and it choked me. I wanted to go visit my puppy friends and chase the screaming cars. But I couldn’t. I was attached to a post.

Emily and her family moved into a great big house on a hill with the Mommy and Drunk Daddy. There was a big yard and I was free to run all around it. But when I got to a certain place I would get a little sting on my neck and I learned that I should not go past the driveway.

A great big piece of water was just down the road and I really wanted to go there. Retrievers and spaniels love to swim and Emily’s Mommy and Daddy had taken me to the beach lots of times. My new human Mommy tied me to her and took me down to the big piece of water. It wasn’t as pretty as the other beach, but there were lots of birds to chase. Mommy threw sticks into the water and I would swim out to get them. Oh how wonderful it was to feel the water around me and to paddle with my legs! I didn’t want to go home, but she always made me come with her back to the great big house on the hill.

I was happy there, but I was confused. My new Mommy was always trying to get me to be calm and submissive and when I sat still for a few minutes, she would tell me I was a good dog. But when I put my paws on the countertop to get to the roast beef, she yelled at me and told me I was a bad dog. The meat smelled so good and tasty. I just wanted to know what human food was really like. When I tasted it – I loved it. I wanted more.

My Drunk Daddy would give me bits of his food from his plate. Human food was wonderful and I loved being paid attention to when he was eating. He petted me and talked softly about me being a good dog. He said I was his dog. Then Mommy would come and take away the plate and tell me I was a bad dog. I don’t really know what being a “good dog” or “bad dog” is… but somehow I think maybe it doesn’t really matter.

My Drunk Daddy would pat his shoulders and I would jump up to put my paws where he had patted. He let me lick his face and he rubbed my head telling me I was a good dog. Then he would give me a bite of his human food and keep telling me that I was his dog and that he loved me. But when I tried to do that with Mommy, she would push me down and tell me I was a bad dog. She told me to sit still and I did what she wanted – for a little while.

One day, Mommy took Drunk Daddy somewhere and he did not come back for a long time. Dark came and Drunk Daddy didn’t come home. I sat on his bed and watched out the window because I knew he had to come home soon. I missed him and the little bites of human food that he gave me. I missed hearing him tell me I was a good dog while rubbing my head. I wanted him to come home. It was a long time, but he did come home and we were so happy to see each other.

The happiest day of my life so far was when Mommy and Drunk Daddy put me in the car and took me to a place where I could run without getting a sting in my neck. They took off the stinging thing and I ran all over the open flat ground. There were birds everywhere and I could chase them until I was too tired to run. Another dog came from across the street to say hello. Her name is Maggie and we became instant best dogs. We chase each other all over the open ground and when there are humans with black sticks that make a big noise and smoke (Drunk Daddy calls them guns) in the woods we bark and try to chase them away. I don’t know what they do with those guns, but I just know someone is going to shoot their eye out.

There's a game I play with Mommy and Drunk Daddy. I grab the soft fluffy things from the sofa and show them to Drunk Daddy. He says "Oh, Jade, you're not suppose to have that pillow." Then Mommy yells "Jade -- Drop it!" But I don't drop it, I make her chase after me all around the house. Then when I don't have anyplace else to run, I drop it. She says "bad dog" and puts the soft thing way up high so I can't get it. I love having things in my mouth -- water bottles are really good because they squeak when I chew on them. I like chewing on things like Drunk Daddy's slippers. Mommy chases me to get those back too. I love those games and I will play them forever.

I think I’m dysfunctional because my Mommy tells me one thing and my Drunk Daddy tells me something else. I really don’t know what to do, so I just follow my instincts – like when I took the steaks off the big black thing that was outside. The black thing was hot, but it wasn’t too high for me to jump up and snatch what was there. Drunk Daddy and Mommy came out and there was nothing on the big black thing for them to eat. Mommy was yelling at me that I was a bad dog. Drunk Daddy just rubbed me head and said “Those were good steaks, huh, Jade. You’re such a good girl.”

Jade and Riley taking a nap.
If my Drunk Daddy was not so drunk all the time, I probably wouldn’t get those bites of human food. My instincts tell me that he would agree with Mommy more often and I would have to take a lot more baths and eat a lot more of that stuff from the bag that gets put into my bowl next to my water. I love my Drunk Daddy just the way he is and I wouldn’t want to change anything about him.

I heard Mommy say that she has a new stinger thing to put around my neck. She says it will help to make me a “good dog.” But, I’m not sure I want to be a good dog. I’m afraid that if I am the way Mommy wants me to be, Drunk Daddy will not rub my head and tell me I’m his dog anymore. I’m afraid I won’t get any more steak.

Maybe I should be more like Jax. I should just ignore everything and go climb a tree.


Ms Kay said...

That's a great piece of writing - really enjoyed it . I'm curious though - what type of animal is jax ?

Linda (The Immortal Alcoholic's Wife) said...

Jax is a long-hair, white & orange cat. He is aloof and believes that if he had thumbs, he wouldn't have any use for us humans at all. Except, of course, to stroke his back while he is sleeping. I'm going to try to post some pix.

Beth said...

Wow Linda, I can SO relate! We got a beagle, Buddy, just before my husband fell and hurt his back. He has spoiled that dog so much that he's obnoxious around food. He's been allowed to eat right off his drunk daddy's plate and thinks he can do the same with me and the kids. We have another beagle, Champ, and he's my dog and much better behaved. I love them both, but Buddy has definitely been made into a spoiled brat where food is concerned.
P.S. I caught him trying to take steaks off the "big black thing" too!!!! I was quicker than he was though :-)

Syd said...

I think that dogs can sense the people who are not trying to get them to behave, do this or that. I used to do obedience training with some of the dogs that I first had. Later, I decided it was fun for us to just be together and to do gentle training--soft words and lots of treats and love. I'm glad that Riley has Jade who loves him unconditionally. Great story, Linda. It brought tears to my eyes. I am such an animal lover.

Ann said...

What a wonderful story! I am so happy Riley and Jade have each other. We all need someone to spoil us once in a while! Lord knows it would never happen if we all depended on the A's in our lives for positive reinforcement!

HyperCRYPTICal said...

A wonderful view of life through the eyes of our four legged friends!

Merry Christmas Linda!

Anna :o]