I’ve been living in my new place for a few weeks now and this has, obviously, changed my family’s lives in a few different ways. Some are good: I no longer need to hip-check my neighbors to beat them to one of the two laundry machines in the building. Also, we never have to hope that there’s going to be a parking spot available when we leave the house for five minutes and, most importantly of all, we don’t have to listen to a horde of hyperactive kids jumping on our ceiling. It’s great.
But there’s some weirdness.
We live near a family of bible-thumping home schoolers, which is definitely better than the very popular lady who may or may not have been charging the seven or eight gentlemen callers she had every day that used to live under us, but it’s still weird to me. Then there’s the quiet. I’m back in a subdivision and I don’t think I’ve ever heard a sound from outside. It’s not that I’ve got some wicked sweet soundproofing or anything; there’s just never been any noise outside. The only times I’ve seen anyone outside have been because they’ve been shoveling snow. I’m used to people walking through the complex. I’m used to hearing sirens tearing down the street at all hours. I’m used to the occasional shouting match reverberating through paper thin walls. Now I just hear silence and it’s kind of weird.
But that’s not the weirdest thing.
The weirdest thing about the new place is the way my dog Mello has been acting. See, my dog has never been shy. Until now.
It started during the move when we had to put him outside in the yard. He’d never had a yard before, so we figured he’d be super excited and would run around in the yard all day. This isn’t exactly what happened. He just stood at the door and barked at us. For hours. When it was safe we brought him in. Then when we had to put him out again he stood at the door and barked. He obviously needed to do what dogs need to do, but he was scared or something. So I had to put him on the leash in order to walk him in an enclosed yard. He wouldn’t go anywhere without his leash. It was weird.
Eventually I got him off the leash, but it took a couple days. Now he’s decided that he needs to follow someone everywhere. He cannot be more than six feet away from a person at any moment in his life. If I go upstairs, he follows me. If I go right back downstairs, he follows me. At one point I had to move boxes upstairs so I made like 20 trips up and down the stairs. Each and every trip I was shadowed by an eight inch tall Shih Tzu. Seriously, he’s about as tall as one of the stairs and he has to hop up the steps rather than walk up them. By the time I got all the boxes upstairs he was panting heavily and I had to carry him over to his water bowl because he was too tired to make it across the bedroom.
I’m trying to figure out how to get the little guy to chill out, but most of my ideas are failing miserably. The cats are no help. Oscar, our 16 year old diabetic cat, just kicks the crap out of him when he gets cranky. That can’t be good for Mello’s self esteem. If dogs even have self-esteem. I’m really not sure on that count, but the gold stars I tried to give him didn’t seem to ease the pain of cat claws. Right now the best idea I’ve got is to get a second dog to give him a buddy, but I’m a afraid it will just lead to two dogs following me up the stairs.