Back when I first got Daphne, I suddenly realized that I had no idea what I was doing. Like, yes, I did know how to have a dog, essentially: you feed it, you walk it, you teach it to behave the way you want it to. This is sort of like saying I know how to have a baby: you feed it, you change it, you try to figure out why it’s crying and how to make it stop. I still don’t have a baby, so I have no idea how accurate that is, but I suspect it’s an understatement.
In order to figure out how to have a dog and that I wasn’t Doing It All Wrong, I started to read a ton of dog books. My all time favorite is Jon Katz’s book Katz on Dogs. Okay, it’s a corny title, but I love me some Jon Katz. He has written a ton of books about dogs; the first one I read was The New Work of Dogs. Basically, this guy gets that dogs are really important, but also that they are not people, they are dogs.
Why am I writing about this on my real blog instead of my dog blog (um, haha, remember when I said I would stop plugging my dog blog soon? I guess it’s not soon yet.)? Because there’s one thing he wrote about that I keep thinking about. I can’t find the exact quote, but he basically says that crate training your dog gives it a job to do. The dog knows that while she’s in her crate, her job is to sleep or to chew the chew toy in her crate. If you leave her home alone outside of her crate, she has no idea what her “job” is, and that’s when she gets destructive. Maybe her job is taking apart your dining room table, one sliver of wood at a time; maybe it’s trying to find what components make up the soles of your favorite shoes. The idea is that dogs aren’t destructive just because they like ruining your stuff, but because they don’t know what they’re supposed to be doing; they need the rules and structure (and quiet time) that a crate provides.
You guys, I need a crate. I really, really need a crate. I’ve enjoyed this time of unemployment, but I’m finding myself suddenly feeling a little bit lost, a little drifty. I need structure, rules. Someone, tell me what to do?
I had my great How to Be Unemployed Tips last week, and I maintain that they are good ones. But I’m also discovering that they are not enough for me. How can I have Time Off if I don’t have some hardcore Time On? So here’s my public declaration: starting Monday, I will Do Better. If no one else is giving me structure, I will make some myself. Remember, world (and self), the time you spend being unemployed is finite, and you will miss it when it’s gone.
What are your tips for keeping your sanity? Does anyone want to plan my days for me? Yes?