The irony is unmistakable: the busier I am writing about dog care and maintaining the human-canine bond, the less time I have to spend tending to the bond between me and my own canine.
And these days, I'm plenty busy. I'm writing two books, one of which is due in 3 weeks, and a 2,000-word article that's due early next week. I've got another article due the week after that, and I haven't even begun to write that sucker. Meanwhile, I'm also doing a weekly blog for this company, and starting next week will take on a new, twice-weekly blogging gig for another organization (more about that new gig in future posts here).
I am not complaining--quite the opposite. These are challenging times for writers, and I feel incredibly fortunate to have this much work right now. Yes, the workload is testing my sanity, not to mention my ability to organize and prioritize. But I'll do it all and I will do it well. I always do. That's just how I roll.
But while I'm not complaining, Allie certainly is. And she's got reason to. Our daily mid-afternoon walk to the local park or school field for a vigorous game of fetch, followed by her triumphantly carrying her ball home, has been reduced to a quick potty break in the back yard and -- maybe -- an equally quick tug-of-war session inside afterward. Sometimes, there isn't even enough time for tugging. This change in routine upsets Allie mightily and she lets me know it. Among her modes of expression are:
-- Barking repeatedly in short, sharp, loud vocalizations that, to my anthropomorphic ears and guilt-ridden heart, sound highly indignant.
-- Checking to see if I've left a bathroom door open so that she can unroll and chew the toilet paper -- actions which, when I hear them, will prompt me to dash upstairs and offer her a cookie to lure her away from the toilet paper.
-- Seeing if she can pry open the kitchen garbage can (yes, those wars continue). Actually, she succeeded in getting that garbage can open yesterday. I'd forgotten to barricade it behind some bar stools, and so she simply got behind the garbage can and tipped it over. The nifty little gizmo that I'd used to keep the lid shut popped open, and by the time I got upstairs there was garbage strewn all over the kitchen floor.
I really can't blame Allie and I certainly can't get mad at her. I get it: I'm her best pal, the giver of all good things, and I've been less available to her lately. She doesn't understand why I'm less available; she could care less that my current embarassment of writing riches is necessary to offset the dearth of assignments that afflicted me (and apparently a whole bunch of other writers) earlier in the year.
I want to tell her I'm sorry. I want to tell her that the irony of this situation is not lost on me.
Right now she's lying under my desk. I reach down to give her a scritch, in the hopes that my loving touch will be worth a thousand words -- or at least a whole bunch of apologies.