Tuesday, March 27, 2018

We All Have A Little Sweet Disorder That We Cling To

When we adopted Willa, I checked out Dog Time for a list of Jack Russell Terrier characteristics. She's a purebred. I've heard a lot of people say they would never adopt a Jack Russell Terrier. They weren't shy about explaining why. They're a handful. Challenging. Have a high energy level. Are more suited for experienced "dog owners." Sneaky. Mischevious. As quoted by the article, "The JRT is highly trainable, but he has a mind of his own and won't stand for boredom. If you don't keep him entertained, he'll find his own amusements, and you probably won't be happy with the results."

Nothing in the article intimidated us. 

It didn't take long for us to realize that as Dog Moms, we had been spoiled with Coco, Sophie, and Lobo. Sure, they all have their handful of idiosyncrasies, but none of those included chewing holes in blankets, jumping on the table to snag something that caught their attention or requiring 262 games of on-demand fetch a day.

Willa was different. Very. Very. Different. She has kept us on our toes. In a good way. She's curious, mischevious, very smart, and she's an absolute love with us and her siblings. However, over time, we've taken notice a few peculiar traits of hers.

The first, she doesn't like it when the floors are tidy. Prior to my daily vacuuming routine, I pick up all of the kid's toys and distribute them to all 4 of their DIY Doggy Toy Boxes.

Even before I turn the vacuum on, Willa sneaks a couple of the toys out of the toy boxes. Five minutes after I vacuum, she has at least a dozen toys already scattered on the floor. She doesn't take them out because she wants to play fetch or to chew on the chew bones. She takes them out for the sole purpose of decorating the floors.

We have officially deemed this as Willa's Floor Art.

The second, every single morning, she tips the mini wooden chair in front of my desk in the home office and drags the doll halfway across the floor. When I put the chair back in front of my desk and rearrange the fabric doll on the chair prior to vacuuming, she'll tip the chair and drag the doll after I'm done the vacuuming.

Last, when we had a love seat in the home office, Willa would take it upon herself to upgrade her favorite nap spot. Apparently, the throw blanket we put on the love seat wasn't quite to her liking. She made a hole between the back cushions, pulled some of the stuffing out, and made her own version of a doggy bed.

It's not chaos. She's not doing it to be destructive. It's simply her "order." 

It reminds me of many years ago when I was a personal care attendant. Most of my clients had the onset of Alzheimer's. During that period in my life, I attended several training classes and seminars. One of the key points covered was the importance of shifting your perspective when it came to behaviors that were out of the ordinary.

For example, I took care of a sweet lady in her home when her daughter and son-n-law vacationed or went on weekend getaways. I stayed for the duration of their vacations. Often times, I'd walk into the kitchen or dining room and find this sweet lady's "art."

One time she put a gummy bear in the center of every tile on their tiled kitchen table. Or, she'd put the contents of my hygiene and cosmetics bag in the refrigerator. I'd go into the bathroom and discover yogurt and orange juice containers on the bathroom sink. On another occasion, she filled every single coffee mug with 1/4 cup of maple syrup.

The shift in perspective that was emphasized in the training seminars taught us to avoid the knee-jerk reaction of asking, "Why did you do this?" Instead, we were encouraged to take a few steps back and embrace their sense of "art." To them, it made sense. For some reason, placing a gummy bear in the center of each table tile was something she had to do to maintain order.

This is how I view Willa's peculiar traits. 

Willa is not content unless the floors are cluttered with toys and bones. When I pick up all the toys, she has to take most of them out before she can hunker down for a nap. It's her sweet disorder.

The rest of our kids have a little sweet disorder in them.

Coco is the reason why we haven't made our bed in almost 6 years. If we make the bed, he pushes all of the blankets to the end of the bed during his process of getting under the blankets for nappy times.

Sophie doesn't like to sleep on neatly folded blankets. She'll spend a few minutes unfolding the blankets with her paws and mouth until it's just right.

Lobo picks up our shoes and slippers with his mouth and puts them on the doggy beds throughout our home. It takes him a bit to do this, but he's a determined lil' guy.

Olivia likes to "popcorn" when we clean her cage every week. Ten minutes after she has new bedding and the floor is vacuumed, there's a ton of bedding on the floor.

In all fairness, Lisa and I have our own sweet disorder too.

Lisa is famous for creating catch-all spots around our home. It used to drive me nuts. But, that's just the way she is. After a few days, I declutter the small piles and put stuff in their rightful places. The next day, she'll start another catch-all all spot.

Me, well, my sweet disorder is the kitchen table. It's where I play with paint and work my magic with all of the wood pieces for DIY Dog Mom Projects that Lisa cuts, sands, and builds. There was a time when I would scrub the table daily to remove the paint. Months ago, I threw up my hands and said, "Why bother?!?!"

At that point, I told our dinner guests that it was our Art Deco table. It was a great conversation maker. Best of all, no one cared about eating on a table that was plastered with dried paint.

We all have our own version of sweet disorder.

I still apply the same perspective today that I did many years ago when working with those who had Alzheimer's.

I embrace it.

All of it.

No comments:

Post a Comment