March 2021
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Best Challenge of 2009

One problem that I have with year-end “Best Of” lists is that they tend to weight the things that are freshest in our minds and ignore all the stuff that happened at the beginning of the year. It’s like February and March never happened.

That said, I have the attention span of a small child all hepped up on Pixi Stix. So, this blog is really no exception.

I’ve been looking back at all of the things that I took on this year. And I’m sure that I took some things on. Like climbing Mt. Everest. And by “Climbing Mt. Everest,” I mean “Reading a book about climbing Mt. Everest.” And by “Reading a book about climbing Mt. Everest,” I actually mean “Listening to an audio book about climbing Mt. Everest.” But I got the non-abridged version, so that totally counts.

I also:

  • “Attempted to broker world peace” (didn’t get in any major fights with my sisters, my mom, my boyfriend or any of the neighbors)
  • “Ran a marathon” (started training for a half marathon, mostly running more than I walked)
  • “Defied all odds to battle back from major illness” (helped my knee to heal up with physical therapy and ibuprofen)

What can I say? I like to dream the impossible dream.

Seriously, though, I can think of no bigger or more rewarding challenge than taking in a reactive dog with socialization issues. I love Gracie with all of my heart. She’s an amazing dog. I have yet to meet a person that hasn’t just melted the first time that she leaned into them for some serious petting.

She’s also a bit of a pain in the ass.

Sometimes, she’s a total pain in the ass.

And I don’t mean in that whole “Oh man, I can’t believe that I have to walk the dog again” pain in the ass sense. Because, surprisingly enough, I actually really like walking her. Especially when it’s not raining. Or early in the morning. No, by “pain in the ass” I mean that I am not such a fan of having her attempt to pull my arm out of its socket while barking like a crazy dog when we pass another dog on the street.

And let’s just say that we’re really lucky that our neighbors still like us after she gave one of their dogs some scratches. On its head. When she put her whole mouth around it. Admittedly, it was partially their fault for letting their dog get off-leash and jump on Gracie. But it’s still not so fun to have  the whole block know you as “The girl whose dog had Bella’s entire head in her mouth.”

Luckily, we’ve moved way past the biting stage and most of the crazed terror stage. Gracie can sometimes be (perish the thought!) calm when she meets other dogs. And, while she still has her moments where she loses her shit, for the most part she calms right down when she does manage to lose her cool. We still have a long road ahead of us, but I know that we’re going to move past this reactive business.

I can’t think of any more challenging challenge (or rewarding reward for that matter!) than taking on the responsibility for another life. Sure, you can leave a dog for eight hours without having child services called on you, but they do tend to get rather cranky if you don’t feed them or let them go to the bathroom.

But, really, who else is going to hang out with me on the couch while I eat pudding cups?


Sure, I could hang out with Kristian. But he always tries to steal my pudding. Gracie doesn’t try to steal my pudding… because it could kill her.

You couldn’t ask for a better companion.

6 comments to Best Challenge of 2009

  • Aww, I loved reading this! We took in a puppy last November that also had the scared/reactive/mostly scared thing going on. What an adventure (and sometimes a huge pain). But it has been so worth it. Wouldn’t trade her for the world. 🙂

  • I wouldn’t trade Gracie for any other dog. Not even one of those dogs that inherited a billion dollar fortune from their eccentric former owners. :p

  • She’s totally trying the puppy dog eyes for pudding.

  • That’s why I go for the chocolate over vanilla. No temptation to share! Also, chocolate is much more delicious.

  • I love that photo. I recently moved away from a roommate with the most perfect dog ever (meaning, she was a primadona princess, but she deserved to be treated as such!), I miss her horribly – especially miss those moments when she would climb up next to me and cuddle like Gracie is doing with you.

  • Gracie doesn’t get to be a princes… because the two cats would never let her get away with it! 😉

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