Here comes Hoss!

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In hindsight, it appears that I have spent my entire life waiting for tomorrow. I remember being in high school and hating it... needed an adventure.

So I signed up for the Army - obviously not fun. Then... I couldn't wait for college. And after that, I couldn't wait for a real job. When I spent a few months interning at a tv station, that was certainly not enough. I had to be a reporter - one day, I figured, it might happen. It happened. I became a reporter. Then an anchor. Years passed. Then moved to a new market. Years passed. And then to another new market. And finally, I think I'm "there." Phoenix. Great tv market. Great city. Great apartment. And after I finished unpacking, setting up the flat screen and tevoing Entourage, I sat down on the brand new leather recliner and watched the sun set through the palm trees out my window. Obviously, this is what I've been waiting for. This is my tomorrow.

It was just a little too nice and neat.... like a pefectly sculpted head of hair. It needed a little ruffling. So I ruffled it alright. I got a dog.

On the two hour trip from Northern Arizona where I picked him up from the breeder, the idea had never been better. I mean, just look at him. This dog is the man! He is a mutt... well, actually, he's a carefully cross-bred pug/beagle mix that falls under the "designer dog" distinction, and none of my friends back home will let me live that down. But he's a chick magnet, and I named him Hoss, about as manly a name as it gets. Those two things outweigh his daintiness for sure. Right? Anyway... so if you've never had an 8 week old puppy and tried to housetrain him while working 10 hours in between, you gotta try it. You'll never worry about tomorrow again.

Here's how it works:

1:00am Wake up to yelping dog in crate.
1:02am Navigate courtyard and pool to a patch of grass while wearing only boxers and one-arm cradling my designer dog.
1:03am Place dog on grass and nestle in an orange plastic chair which was made with no regard for human comfort.
1:05am No pottie or big pottie. (you can figure out the difference)
1:10am Nothing.
1:15am Back inside, dog does his designer deed on my kitchen rug, meticulously missing the rest of the stain-resistant concrete floor around it.
1:16am I don't care, I'm too tired. Spary rug with febreeze and put dog back in crate. Back to bed for Ben.
4:00am My ears are hurting. Dog is crying like he's being drop-kicked by Pele'. We have another pajama party on the patio.
4:02am The dog sniffs every leaf, rock and cigarette butt near the 10 foot by 20 foot plot of grass. No pottie.
4:10am You guessed it... nada.
4:12am I consider taking up smoking for lack of anything to do during this painful waiting process.
4:15am I've gotta get some sleep. Dogs have pottied in crates before.
5:30am The screaming is relentless. I succumb and realize I'm paying a lot of money to spend the majority of my free time in 100 degree heat praying for poop.
5:36am Slouched over, drool on my cheek wakes me up. It's mine. No pottie.
5:40am Think to myself, "certainly he went, and I just missed it." 20 more minutes of sleep to get... I figure he'll sleep in the bed by me. He is just scared.
6:00am Yelping. No... alarm clock. Dog tugging at my ear.
6:01am No way there's that much drool on my pillow. No way drool is that warm. It's definitely not drool. Not even Febreeze can handle this!
6:05am Chow time. The dog eats Science Diet like he had been fed tofu since birth. He will have to pottie.
6:10am Orange chair. Grass. Me. Dog.
6:15am Orange chair. Grass. Me. No dog.
6:17am New discovery: Puppies fit through even the slightest cracks in doors. Apparently he likes to pottie in air conditioning. Kitchen rug. More Febreeze.
6:20am Get in shower, dog roams apartment free = rookie parenting.
6:35am Numbers lesson: 15 minutes equates to 9 hours in dog time. $160 worth of chew toys will remain untouched if you have $160 shoes in the vicinity.
6:36am Lock dog in crate during profanity-laced tirade. Pick out different shoes.
7:45am Take dog out for one last stand-off. He wins. No pottie. Apparently he drained his resources on my 1,000 count pillowcase.
8:00am Work time. Crate time. Yelping. Loud yelping. Reassure neighbors there is no spousal abuse happening in my apartment. Leave.

This is the timeline as told by my neighbor who takes the dog out during the day. Her account of babysitting:

11:00am Let dog out of crate. Take him to grass. Dog potties AND big botties.
11:05am Give dog treat and water.
11:15am Play with dog by pool. Dog eats ONLY chew toys.
12:00pm Take dog to grass. Dog potties.
12:05pm Put dog in crate.
3:00pm Take dog to grass. Dog potties.
3:15pm Put dog in crate.

I call this part "Back to reality":

6:45pm Open my apartment door to the pungent aroma similar to that of a public restroom.
6:46pm Check crate to find every inch of the $40 wool dog bed covered in, well... big pottie.
6:48pm Orange chair for me. Grass for dog. No pottie for anyone.
6:50pm On hands and knees, holding breath, scrubbing an infant dog's defiled domain.
7:15pm Find dog gnawing on legs of leather couch that is still owned by MasterCard.
7:16pm Check breeder sales papers for return policy. "Paid in cash. No refunds."
7:17pm Shower time. Numbers lesson not learned. 15 minutes... dog roams.
7:35pm Begin to wonder how many rolls is "enough" paper towels and whether I should sign up at Costco just for Lysol purchases.
8:00pm Try to teach dog to sit using T-R-E-A-T's. After 20 minutes, 5 treats and no success, figure cart is well before the horse... or Hoss in this case.
8:30pm Introduce dog to Tony Soprano and Vincent Chase. Dog lies down on my lap and finally calms. He likes HBO. Decide I will keep him.
12:00pm Yelping. Orange chair... here I come.

So in the four weeks I've had the Hossifer, he's basically become the perfect pet. That's a lie. He still gnaws on my furniture and phone chargers and everything that's not purchased at PetSmart. But he is progressing every day. And while it's not the same as having a baby, it's not far off. It's really teaching me some responsibility... had to happen some time I guess. And it's teaching me that I don't have to always focus on the future, but to play in the present. Even if the present is at 3 in the morning... with nothing more than an orange chair and a defiant dog.