Ten reasons why Emily shouldn’t get a dog right now

10.) Money. Vet bills. Accessories. Cool collars, beds and fun toys!!! Wait. Focus. Why care for someone else when I’ve only just begun caring for myself (and the giant peace lily in my family room)?

9.) Shedding. Unless I get a hairless dog, like Cruella de Vil’s Fluffy:

Remember?
Remember?

8.) Barking. Because my neighbor’s dog is kind of annoying. Even though I know he/she just wants to get off the darn leash and go for a walk for once. Phew. Had to get that off my chest.

7.) Accidents in the house. Because, though I loved that little black cock-a-poo, Oliver made messes in the house throughout my childhood. Even when he reached doggy adulthood. He who used to run into the back screen door never learned right from wrong. In retrospect, he would have looked really cute in one of those doggy diapers. Human diapers may have even worked…he didn’t have much of a tail. Hmm…

6.) Wait –– I don’t have carpet. Huzzah! But this is supposed to be a con list. Whoops.

5.) What if she’s territorial? My boyfriend would probably have to sleep on an air mattress if my dog ends up anything like my brother’s golden retriever. And she would, of course, sleep in my bed with me. She’d be my little princess. She’d have a pretty green bed in the corner, but she’d never sleep in it because she’d be welcome on mine. It’s a queen. It’s definitely big enough.

4.) She’d take over my life. As seen in #5, I’d basically let her walk all over me. Which is what dog owners are supposed to do, right? They’re too cute to let down…

3.) No drinks right after work. Dorothy’s gotta go potty sometime.

2.) No weekend trips. Or a life, really. Because, like I said before, she’d take it over. She wouldn’t be like a cat whose food bowl I can fill and litter box I can clean. She’d be my version of a human baby, because God knows I’m not ready for that shit yet.

1.) I’m looking too hard. She needs to find me.

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My little brother named Ollie

“Here’s our new puppy!” a seven-year-old Emily exclaimed as she plopped a fuzzy, black unidentifiable creature onto the family room table.

All three of the boys leapt up in surprise from their scattered positions around the room.

We took the cock-a-poo outside and let him run around while we tossed around possible names.

“How about Oreo?!?” I remember shouting out. He was black and white; it made perfect sense to me. But Mom really liked the name Oliver. We would call him “Ollie” for short.

***

The list of nicknames grew.

We called him “Ollie Dolly,” “Dollar Bill,” “Dolliver” and he came to be known to Dad as “Little Fern,” though we’ve never known why.

Reggie and Ollie got along famously. Even our then-cat, Pumpkin, didn’t seem to mind the new addition.

“How many animals do you have?” they’d ask me at school. “Two dogs and a cat” was my go-to answer. I was five when we got Reggie; I didn’t know anything different.

***

Here I am 11 years later, stuck 11 years in the past.

Taken in May of 2012.

“Ollie has diabetes really bad and Dr. Inkley’s recommendation is to put him to sleep : (,” came a text from my mom at 12:09 p.m. yesterday.

I bawled.

When I’m at school, everything is supposed to be okay at home. I’m supposed to pull into the driveway after weeks of being away and be greeted by the same three dogs every time. Nobody’s supposed to die. Everything should be exactly the way I left it.

***

Robby drove me to the vet after my last first class of the day.

“The weather outside is perfect today,” I mused as the rain drizzled and the windshield wipers wiped. I lost it a couple of times.

When we arrived at the vet’s office, Dad greeted us and took us to the back. Mom stood there, holding a dog who had lost 40 pounds in the past three months. His cataracts clouded his vision, but we kissed him and passed him around, getting our final pets and pats in while we could. (“Meow, meow” went a cat every couple of seconds to which Adam said, “If that cat doesn’t shut the fuck up I’m going to put it to sleep.” That made us laugh.)

I bawled when Dad held his puppy; he was losing his first dog, too, not to mention his yard work companion.

“There’s a very slim chance he could be treated and be back to normal,” the vet said when he joined our pity party. “When a pet’s at this age, I’d rather let him/her go peacefully than try to be some kind of hero.”

Mom bent over Oliver and reassured him that everything was going to be okay.

“Tell Papa we say hi,” Dad told him.

“He’ll have treats for you, bud,” I said.

And after a very quick injection, Ollie’s breathing stilled.

***

Ollie was as much of a brother to me as my human ones are. He kept me warm at night (though my brothers didn’t necessarily do this), he protected me when I needed it and he loved me unconditionally. And even though at age 11 he still was not completely potty-trained, I loved him despite the presents he left me in my room.

It won’t sink in until I pull into the driveway and see Junie and Reggie, but no Ollie.

It won’t sink in until I check his crate and see that he’s not snoozing there.

It won’t sink in until I go home and fail to hear a scratch from him at the front or back door.

I have dreaded Monday since I was a little girl. My family and I grew extremely attached to this little black bundle of fuzz. He seldom gave kisses, but when he did, they were sweet, not slobbery. Cute, not overwhelming.

I miss you, Ollie Dolly. I wish you could have lived forever like I wanted you to.

Shedding flip flops

It’s been nearly four weeks since I was last at home.

Four weeks since I last took a shower sans flip flops.

Four weeks since my puppies have kissed me, my kitties meowed at me.

Four weeks since I’ve heard my grandma’s voice (sorry I haven’t called you…I’m afraid I’ll get too sad).

Four weeks since I’ve watched the regular TV programming I fall into the habit of doing when I am at home.

Four weeks since I’ve cooked a meal and loaded a dish washer.

This is the longest amount of time I’ve ever spent away from home. In the fall, it was convenient to go home after several cross country meets, plus my birthday weekend in early November was spent at home. Before this, it was three weeks. Now I’m up to four.

I haven’t seen JuneBug, Reggie, Oliver, Weezie or Ruby since the Sunday I left to come back to Bonaventure. The other morning, I woke up and swore I felt Reggie on my bed next to me (I woke up picturing his funny feet, with the sprazzy hairs poking in-between the worn pads on his toes).

I can shut my eyes and pretend the road outside and the sounds emitted are from the hill near my house and Route 62 just below it. The bass from the third floor is Adam down the hall, driving me nuts as I try to read a book. My friends are my moms, and I don’t seem to have a dad.

Here I lack a dad, older brothers and five funny pets (plus one more for Grady). But I make up for the missing pieces with friends, relationships with my teachers and upperclassmen who seem to believe in me. Oh, and the wall I’ve dedicated to those five pets – plus one Grady – might help a little bit.

A week from today, I will be able to shed my flip flops, kiss my puppies and kitties, talk to my brothers and be reunited with my two best friends: my mom and dad.

L-o-v-e

I don’t lust after the big-time movie or pop stars. It’s not like I have a giant poster of Brad Pitt in my room. (I never said I didn’t have a shrine devoted to him.) I have never seen the point in “loving” someone when they don’t even know you exist. Stop wasting time and get out in the real world and meet a REAL guy.

There are only a few semi-famous men that I have drooled over. Oh sure, there’s that guy on TV every once in awhile and you say, “oh, he’s cute,” but you never bother looking up their name. This is different. I prefer the older men: thus Hugh Laurie and Hugh Jackman. The two Hughs. *drools*

I have been in “love” with Hugh Jackman ever since I saw the first X-Men movie years and years ago. Wolverine… *sigh*. The scene where we are first introduced to him and he doesn’t have his shirt on – it’s magnificent. Wolverine was never my favorite X-Men until I saw Hugh play the part. He’s my favorite actor in all of the movies. I absolutely “love” him.

Then there’s Hugh Laurie. I remember watching him as the bad guy in 101 Dalmatians, and of course I didn’t like him! I wanted the puppies to win against the bad men and Cruella. But oh, now that I’ve seen him on House…phew! I don’t care if he’s ancient compared to me, he’s handsome as hell, and a great actor on top of that.

I don’t profess my love for them unless I see them on TV or in a magazine or something. I don’t have posters of them in my room (though my friend drew me a picture of Jackman for me… *drools*) but that doesn’t mean I am not a fan. I don’t worship the ground they walk on and wish to purchase one of their used napkins off of Ebay. I’m not creepy like that. They’re attractive, I like them, they don’t have to like me, I’ll just stay content admiring from afar.

Emily’s poetry, a history

I’ve been writing poetry for years. My mother named me after her favorite poet, so why not carry it on? I started out with a composition notebook that I decorated with stickers. Everyone just assumed it was my diary, as if it couldn’t be anything but a shallow notebook with all of my deepest secrets and fears hidden inside. Nobody gave me enough credit. Boys would steal it from me, but I managed to get it back without any harm done. They were only teasing. Teasing is harmless, right?

After that was filled, I moved onto a pink camouflage notebook that had pens attached to the front of it. It was nifty because if I had an idea I didn’t have to hunt for a pen before being able to write it down. The pens were just there. That notebook was also known as my “diary” and even a teacher asked: “why do you bring your diary to school?” To which I simply replied: “it’s not a diary.”

I poured random thoughts and whimsical dreams into those notebooks. Within about a month, the pages started ripping out of the pink camo notebook, so I saved the paper, but threw the rest of the notebook in the garbage. It was time to move on again.

I found a regular old yellow spiral notebook and plastered it with quotes, stickers, drawings, and pop-up sunflowers that I ripped off a thing I had at home. Poetry was transferred from my head onto the pages of that thing for about a year. I entered the seventh grade with the same notebook, and only showed the ones I was proud of to my then English teacher (who is now a teacher in the high school). The boys in my grade grew up a little and stopped calling it my diary, and I continued writing.

For my birthday that year, one of my best friends (we barely speak anymore…) bought me a hardcover spiral notebook with puppies on the front. Said notebook lasted me for nearly two years. That notebook taught me something important. Because I wanted the notebook to last, I only wrote poetry when I really really felt like it and had a good feeling about an idea. I decided that I didn’t have to write about everything – but there are some things that I will always wish to remember. I still have one page left in that notebook that remains empty. If I fill it in, the notebook is done forever. I always want to have the option of being able to fill it up totally. It’s amazing to go from the earlier poems in that book to the last few. It’s like traveling through two years of my life in thirty minutes.

Eventually, I took a little notebook that was a party favor at some birthday party I went to (I think it was Carin’s) and ripped out the used pages. I then covered it with duct tape, and voila! New notebook.

Using the duct tape notebook, I rewrote some of the ones I am really proud of, but I also wrote a year’s worth of new material. I am still busy filling it up with my life, so it’s a work in progress. It’s crazy to see how much I have grown in the past year. There are some poems in said book that are extremely naive and young-sounding. I know I will say the same thing in the future when I look back at what I wrote when I was fifteen (the present… for now), but I like what is exploding out of my pen at the moment. Maybe I will post some examples in the near future (which is defined as: later today).