Thursday, July 3, 2008

Doggie OCD

When I joked about Riley's OCD tendencies at the end of a previous post, I really wasn't being sarcastic. Take for example his nightly bedtime ritual. When I get into bed, he sits to the right of me and starts licking my hand. Then he goes to the bottom of the bed... where he scopes out the room and lets out a little growl, as if warning the darkness not to approach. At this point he either comes to the top edge of the bed on my left hand side where I lift the covers and he goes underneath them to sleep next to my left leg, or he goes around the head of my pillows to the right side of the covers. If he goes under the covers on my right hand side, he steps between my ankles to curl up between my feet.

Every night.

Left hand side, next to my legs. Right hand side, between my feet. That's not normal, right?

One night as the ritual started I put my right hand under the covers so he couldn't start licking it. I thought it would be an interesting experiment, but that poor pup FREAKED OUT. He stared at me like I had just beat him and then was digging at the covers and whimpering/crying trying to find my hand. It worked him up so much I decided he could lick my hand every night for the rest of his life if it made him more at ease.

He might be a little crazy at times, but how could you not love that face?

I find that as my life has gotten a bit more unpredictable in the past few years, I have gotten a lot more habitual as well. Some of it is just a physical necessity. I pretty much eat the same thing every day... I know what my stomach can handle, and the more I keep things consistent, the less nausea comes into my day. I love organizing, which is mandatory when living in a small space. But I've also found that having everything in it's place does save me a lot of wasted energy rummaging around looking for stuff. Knowing how to keep things consistent and make the most out of my physical abilities allows my day to run a little more smoothly.

But unpredictable can be good now and then, too. For the first few days I was on steroids last week I started out on a higher dose than I am at now. And it was such a lovely thing to be unpredictably more mobile. Oh, I had all the typical side effects I don't like... but I also found myself getting up from a chair and being able to stand up straight. I noticed I was just less fidgety and uncomfortable. And I savored every moment of being able to stretch a little easier.

Of course, they don't want me to stay on the higher dose for long. So when I got up one morning after lowering the dose and realized I felt like I always do, it was like the day after Christmas when all the presents have been opened, the company's gone and you have to go back to work. Reality. But every now and again, when life throws you a curve ball like not being able to breathe well, it's nice when it includes a couple days of pain relief too. It makes having to roll with unpredictable changes a little more interesting and a lot more tolerable.

I wonder if that's how Riley feels when he decides to duck under the right side of the covers instead of the left... maybe it's not OCD... maybe he's just keeping his life interesting, too.   :)
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