Puppies in Quarantine

His brown face, flailing tongue like an aging fan at a KISS concert, looks around the grass patch with a face of dismay.

I sit there with my workout pants and sports bra with a water bottle in hand.

“Go poopy,” I say politely as if I’m telling someone to open the car door.

He looks around and skirts aways from the patch.

I repeat firmly, “Go peepee, go poopy.”

This pattern begins to sound like a ring tone.

“Come on Joey, go poopy.” My voice rose higher and my eyes narrowed.

He sat there and looked at me blankly.

“GO POOPY.” I yelled, and then looked around like the neighbors heard me.

I took a deep breath and felt my feet.

I picked up this little ball of fur and took him upstairs.

He cried sharply as I jumped on the workout bike.

He ran around and then waited like a kindergartener at the end of a school day at the brown wooden fence.

When I finished, I took him out. I watched his little brown figure wiggle around the pavement and make his way to the grass.

He got in position. I felt my heart sink.

We did it Joe Biden Hefter. You finally, finally took a shit.

Having a pet makes you realize that no matter how crazy your life gets, there are so many small victories.

Your life could be falling apart by when your pet relieves the pain he’s been feeling for 45 minutes, you don’t see anything better.

In 2020, there aren’t many positives.

The world feels like it’s slipping under you. You cancel the vacations, the weddings, the birthdays.

Life remains a closed door to concerts, to bars, to restaurants, to liveliness.

You find yourself with so much red ink on your calendar, crossed off dates.

You’re bleeding. The world’s bleeding.

Large victories fall to the back burner.

But Joe Biden became president and black lives mattered and fought and plagued against injustice.

Then millions of people passed from the pandemic.

Yet, Taylor Swift released two albums.

Small victories, even though profoundly insignificant in the long run, provide a quick release of happiness.

When we cherish those tiny things, they begin to move us forward when we feel like we’re trudging through hot heavy clay.

That’s why this one small, stinky, relief becomes a small part of the mess of this world and begins to give me a small nugget of hope.

Small things that make me smile:

Throwing a small white elephant Christmas party and giving away Schitt’s Creek stickers on a Friday night.

Finding solace in the quiet moments that bring me joy: finally finding time to read recommended novels and write this blog post and be with the my wonderful self.

Pouring my heart into a HIIT class on a rooftop overlooking San Diego or cycling in the middle of the navy barracks at Liberty Station.

Feeling the ups and downs like childbirth: teething and peeing and pooping and whining and crying, while smiling, wagging, running, and cuddling.

Learning to love and live with responsibilities.

Or flying to Minneapolis, with a boy you later broke up with, to get a puppy to soothe the deep unrest caused by the stay-at-home order.

Responsibility never felt so secure, so void of anxiety and loneliness.

Relaxing on the couch at your parents house with Joey Biden Zeppelin Hefter after he successfully did his business.

I adore the way he runs and jumps and greets every single dog and human like his best friend.

I adore his everyday bonding with the maintenance man and the front desk staff in my building.

His best friends at the restaurant next door, where he pivots to grab a treat from whoever is working during each walk.

Today, he claws his way out of the cage surrounding the grass area, looking at me with his whirlpool eyes.

Finally, this calm wafts over him.

His tongue pours into a smile.

He’s whole again.

Eyes winking at me as his tail shakes his whole body.

I’m sweaty and red and pursing my lips: soothed and grateful.

The world becomes an imperfect, small, wonderfully soiled brown mess.

And it’s all okay.

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