Why aren't we playing at 530 am??
When your time is not your own, all sense of self-care goes out the window - you’re always covered in horse and dog hair, your lower back is sore from stooping over all the time, and you’re not sure - even now - if you’re awake or asleep.

You squeeze in errands - grocery shopping, Target run, horse hack -  between shorter and shorter puppy naps.  You leave the house, cringing at the sound of whining and barking and hope that the neighbors aren’t home.  You can’t get more than five pages into a book before the inquisitive pup wants to know what are you reading, why are you sitting so still, why can’t I eat it?  You start speeding through your shower routine - even faster than the “navy” shower in the cabin in the woods.

Your alarm clock goes off an ungodly hour and sometimes you wake up even before that time because someone is raring to go at 5 am, bouncing off the walls of his crate.  You live for the occasional nights where he sleeps through it all.  You no longer care what pajamas the neighbors have seen you wearing outside in your yard.  They all have holes in them from sharp puppy teeth anyway.

The kitchen, which used to be your zen spot of the house, is now a battlefield where the dog, who has all of a sudden gotten bouncy, tries to climb the cabinets.  Or the dishwasher.  Or the fridge where you keep tasty baby carrot snacks.  Suddenly, the slow cooker is your best friend again.

When Bryan is out of town, you make jokes with your friends about single pet parenting but secretly cry on the inside. 

When your time is not your own, people - all the darling people - come out of the woodwork and help.

Your kind-hearted neighbor comes over in the mornings while you’re at work, brings over his Frenchie, and gives your pup a potty break as well as a play date.  He texts you updates on how Bowie’s doing - all as a favor and because he loves Bowie.

Your coworkers and family bring you gifts of chew toys and dog treats.  They know that it’s only a matter of time before the puppy teeth find something they’re not supposed to, so keep stuffing his mouth full of toys.  They recommend vets, commiserate about lack of sleep and abundance of mess, and keep reassuring you that “it’ll get better as they get older.”

Your boyfriend laughs as he helps you clean up the bottle of sriracha that you dropped and exploded ALL over the kitchen.  You both find tiny specks of red throughout the kitchen for days afterward.  He listens to you sob after you’ve spent a rainy Saturday spent cooped up inside with the tiny terror, while he’s working on the sunny beaches of Mexico.  He takes the pup to the park at 7:30 am before his work trips because he knows that you won’t be able to after work and the dog will be insane if he’s cooped up all day.

Your trainer is a lifesaver and continues to work her magic on your best girl Mae, excusing the fact that you haven’t been able to attend a lesson in weeks, and arranges a dog party for her three and your one.

And coffee… coffee gives you life when your time is not your own.