I haven’t done one of these updates in forever. The truth is that it’s getting hard to write about the personal details of my life, knowing that I’m so easily Google-able. In college, I couldn’t have cared less about my online presence. I applied for and got many job and law school acceptances, including a State Department internship that required a background check. The check was so thorough that my interviewer even asked about my grandma’s name, and I was a disgrace to my Chinese ancestors — I said that I didn’t know her name. That happens when nobody you know calls Grandma by her real name, and Chinese names stick in my head about as well as scientific names for plants. Hey, I know one off the top of my head! Cedrus atlantica. That’s cedarwood, which I know because I’ve been buying essential oils for my puppy. We’ll get into that very shortly. Anyway, the point is that I didn’t care before, but I’m starting to care now. It’s not because I’m afraid people will judge me or I will lose jobs because of it. It’s because the reality is that I’m going to be practicing law for the indefinite future, and I feel like it’s weird for my clients to know the nitty-gritty details of my own life. I figure having a lawyer is the same as having a therapist. You just don’t want to know things about their life, because you start to see them as a fallible human being. I know that I wouldn’t have wanted to read about my therapist’s marriage, struggles, etc. So it’s out of a sense of empathy and professional responsibility to my clients that I am now hesitant to be an open book on this blog. Yet I do still feel a responsibility to share with you all the way I have all these years in the hope that my stories will make you feel a little less alone in this harsh world. I don’t know where this blog’s future lies. Things might get less personal, and I might make older posts private, but I can promise that I’ll keep writing.
With that aside, here’s what’s going on in my life. Everyone keeps asking me how married life is going, but the truth is absolutely nothing changed after I got married, and that’s the way I wanted it. There’s been a lot of change in my life recently, but marriage is not one of them. Now, the things that have changed. I became a mother. To a beautiful, mischievous, stubborn husky pup named Juniper Cao (Dan and I have decided that since our human babies get his surname, our fur babies will get mine). We call him Juno for short. His full AKC name is Midnight White’s Drops of Juniper, which is a play on the song Drops of Jupiter by Train.
He hails from a wonderful breeder in New Hampshire, and he’s the result of many decades of hard work by people who love the breed and are passionate about improving it. Unfortunately, despite winning the genetic lottery in many ways, Juno’s had a rough start in life. His mom Berry passed away suddenly when he was only six weeks, and we’ve been doing everything we can since to make up for it. He and his litter mates are about two weeks behind the norm in growth, and they’ve all had chronic diarrhea since their mom died. When I first heard from his breeder about Berry, that was the moment I knew that Juno wasn’t just a dog to me — he’s someone that I love and consider a part of my family as much as anyone in the world. Berry died giving everything she had to her puppies, and thinking of her final moments just made me cry and cry. I even made Dan give a eulogy for Berry and pray for the puppies every night until we brought Juno home.
So that brings me to today, where I am now moonlighting as a butcher. I just finished buying 30 pounds of meat and a 7.0-cubic feet chest freezer. To say that Juno is a spoiled dog is a vast understatement — he currently eats better than I do. There’s good reason for it, though. We tried everything we could to fix his diarrhea…pumpkin, rice, supplements, you name it. We had him tested for everything under the sun, took him to the vet twice, and changed him to a limited ingredient kibble in case he had a food intolerance. No dice. Or, should I say, no deuce. At last, I took the plunge and started him on a raw diet. His current menu goes something like this: two drumsticks for breakfast, a pork chop for lunch, and steak and liver for dinner. We’re giving him probiotics and slippery elm bark to help with the transition. He also gets a rotation of Alaskan salmon oil, 400 IUs of vitamin E, and apple cider vinegar as supplements. Every single day, the consistency and quality of his poop is my number one concern. And, guys, the first day on raw he had the first solid poop of his life. Since then, we’ve had bouts of diarrhea and mucous interspersed with good poops, but it is 100x better than the constant chocolate milkshake he had before. The fact that he likes raw infinitely more than kibble is a huge plus. I spend so much time these days worrying about his diet and health that it’s hard to keep track of mine.
Of course, I would get a dog with an extremely sensitive stomach. Last year, I randomly developed a wheat/soy/cherries/banana/basically-anything-that-isn’t-meat, veggies-or-rice intolerance. It’s been a huge struggle to find things I can eat and an even bigger struggle to find things I want to eat. I wasn’t a big meat eater before, to the point where I’d buy chicken breast or pork chops once a month and never beef. Especially since my pescatarian sister moved in with us, I ate much more soy and fish than meat. God decided to play a cruel joke and made me eat only things that Billy Bob can’t eat. I am so fortunate that I can still handle dairy and rice, otherwise I’d probably whittle away and die. Even as it is, I struggle to maintain my weight. Since we brought Juno home, I haven’t had time and energy to feed myself well, and I’ve lost a couple of pounds. Cooking for our family is a nightmare, since Billy Bob only likes salmon and shrimp, and she gets sick of both easily. Right now, I’m at the point where I’m pretty sick of anything I could possibly eat. It’s really sad, considering food used to be one of my greatest passions in life. Papa John’s, Taco Bell, Popeye’s, mapo tofu, soondubu jjiggae, budae jjiggae, apple pie, rest in peace. Sigh. I try not to think about it too much, and I take comfort in the fact that I’m eating almost entirely unprocessed foods. Every time I ask the server for gluten-free and soy-free options, though, I judge myself a little bit.
Anyway, Juno is absolutely, totally spoiled. He has a $400 dog house, three different grooming brushes, and Cedarwood and Rose Geranium essential oils to help repel bugs and keep him smelling good. He plays with other puppies three times a week and with his sitter twice a week. He’s never gone more than a few hours alone in the house, but he’s very good about settling down in his pen by himself. Every night, we keep a baby monitor on him just in case he needs us. I didn’t know that I would love him this much, but I’m glad that I do. Right now I’m giving everything I have to him, knowing that one day he’ll return the favor ten times over.