OK, OK, it's time. At least one of you has been bugging me for a few days now about writing about why I don't have a dog and why I won't have a dog. So here you go.
Adolpha is crazy about dogs and she would love to own one. Easily three times a week she asks for a dog and three times a week I say, "No. A dog is too much work and too much responsibility for us. We barely have enough time to spend with you and Gomer. When would we spend time with a dog? We like to travel and be gone a lot and that's not fair to a dog. It would not be a good life for a dog in our house. When you're older and on your own, you can have your own." End of discussion: No Dogs Allowed.
But, why? You ask. Dogs are man's best friend. They are our best companions. Dogs are loving and loyal and protective. You should have a dog, you meanie.
Growing up, my brother and I wanted a dog. We would beg and plead with our parents (Pleeeeeeeeeeeease????). We would negotiate and over promise (C.B. will pick up the poop and I'll walk him and we'll never fight anymore we promise, promise, promise!). We would guilt trip our parents (EVERYBODY we know has a dog. You don't love us!).
My parents never budged. They never said, "We'll think about it." There was never a family meeting called where we could discuss the pros and cons of dog ownership. It was always just straight up "No." Even when precious little C.B. wrote letters to Santa for years asking for a dog my parents remained stoic - that's just cold. (For those of you who are wondering, Adolpha doesn't ask Santa for a live dog, because she knows that Santa does not bring live animals, so it's not worth wasting your time on him. I learned from watching C.B. that I could never say "No" if she asked Santa.)
My mother was (and still is actually) a stickler for a clean house (yes, she cringes every time she steps in my front door, but that's a post for another day). She was constantly wiping something, dusting something or vacuuming something. The mess that two little kids made was enough to send her over the edge and the idea of a dog just overwhelmed her. My dad traveled a lot for work so we were on our own a lot and my mom did not want one more thing dependent upon her or making a mess for her to clean up. My dad would just say, "Yeah. What your mother said."
All of this dog animosity rubbed off on me. I began to see dogs the way she did: messy, stinky, slobbery, whiny, destructive, sheddy (Is that a word? Well, it is now.), hyper, barky, yippy/yappy and expensive.
I quickly got on the no dog bandwagon. C.B. did not.
The first purchase C.B. and his wife made together was a dog. This was my first experience around a dog. He was a nice, older Boston Terrier who preferred to lay in the sun or cuddle. He didn't smell, he didn't bark or whine, his shedding was minimal. He was actually kind of...dare I say...nice.
I was actually thinking I'd been misinformed. Dogs weren't as bad as I thought. This one seemed really very...fine. And then C.B. got his second dog.
This time he got a puppy. A stinky, wriggly, chewy, albeit amazingly adorable puppy. This puppy was so hyper she would play catch with you until her legs gave out from exhaustion. She would yap and nip and jump. Ahh...yes, this is what I thought dogs were like.
Don't get me wrong, C.B. and Ida are tough dog parents and set down rules for their dogs, but this was a puppy and she was a handful. I could never be as strict at C.B. and Ida, so I knew right then a puppy was not in my future.
After a few years, C.B. and Ida were going on vacation and they asked if the Hubs and I would dog sit. None of us had kids yet, so these were C.B. and Ida's "children." The pressure was incredible. What if one choked on dinner? What if the little one ran away like she does sometimes? What if the old one keeled over on my watch? I was an absolute nervous wreck. I didn't know anything about dogs, but I didn't want to say No. So I agreed.
I was given a list of instructions that helped. Luckily, Ida is detail-oriented and she knew I had no dog experience. The instructions said things like, Feed the dogs 1/3 cup of dry food, 20 minutes later, take them outside to go to the bathroom. Encourage them with phrases like, "Go, go, go." (I doubt Ida has ever had to leave such detailed instructions for anyone, but I was glad she did because I am an idiot and "Go, go, go" did seem to make a difference.)
When they dropped them off, the old dog left an enormous shit in my hallway to let us all know he wasn't very happy with the arrangement - he could smell my fear. I wanted to take a shit in his crate to let him know I felt the same way - and reinstate myself as Alpha Dog.
Long story short, I did not kill the dogs. I was never calm while they were with me. I was always on edge that something terrible would happen to them and I would be responsible. Surprisingly, I was never asked to dog sit again.
After that weekend, my feelings on dogs were firmly cemented. I like to visit dogs. I like to pet dogs. I like to send dogs home with their owners.
My guess is, there are a lot of dog owners who feel that way about my kids and we can both agree on that.
The most ironic part of this story, though, is when Ida and I were both pregnant with our boys - the first two grandchildren for my parents. My mom was acting kind of strange. She was getting excited for the two babies that were coming, but she had a weird maternal-ticking-clock kind of feeling too that she couldn't shake. She thought maybe she wanted a dog. Huh??
One of C.B.'s friends mentioned she knew about a rescued Boston Terrier that needed a good home, but she was having trouble finding a spot for him. My mom asked to meet the dog. WHAT????
C.B.'s friend brought the dog over for my mom to meet him. After looking into his enormous, goggly, wonky eyes (yes, he has one eye that doesn't track as well as the other) she fell in love and adopted him.
ARE YOU KIDDING ME???? WE don't like dogs. YOU raised me that way. WTF??
Her response? "I was wrong. They're sweet."
To this day, I blame this adoption on the pheromones and hormones that Ida and I were pumping into the air that made my mom want her own menopausal "baby." Meanwhile, that "baby" has a better life than me or C.B. ever had. Sigh.
Hey wait! I just had a breakthrough. (Who needs a shrink when I have a blog??) Maybe that's it. It's not that dogs are smelly or messy, etc. It's just that I'm jealous of a dog's life. They get to sleep all day (bliss). Someone feeds them and walks them on a regular basis (no need to cook). They get snuggles and love and someone to play with them and give them treats when they're good. Dogs have no responsibility (let's face it, I would never be a service dog) and no one expects much from them.
That's it, I don't want a dog, because I want to be a dog. Actually, after reading the headlines this morning, I've decided a cat's life is more for me. I want to be this cat.
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