Sunday, July 14, 2013

Dog Days

I'm that mom: that mean witch-woman who is so rude because she will not let her children have a dog. 

It seems practically un-American, as my dad likes to tell me. 

When the boys beg for a dog, I always respond the same way. I tell them I will consider it when
every last one of them is 100% potty-trained. In this nutty house where three boys of four do their two-sies in all the wrong places, this means we may begin dog negotiation talks in roughly five to seven years.

I'm a real battle-axe, I know.

I haven't always been this way. I used to adore dogs. I grew up with our overweight sheltie, Theodore, sleeping on the floor by my bed for years. We put up with his food-begging ways and his constant tendency to herd children into tidy groups.

The first dog my family owned was a spastic black lab named Meatball. He ran away after just a few days.

Our next dog was a hyperactive white husky named Jake, who appeared in our house one Christmas morning. Our delight with the puppy who shredded the wrapping paper and wet on the presents later turned to irritation. Turns out our wild Christmas dog had a penchant for chewing everything. He gnawed holes in our gloves and snowpants. He ate the brown and yellow floral banana seat off my sister's bike. He bit our fingers. His palate did not discriminate.

We hit the jackpot with our third dog, Bijou, who was a royal queen among collies. She was gentle and perfect, dignified and lovely.

My memories of Bijou and Theo, and later Sally (oh sweet, sassy Sal!) are blessed. I loved them.

But here's the thing: the people who want me to approve this notion of getting a dog are not the people who clean up after three boys who won't do their daily constitutionals in the potty.

A few years ago I read humorist Bob Tarte's strange, funny book Enslaved by Ducks. He and his wife are these city folks who move to rural Michigan and start compulsively buying, adopting, and rehabilitating any down-on-it's-luck duck, chicken, goose, or tropical house bird which comes their way. Tarte does something which made me want to throw my copy of Enslaved by Ducks at him. He whines about how their ever-burgeoning bird brood must be forced to drink antibiotics to overcome various illnesses.

As I read, I had a few things I wanted to say to this funny man, which included but were not limited to:

1) Get a grip.

2) We are talking about ducks here, ducks that you admit to loathing much of the time. 

3) If you're going to complain about administering meds to a barnyard pet, you picked the wrong reader to whine to. 

4) A frazzled mom of special-needs kids, who has totally had to force-feed her kid anti-nausea meds among other things, can't make herself care about your duck drug woes. 

Anyhow, some people think I'm mean because I've adopted a pragmatic stance about potty-pooping trumping "family pet."

But I value the shreds of my sanity more than I care about being seen as a harpy.

1 comment:

  1. Once you have a dog you can't get rid of it, so I support your no dog policy, i loved dogs too and as a teen I wanted 4 pugs, and no kids...I think I picked the better route to have four kids and no dogs. Maybe in like 10 years we will get one...maybe. -Also I would have loved to hear the interview were the author promotes his book to a publisher, "it's about a guy with get this- ducks! and the climax...they get sick!"