Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Dog People

Shep, gazing longingly at a friend's dog, Buddy.

I am not a dog person.

Never have been. I have had brief and torrid love affairs with specific canines, but never the entire species.

Once upon a time I was a cat person, in my former, pre-kids life. I brought into our marriage two cats, Parlin and Bridget. I loved them. Well, I loved Parlin, but Bridget wasn't terribly lovable so I fed Bridget but I loved Parlin. Think Jacob and Esau. Anyhow, one day when my precious, loved-much-more-than-a-cat baby boy was about six months old, Parlin scratched him in the face and suddenly Parlin was Esaued.

But then that precious baby boy grew up and developed a terrible, debilitating addiction - to dogs.

For years, y e a r s, Shepherd has been begging for a dog. And for years I have said, "You have Ike. Baby brothers are better than dogs!!" And still he begged.

I searched for a 12-step program for him, in vain. So I explained in gory detail the downsides of dog poop. He yet persisted. I offered to dogsit for all our friends so that he could get his fix, but within days of the pet going home Shep would need another hit off the dog pipe. Finally I told him he could have a dog when he was ten. I told him that again, and again, and again. And again.

Walker is not an animal person at all. Now, I know you consider this to be a character flaw, and I agree with you. But it has made my quest for a pet-free zone much easier to maintain.

About six months ago, Walker, the consummate anti-animal person, completely switched sides and began lobbying on Shepherd's behalf, insisting that the kid needed a dog, deserved a dog, had earned a dog.

(He had "earned" it by begging, I guess. And if begging is the criteria for receiving, I am certainly due for some kids who put their cereal bowls in the sink without being asked and husbands who clean the gutters by their own volition.)

When Walker defected, I felt betrayed, and outnumbered. I had to accept the cold hard fact that the Dog People were winning.

Defeated, I began to ask Dr. Google about the ideal dog for people who don't like dogs. A very, very low-maintenance dog, who met the following criteria:
  1. no shedding.
  2. small. A drop-kick dog. A fake cat.
  3. calm, good with kids, sweet
  4. no shedding.
  5. no drooling - picture Lucy: poisonous dog germs!! I am Lucy.
  6. no extensive pooping.
  7. no shedding.
  8. smart and easy to train.
  9. no shedding.

Amazingly, I found a breed who met this description: Poodles. They don't shed, toys and miniatures don't get too big, and they are incredibly smart. Who knew?

Well, all you dog people knew, of course. But remember me? I am not a dog person.

We began to seriously look into getting a poodle.
And then I had a panic attack and cried out in anguish that I was just not ready to become a puppy momma and the idea was tabled.
Whew. Close call.

Last week Shep found a snake in his Mimi's backyard

which quickly died and as he mourned the demise of his beloved-for-almost-two-whole-hours garden snake, he said, "I just want something to loooooooove! That I can hold and pet and looooooooove that loves me baaaaaaack!"

Yes. He did.
I pointed to Ike.
He cried some more.

Friday night, when Walker was away, Shep asked for a hamster. Sure! No problem! You've just never asked before! Tomorrow you and Daddy can go buy you a hamster! Hot diggity...hamster!

When Walker got home, I informed him of his upcoming day trip. To which he replied, "A hamster? That's so stupid Missy. Please. Don't get the kid a stupid hamster. Let's get Shep what he wants! A DOG!"

To which I filed my standard protest that I wasn't ready to go there, a new baby, fine, sure, but a dog? - it was too much responsibility, I was too overwhelmed, I don't know anything about dogs, I just couldn't do that please don't make me go there please.

To which Walker replied, "He wants a dog so much, if we don't get him a dog, we are bad parents."

Oh no he di-int! He did NOT just play the Bad Parent Card!

Dangit! He knows I can't resist the Bad Parent Card!!

I exhaled.

Stay tuned for part two.


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