Life

Pretend dog ownership and other joys

This is Sammy.

He likes butt scratches, treats, going for long walks then giving up and laying down one block away from home, barking at the neighbors and, from what I can tell, relieving himself on the move because ain’t nobody got time for that “standing still” stuff.

This weekend we are taking care of him for his owner and it has been a lovely introduction into the joys and perils of pet ownership. In fact, if you are looking to get a dog I highly recommend you borrow one first for a weekend or so, because you learn a lot. Admittedly not as cool and spontaneous as running out to your local adoption shelter and picking up the first doe-eyed fluffy thing that barks in your direction – and I admire your resolve if you have been to the brink and came back empty-handed – but there are a few things about dogs that it is nice to have experience with, so try before you buy so to speak.

First, dogs are living animal creatures. They have minds of their own. Sometimes, they even use those brains to do the exact opposite that you request of them. Dogs are contrarians adorable little smart-alecs. And we love them for it. They will chase that squirrel. They will bark at the nice guy minding his own business. They will go when you ask them to stop, and they will run for the hills when you ask them come. They will not go to the bathroom when you take them, they will wait until you’re back inside and then go on the carpet because they just didn’t feel tickled to go five minutes earlier. What a lovely lesson in patience.

If you have any kind of life or gainful employment, you’re going to have to leave them alone for at least a few hours at a time. This is hard. Not only because they depend on you to let them out and feed them, but because you imagine being left alone in a quiet house for hours on end without even like a puzzle. And if you’re anything like me, you’re going to be thinking about them the whole time you’re out – What they’re doing. What they’re thinking about. If they’re whining or if you’re going to come back to a passive-aggressive sticky note on your door telling you to silence your canine or else.

But to be honest, not a whole lot beats waking up to that face of pure rapture in the morning, even if it’s a “uh yes, hi can you please take me out? Because I’m gonna pee in like 5… 4… 3…” kind of face. And I know some people who have started whole Instagram and Twitter accounts for their pets like they’re little celebrities or something, so you always have that. Hashtag sammygram.

V.

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