On Dogs

February 16, 2008 at 8:10 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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My in-laws Patty and Robert have a new dog Lucy. She’s personable, sweet-tempered, and playful. James loves her. She jumps, and begs at the table, and thwacks me in the leg with her tail. I think she’s annoying. But given my track-record, that was to be expected. My dog history is as follows: I grew up down the street from a white-trash family whose habits included picking up stray dogs, riling them up, and setting them loose on the public, blatantly ignoring the leash law. When I was about 8, a particularly nasty little mutt named Molly chased me down the street, bit my leg, and made a hasty retreat to her front lawn to continue “the hunt”. My mother, hardly amused, called animal control, who picked up the animal and ultimately put it to sleep. Most kids would be horrified, but I was supremely satisfied. This dog had stalked me all year, and had nearly caught me on many occasions. I had been scared to leave the house all summer. It wasn’t until I was older that I came to understand it wasn’t really the dog’s fault, but the owner.

My sister’s my polar-opposite when it comes to animals. She had a bird. And fish. And a number of hamsters. My junior year of high school, she begged and begged to get a dog. And I begged and begged for them to wait ONE more year until I was out of the house. Puleeeze, I begged. I lost. My parents brought home UB, a sweet-tempered, two-year-old brittany with a bad underbite (hence the name). My sister instantly fell in love, so there was no taking her back. I even grew to love her, too. But she was still smelly, she begged for food, and she jumped up on everyone as they came in the door. She helped me get over my fear of dogs, but even now animals still make me nervous. Even when their owners swear they’re sweet, and would never bite. I vowed I’d never bring that sort of annoyance into my own household. And to this day, I’ve never once owned my own pet.

But then I met and married James.

He grew up with a yellow lab named Angel. She slept in his bed. She followed him everywhere. She fiercely protected him. She didn’t much like me, of course. Sadly, she just passed away last year (as did UB). And now, more than ever, James is bringing up the dog issue. When I told my parents we were thinking of getting one, they just about fell over in surprise. They never expected me to relent. But what can I say? I love my hubby, and I want him to be happy. And I’m convinced, if we both pick out an animal we both like together, who is sufficiently cute and well-mannered, and we took the time to train it not to jump and not to annoy me at the dinner table, and gave it regular baths and teeth cleanings so it didn’t smell, I could probably grow to tolerate it. Maybe even love it.

Some of my friends tell me I should get a cat instead. Don’t even get my started on cats. If I felt like being stalked an a continual basis, I’d move out to the Serengeti.

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