My kids want a dog. Bad. I keep telling them that we will get one “in a year or two.” I am lying. I’ve been saying this for several years with the hope that they will grow out of it. They keep reminding me of my promise and I continue to play the timing card regardless of the timing. “Now is not the right time to get a dog kids.” They hate me for it. I can see it in their eyes as they walk away with exaggerated sighs and shoulders draped forward as if I just cancelled their birthdays. Meanwhile, here I sit in the hole I have dug for myself, buried in a heap of lies, gasping for air, and wishing I had just been an asshole in the first place and declared in no uncertain terms, “No dog. EVER!”
It’s a definite struggle for me as a parent. I know that having a dog can be a truly rewarding experience for a child. I had one as a kid and I absolutely loved it…until it died. And then we got another one and another one and another one. They all died. The first one of kennel cough (I can still hear the ceaseless wet hacking from behind the couch.). The second one mysteriously disappeared without explanation after several mishaps with the toilet paper roll (My parents are monsters.). The third one passed on of old age and/or from repeatedly pissing on our Christmas presents, pick one. The fourth one died tragically, the direct result of an unfortunate and untimely encounter with a very large truck. The phone call came from my Grandmother, who really had a way with words, God rest her soul.
“Don’t worry, she got hit right in the head Jill. She didn’t feel a thing. It was smashed.”
“Wow, thanks Grandma. What a huge relief.”
The fact is, I really don’t want to expose my children to the whole death and dying of a pet thing. It sucks, and I honestly don’t want to go through it again myself. Aside from that, my likes and dislikes have changed dramatically since my youth. For instance, my affinity for animals in the house is gone. I like things clean, and furthermore lay awake at night if they are not. On a related note, you know that thing a dog does on a frequent basis where it toboggans it’s ass across the floor like it’s performing in some sort of a circus act? I used to think it was funny. Then I grew up and read a book.
Here’s some food for thought. According to vetmedicine.about.com, “Dogs scoot because their anal sacs are bothersome (Whose aren’t?).” What are anal sacs you ask? “They collect the oily secretion of the glandular tissue that lines the anal glands (Come again?). Normally a bowel movement is sufficient enough to express the sacs (but sadly, not always). If your pet seems predisposed to having anal sac problems (i.e. scooting), speak to your veterinarian about learning how to empty the anal sacs at home to prevent further problems (Excuse me? And more importantly, fuck off! I have carpet!)”
This much is certain. I am not emptying anyone’s anal sac, let alone my own, ever. Nor am I going to put myself in a situation where I have to choose, “Squeeze the anal juice from my dog’s ass glands, or spend a ridiculous amount of money for someone else to do it and then judge me because I did not.” No thanks. Ass gland squeezing is a hard line for me. I’m out.
Let’s get beyond Ass Juice City for a moment though and casually step into the Land of Obviousness. I’m not an idiot. I know who will be the primary caregiver/walker/buyer of food/taker to the vet/picker upper of shit on a daily basis despite dramatic claims to the contrary.
“We’ll take care of it Mom, we promise! We’ll walk it and feed it and bathe it and pick up the poop and you won’t have to do anything!”
“How about we start with the room you promised to pick up four months ago or the teeth you promised you quote/unquote just brushed? Or how about just ‘listening’ in general? Let’s have another go at that first?”
Don’t get me wrong. I love dogs. I love them like a grandmother loves her grandchildren. Pet them, give them snacks, throw them a ball every once in a while, shower them with hugs, and then hand them off to their parents when they shit their pants because that shit ain’t yo problem. I don’t want something else to take care of and be responsible for. My cup runneth over when it comes to taking care of other people’s shit. That said, how can I deprive them of this experience? They’re only young once. Am I really okay with being the only thing standing in the way of my children achieving their hopes and dreams?
The answer is clear and just like the American Girl doll I swore I would never buy a few years ago, I know how this is all going to go down.
I bought two, along with an assortment of ridiculously over-priced accessories.
Let the ass sac squeezing begin.
Maybe tomorrow kids.