Monday, April 4, 2011

The Dog Days Of Spring

I’m not a pet person. I was when I was younger though. I owned lots of different cats growing up, and one puppy. I never owned a dog though, so you can do the math on that puppy thing. And I didn’t just have pets, I loved them. Growing up in the country, there was no need to keep them inside; we had plenty of land for them to roam around, and we had outdoor buildings they could get into for staying warm. Well, I should correct that last statement. In light of what happened to the puppy, I guess there was a need to keep him inside. Or at least buy him some reflective wear for when he crossed the road at dusk.

Anyway, it’s hard to pinpoint exactly when I stopped loving animals, but I just know that when I left for college, I was a pet person, and by the time I graduated, I wasn’t. I don’t want you to get the wrong idea here though. Especially given that I’m a well-known Michael Vick fan. It’s not that I hate animals or wish them any ill will, nor would I bet on any if they were being forced to fight illegally. Or legally. This disclaimer could go on all day, so I’ll just sum up with I think they’re cute, but I have no desire to own any.

That desire is contrary to the desires of my children though. They don’t care that several members of our family are allergic to cats or that we don’t have a fence in the backyard for a dog. Or that hamsters are in the rodent family. They want a pet. So far, I’ve gotten away with a “maybe when you’re older” answer and they’ve accepted that. And, honestly, it makes them appreciate other people’s pets that much more. My parents had a cat that they adored. If you’ll note the use of past tense verbs in that sentence, you’ll know how that turned out. She was an old cat and had a good run. The kids were sad when she passed away, but the twins have this childlike hope that makes them continue to pray for that dead feline every night. They also still tell me every day they attend preschool that their friend Sami wasn’t there. She moved away, to another state, in December. I guess the whole “not coming back” speech I gave them is taking a while to sink in.

The pets we encounter most often are my best friend’s three dogs. Casey is pretty normal, but then there’s Zoey, who I’m pretty sure snorts crack in the morning rather than eating Kibbles, and Jake, who is late to his own funeral. I don’t know what it is, but for some reason those dogs always come to me, the one person who doesn’t want them to. They remind me of myself in high school (yes, I left that open to dog jokes) because I always wanted to date the guys that showed the least interest in me. My friend’s dogs don’t understand that I’m not playing hard to get, that I really just don’t want dog hair all over me, nor do I have the need to rub anyone’s belly.

But, I’m evolving a little bit. Since my friend told me that Jake is dying (about nine months ago), I’ve let him lay near me on the couch, occasionally shared a bite or two of popcorn with him, and even rubbed his head with my toes the other night. Even more telling is that I think I might actually be starting to like the crack head.

See, Zoey barks and rushes the door every time I come in, which is at least twice a week for the past six years, so you’d think she wouldn’t consider me a stranger anymore, right? But on Friday night, when I was there watching TV, my friend’s youngest child woke up with a fever, so we had to postpone the rest of our show and I was going to go home. Normally, my friend would walk me to the door and restrain Zoey, so that she didn’t leave. I’ve never understood why they don’t want her to, but whatever. My friend was upstairs and I was on my own, so when I got to the door and Zoey was right on my heels, I turned to her and said, “No, Zoey, stay here.” Miraculously, she listened to me and walked calmly back into the living room. Six years after I started telling her what to do, she finally obeyed me for the first time! It gives me hope for Reckless, who is only four and a half. Maybe she’ll start listening soon, too. If she does, maybe I’ll get her a pet.

1 comment:

  1. I'm totally in the same boat as you. Everyone in my house wants a furry except me. Because I don't want to clean up after it! I relented on the fish, with the understanding that I would never, ever, clean the tank. If hubby wanted a fish, he got to clean up after it.