I probably don’t know you at all. But I know you well enough to tell you this: you don’t want a dog. The desire to get a dog is kind of weird; like a biological clock in a way. One day you wake up and think, “I kind of want a dog.” And then you start looking around and very shortly your mind thinks of nothing else but how badly you want a dog. No, not want; how you simply must have a dog immediately.
It doesn’t make sense. It’s not like the urge to have a baby. Actually it pretty much is. For most women a dog is the thing you get when the maternal urges are just waking up but the thought of taking care of an actual human are beyond frightening.We had a dog-baby the year before I got pregnant. I had zero experience with dogs and we got a chocolate lab. We named her Emma and she was the biggest spaz ever. We were such horrible pet owners because Mister and I were lazy, irresponsible twenty-somethings. When India was about six months old we gave Emma to some friends who lived on a farm. Hopefully she lived happily every after. Although I really don’t care because she drove me crazy and good riddance.
Sometimes a woman wants a dog when her kids are getting older and she realizes her baby days are history. But stupid women! Instead of rejoicing as we toss out the diapers, we feel like our lives must have more poop and mayhem. I know all about women like this because I am currently one of these. When Jasper turned six months old I realized that my newborn baby days were over. I didn’t intelligently think, “I have six children under age ten. It’s good that the newborn stage is over. I’ll still have my hands full.” Nope, pretty much the day that Jasper started sleeping through the night I began a frantic search for a dog.
And ended up with Margaret.
She is the sweetest dog ever but, you know, dogs bark. And their poop is all over your backyard (or someone else’s yard). A lot of times they leave hair all over the place. And scratch marks. And they chew stuff up and cost a lot of money. (That heartworm medicine ain’t free, you know!) Fortunately our dog isn’t a chewer or a digger but a lot of them are. Emma was. Emma ate everything she could get her mouth on (stupid Labs! Stupider us for owning one!). If you have a tall dog there’s a good chance your dog will eat something off of the kitchen counters. This isn’t just something that happens in those dumb Disney movies with the Golden Retriever puppies.
Also, let’s get down to the nitty gritty. Dogs eat their own vomit (which is a good thing really. I wish my kids ate their own vomit. Especially at three in the morning.) Dogs eat garbage. Any garbage. Our dog eats any tissue or used bit of toilet paper she can get her grubby paws on. But it gets worse than that. Much worse. Like maxi-pad-worse. And poopy-diaper-worse. I don’t want you to faint so I’ll stop talking about this. But you really should know this stuff. Dogs are disgusting.
This is the worst part of having a dog: finding someone to take care of it when you’re on vacation. It’s either super expensive or a total pain (like when I took care of my friends dog and it ran away without us knowing and someone found the dog and called the number on it’s tag. So our friends who were vacationing in Florida had to call and tell us that the neighbor found their dog. Slightly embarrassing.) A lot of times it’s a pain and it’s expensive.
You also have to teach a dog to have good manners. We kind of forgot this. Which is funny because I’m super into children having good manners. But dogs? Meh, whatever. At some point, though, your dog will interact with society and it could very well be a debacle.
Yesterday I picked Maggie up from the groomers. Which is right by Hobby Lobby. Which I had to get something from. And it was 78°. Too hot to leave the dog in the car (just because I don’t like my dog doesn’t mean I’m heartless!), so Maggie came shopping with me. It went surprisingly well considering she is a weirdo. Except for the time she barked at some feathers. (Hobby Lobby can be very echo-ey. And having your smuggled-in dog bark inside of a store is mortifying.) Nobody blinked an eye. Even the cashier said nothing.
But I am not planning on taking my dog to the store again. Because my days of shopping with an unruly hanger-on are over. Unlike children, though, you can leave your dog at home in a cage. So I guess dogs aren’t all bad.
But I guess my conclusion is this: if you want a baby, have one. A dog is not the same. (No matter how many vets and groomers hand me my dog and say, “there’s your mom, Margaret!” and I have to point out that I bought her; she is a pet.) Or don’t have a baby. Whatever. But don’t get a dog. Because, man, they are a pain.