Now, I’m not an Animal Hater. But I’m no Animal Lover, either. I guess you could say I’m “animal apathetic.” That is to say, I am not really concerned about or involved in the lives of critters. Don’t get me wrong, I believe there is a place for all animals in this world — and it’s right next to the mashed potatoes.
When my kids were in elementary school, my wife mentioned how she had a dog when she was young, and how much she enjoyed the dog. I knew what was coming next…. So, being the scientific-minded person that I am, I quickly threw together two lists. One list was the benefits of having a dog. The other list was the burdens of having a dog.
On the POSITIVES side:
- The kids would like to have a dog
- A dog could protect our home
Now for the NEGATIVES:
- dog food costs money
- someone has to feed the dog
- someone has to walk the dog
- someone has to bathe the dog
- someone has to pick up poop
- someone has to let the dog in and out
- I would be that someone
- dogs chew up stuff
- dogs throw up stuff
- dogs fart
- dogs require a fenced area
- fences cost money
- dogs bark
- dogs bark all day
- dogs bark all night
- dogs bark and fart all day and night
- dogs pee
- dogs pee on the floor
- dogs pee on your sofa
- dogs pee on your carpet
- dogs pee in your bed
- dog pee stinks
- dogs dig holes
- dogs dig lots of holes
- dogs dig holes where I have to mow
- dogs poop where I have to mow
- dogs poop where I don’t mow
- dog poop stinks
and the list goes on…
- it’s hard to take a dog on vacation
- dogs are not welcome everywhere
- you have to arrange for care if you don’t take your dogs with you
- dog care costs money
- no one really wants to watch your dog for you
- dogs don’t help with the mortgage
…So, a few weeks later, my wife comes home from a visit to her mom and dad’s, and guess what she’s hauling? – A living, breathing, eating, farting, pooping, stinking dog. This dog did everything on my “NEGATIVES” list from the minute his feet hit the ground. He dug holes, tore up the yard, chewed the posts off our deck, tore a hole in the siding, tore the casing off the back door, and constantly jumped the fence to terrorize the neighborhood. Now, he wasn’t a mean dog; he was just a puppy doing the things that 80-pound puppies do. He was also a two-foot-tall puppy, all muscle and over-excitement. He jumped on our neighbor with muddy paws, ruining her Sunday dress. Later, he scratched a neighbor’s child while ‘playing.’ After that, I convinced my wife to give him away.
Several years later, my father-in-law, Clifford, was over for dinner, and the subject of dogs came up. I recalled our time with that dog and that Clifford was the one who gave him to us.
“Cliff, I never thanked you for the dog you gave us, did I?” I asked.
“No, I don’t believe you ever did,” he replied.
“… and I never will.” I told him.