Monday, March 29, 2010


About three years ago, we had a family vote about getting a dog. The final tally was three in favor, one opposed. Yours truly was the sole dissenting vote. I hadn’t had a dog my entire adult life and I wasn’t keen about getting one now. While the other family members thought only of a cute furry canine companion, I thought only of a poop-strewn lawn and chewed-up personal belongings.

I finally relented on condition that the three family members who wanted the dog would be the ones to take care of it.

And so they got a dog. It was what they called a “designer dog” which means essentially she’s just a mutt for which breeders charge a lot of money. She’s a maltipoo: part Maltese, part poodle. My son christened her “Lily” after Harry Potter’s mother. She spent the first few weeks at our home peeing, pooping and occasionally barfing on the floor, whining and chewing on my stuff. I found her annoying as hell.

And, while I realize it’s considered déclassé to use the word “retarded” in polite company, I honestly cannot think of a more accurate description of her mental capacities. But, in bowing to social convention, I shall merely say that she is a “special needs” dog in the intelligence department.

And while some animal experts have speculated that most domesticated dogs would only survive about a week without human help, in Lily’s case I think a one week life expectancy would be hopelessly optimistic. If there was any life-threatening stupid thing she could do, she would quickly and obliviously stumble into it. (For example, she has a tendency to be naively friendly toward cats. Even the hissing ones with arched backs, ready claws and erect fur.)

Fast forward to today. I’m unemployed, the kids are away at school and my wife is at work. I could just lie on the sofa and sleep the days away. Nobody would ever know. And there’s nothing to stop me.

Except that damned dog.

Sure… I said I wasn’t going to be the one taking care of her, but it’s just me and her. And she looks at me with those big, dark, clueless eyes. And it’s that dumb mutt that gives me the motivation to get off my ass and face the day. I shower and shave and get dressed and I commence the first of several daily canine perambulations.

And since I’m up and about, I may as well do my daily job search. And the house cleaning. And the yard work. And the cooking…

And although it’s true she likely wouldn’t last a week without a human around, I’m beginning to think perhaps I need that vacuous friendly furball just as much.

And upon closer reflection, I suppose she’s not all THAT bad. She does, despite her cranial deficiencies, have an unsettling though amazing ability to know when there’s food around to be mooched. And I can call her a “bitch” without fear of retribution. (Sorry ladies... it’s a guy thing.) And she lets me pet her as she lies on her favorite blanket on the La-Z-Boy and she loves licking my face.

Yep. I hate to admit when I’m wrong. But honestly, if we had that family vote to do over again, it would be resoundingly unanimous.


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  2. John, this could be the Mr. Mom of our generation. A family gets a dog the dad doesn't like. They never get along. There are tons of scenes with the dad getting hurt because of the actions of the dog.

    But, the dad gets laid off from his high paying high pressure job. He's forced to stay home with the dog. Over time he begins to love the dog, just as much as the rest of the family. The dad will learn that when life gives you lemons, you should make lemonade. That love and faith is more important than material rewards.

    The dad gives up trying to get another high paying job that he hates. He takes a job he that he loves doing. The movie ends with him having more time to spend with his family. And his dog.

    It's got a little Marley & Me, it's got the aforementioned Mr. Mom, it's got a little Beethoven. And it's topical.

    Damn, I wish John Hughes was still alive!

  3. Can the movie have explosions? It needs some slow-motion explosions in it somewhere...

  4. God, now I know what it feels like to pitch a great movie idea and have it shit upon by some corporate shmuck wearing a suit. (You typed that in your birthday suit, right.)

    Fine, we can have a scene where the dad takes the dog out for a walk. He ties the dog to a gas pump while he goes inside to get his fancy coffee. The dog somehow manages to create a situation where as the dad and the dog are walking away in slow motion, while wearing sun glasses during the day, while doing the hero walk, the gas station will explode behind them. And in the Michael Bay tradition, the dad and the dog will not be affected at all by the explosion.

  5. I smell boffo box office here! Now about the actors. I figure Sandra Bullock will work cheap just to keep her mind off her marital problems. She could play either the stressed but understanding wife or... if she wants a stretch for the Oscar, maybe she could play the dog! I think Jim Carrey could play the guy... occasionally he might actually read the script or perform actions on camera that would maybe have something to do with the plot. I figure we could get him to work cheap in exchange for writing-in an anti-vaccination subplot for his nutcase wife. I've got it! The dog isn't STUPID... it has AUTISM caused by a rabies shot pushed by big pharma! (Yeah... we both know that anti-vaxx conspiracy stuff is bullshit, but money is money!) The search for a cure for canine autism through a special doggie diet and crystal therapy can be written in there somewhere.
    I think there's a law that Phil Collins has to do at least soundtrack for every producer. This will be our first film, so we might as well get it out of the way now.
    Now the screenplay. We need something subtle and unpretentious and not bogged down by underlying preachy messages and symbolism. Does Pete Townsend do screenplays?
    Finally, we need a director who can bring it in on time and on budget. Is James Cameron doing anything right now?
    Yeah! There's no WAY this film can flop!!!

  6. "The dog isn't STUPID... it has AUTISM caused by a rabies shot pushed by big pharma!"

    Yeah, and that was the dad's former high paying high pressure job! He was fired because he started having doubts about whether what he was selling was safe!

    I think there's a law that Phil Collins has to do at least soundtrack for every producer.

    Or Sir Elton John.

  7. The really sad thing is there are now people actually claiming that vaccines gave autism to their pets. One cat owner cited as "evidence" of her cat's "autism": the cat would frequently lie around the house for hours and wouldn't come when called! Uh... that's not a sign of it being autistic... that's a sign of it being a CAT!

  8. I once had a dog that would chase his tail. Clearly autistic behavior, those vaccine bastards!

    BTW, the name of the movie: Stupid Bitch