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.