I miss having a dog. I don’t miss having a dog. My evil twin sister and I can’t seem to come to an understanding on this. We change my mind on this topic as often as we change my underwear.
Watching those sappy commercials with robust, romping puppies licking your face with their puppy breath doesn’t help this canine craving of mine. Ever since we downgraded from a spacious suburban home complete with a yard to a townhouse with stairs on steroids, we have tried to be responsible pet owners by not subjecting a dog to our postage stamp yard and hip-throbbing stairs. But I do miss having a dog.
We’ve had Old English Sheepdogs since our first day of marriage…three to be exact. Their docile, protective nature made them perfect for families with small children. As shaggy as they were, they didn’t shed, and watching them watching you from under their fluffy bangs would melt even the most hardened of hearts. So I do miss having the sweet-natured, goofy companion…oh, wait a minute. Hold on, sister.
Oh, yeah. I forgot about the time that we asked my brother-in-law to dog-sit when we went on vacation one winter. Alfie (sheepdog number two) was to have none of it. He sat there, brave and ever so statuesque as we left, with a twinkle in his eye assuring us that he would be on his best behavior. You should have known trouble was brewing.
My brother-in-law proceeded to build a nice, warm, crackling fire and bunker down for an impending snowstorm. But upon returning to the house the next day, he was met by none other than Blackbeard himself. Alfie had dragged each charred log out of the cold fireplace, down the hallway and into the master bedroom. But there he sat, angelic as ever, except for the tell-tale paws full of soot and beard covered in black. I don’t miss having a dog.
But looking at photos of my children napping in the crook of their furry stretched-out arms as they lay on the floor brings back a flood of good memories that whirl up in me every time I pass a humane shelter, and I want to take every one of them home….not so fast, sister.
It is then that I recall the time I came home from an exhausting day at work and kicked off my 3-inch heels. (Flats and comfy shoes were a no-no in office attire back then.) I noticed a trail of my shoes, damaged and chewed until they were almost indistinguishable. Deja (sheepdog number three) had managed to consume and destroy seven pairs of shoes. Not matching shoes, mind you, but one shoe from each pair! I don’t miss having a dog.
But I’m thankful that my children were raised by these canine Mary Poppins, and they had a chance to learn how to be kind to animals and to take care of their needs as much as they took care of ours. The life lesson alone was worth every dastardly deed.
For now, my little parakeet will have to do. He sings to me every morning, doesn’t talk back, and I always get the remote. And I have lots and lots of shoes…