Friday, April 17, 2009

Doggone it

We have dogs. We started with one, while we were dating and added the second soon after our wedding. I loved being a dog-owner after a long absence of furry pets in my life. Gromit, our Westie, was like my little baby. He slept with me, came for car rides and like any adored child, occupied much of our time and energy. Pixie, the Cairn, came with a few more personality quirks, and has never quite held the esteem I have of her canine brother.

Love my dog(s), though I may, I am a bit of a fairweather friend when it comes to the pecking order in our house.

In other words: no contest.

Yes, I am one of those terrible people who shooed the pets from the bed and couch once the babies arrived. I am that cliched dog-owner who finds herself too preoccupied and busy with diapers and highchairs, for leashes and tennis balls. And being too exhausted for anything falling outside the parameters of basic survival, all manner of dog-training has swiftly evaporated into thin air (along with romantic nights on the town, and sleep).

I don't feel too bad. My dogs still have a pretty cushy life. So what if tummy rubs are less frequent these days or a romp in the backyard is the closest thing they got to a walk today? Hey, I barely get my own teeth brushed most of the time, let alone worry about theirs.

Not to mention, these canines of ours are a LOT of work. On top of all the things that must be done to care for 2 children under 20 months, I can't help but be exasperated sometimes that I'm also required to wipe muddy paws (and consequently floors), referee doggie rough-housing that often takes a turn towards crazy, let them in and out and in and out, clip, feed, water, shoo, scold, pooper-scoop all about a thousand times a day. It's honestly like having 2 extra toddlers in the house. And sometimes more expensive.

Just yesterday, my cousin and I took the boys for a quick walk to the park. I debated bringing the dogs, but it's a huge hassle as they're not allowed actually near the playground, and as we weren't going to be long, I left them in the backyard to bask in the spring sunshine... a favorite hobby of theirs. To say they were unimpressed by the sight of me unfolding the stroller and then shutting the gate firmly behind me without them was an understatement. I however, knew there would be a walk later. They apparently did not.

We were literally back in the house for a minute, my mom having just driven up at exact moment of our return, and keys still in the door, when a uniformed officer showed up to ask if I was missing a couple of dogs. Sure enough. Strangely, I thought I had heard a familiar bark coming from the wrong direction upon our return to the house, but I wrote it off knowing that I had absolutely shut the gate behind me. Totally confused about how they could have possibly escaped our yard, we (being unamused officer and I) went to investigate and found that indeed the gates were completely shut, but a fresh hole had been dug under the gate.

$80 dollars later in impound fees (for which I am completely irate, the dogs were in the care of the officer for a total of about 5 minutes as my mom, not knowing they were ours, actually saw them being picked up as she drove up to the house), and a benevolent warning instead of a $250 "Dogs-at-large" fine, and our lovely pets were returned to the safety of our home. Lucky us.

I don't mean that. (Really.)

I know that someday life will slow down. Our kids will grow up and be too busy for kisses and cuddles and stories. And then, man's-best-friend will loyally return to their rightful place... on our laps and in our hearts.

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