Almost as soon as you get married people* start asking** when you’re going to have kids. Even though it’s the farthest thing from your mind, you and your hubby start to wonder – when will we have kids? And when we do, could we handle it? So logically, we looked into getting a dog because quite obviously, dogs are exactly like babies. You have to feed them, pick up their poo, show them affection, put them to sleep, and take them for walks on leashes. We figured it was a fool-proof test-run to discover how parentally equipped we were. So when my parents announced they were going on a two and a half week road trip, we jumped at the opportunity to dog-sit their two little miniature schnauzers.
Enter Rookie and Andy. Rookie is a delightful 15-year-old grey miniature schnauzer who lives in a permanent state of confusion. Having lost most of his hearing and depth perception, he often misjudges things like couch distance which results in an embarrassing face-plant to floor action. Rookie is loyal, loves affection, and needs to wear a cardigan in the colder months. He would be in my opinion the perfect dog if it weren’t for this one small flaw; he stinks. Bad.
There is a general stench of old dog that follows him where ever he goes and though your instinct is to run away you simply can’t do it once he looks up at you with those big, brown, cataract-filled eyes. So you hold your breath and pet him and try as best as you can to avoid a Direct Hit.***
Then there’s Andy. Andy is actually Rookie’s biological nephew. He’s four years old, a scruffy black furball and the epitome of dog with attitude. My parents got a discount on him because he has a bump on his nose (which makes his beard look like an exploded cigar) plus, one of his testicles never dropped. He thinks he’s the boss of Rookie and all humans in the household. He likes to lay on his back and demand belly-rubs but if you do it wrong, or pet him wrong, our touch him when he doesn’t feel like it, he’ll emit a low-half-growl. Despite his pompous attitude, you can’t help falling in love with him because he’s just so darn cute.
After two and a half weeks with dogs that were generally very easy to care for Howie and I are not entirely sure we are ready to own our dog yet, let alone have kids. It’s the fact that you, and you alone are responsible for the well-being of another life. It’s hard enough feeding ourselves sometimes let alone making sure to be home and feed other dependents. I also was not a fan of getting up an hour earlier each morning to walk and feed and the dogs. Apparently with human babies the demands are even greater. Whenever we were late at work or out with friends we felt an enormous sense of guilt for not spending more time with them. Yes, it was rewarding to have a hopelessly affectionate companion to cuddle with at the end of the night, but in the end I have to admit that maybe I’m a little too selfish of my time to share it with a dog right with now.****
Plus, I already have a cuddly companion of the human breed.
* In this context “people” refers to mother-in-law
** “Start asking” means unremittingly lamenting over not having grandchildren at every conversational opportunity
*** Direct Hit: breathing in at the same time Rookie yawns in your face
**** Disclaimer: This post was written and intended to go live about a week ago. Since last week, circumstances have changed and the conclusion of this post will give you a false sense of what events have since transpired. Update on dog situation to follow.