Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Boys and snails and puppy dog tails

I went to a meeting the other night, where the hostess had put out a lovely display of appetizers, assorted drinks, and plates which all actually matched. When one of the attendees complimented her on her lovely home, her response was to apologize that she hadn’t had time to clean the bathroom, because of some work deadlines and a new puppy. So naturally I had to go use the bathroom to see for myself – it was neater than a bathroom has ever dreamed of being in my house! (The tiny pawprint on the bathmat even looked artistic.) Several of the childless women at the meeting compared notes on their pets and agreed it was great practice for when they eventually had kids.

I kept myself from laughing out loud, but only with difficulty. I mean, you can train a dog to do all sorts of things for an occasional biscuit or pat on the head, but I have yet to come up with a bribe (or punishment) that will ensure my boys flush the toilet, much less put the seat down. Sure, puppies need training and company and supervision when they’re young, but they’re housebroken at 2 or 3 months – honey, it takes a BIT longer with a human. If your dog needs a bath, you give him one (or take him to the groomers), you don’t have to convince him that after a day including PE., ultimate frisbee, and walking home from the bus, he smells terrible. and needs to shower, and by the way, please remember to wash under his arm. Dogs don’t need help with homework, they don’t need rides to rehearsals or lessons or practice (or require 5 cross-referenced carpools), and they never say, “Eww, dog food again? I hate this brand!” (However, in fairness to my boys, they’ve never chewed up any of my shoes or burrowed in the kitchen garbage.)

So while I chuckle at dog owners who really think they're prepared for motherhood, I'm glad I have both boys and a dog, and there is nothing sweeter than cuddling with a sleepy boy on one side and an affectionate mutt terrier on the other side, even if none of my appetizer plates match and my downstairs bathroom is a science project.

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