Friday, February 11, 2011

Our Life Plus Dog

I don't think I'm a dog person.

I'm sorry about that.

I don't dislike dogs. I actually really like dogs. Other people's dogs. I think I feel about dogs the way some people feel about kids. If I go over to *your* house and see *your* dog, I will probably love all over him, but I'll be glad to leave him at *your* house when I go.

Dogs are just too high maintenance for me. They are too in-my-space and too hyperactive. I know he's a puppy and these things will get better. But I still don't think I'm a dog person. I like my cats. They are low-maintenance. They are independent. They lie around and look pretty and sometimes seek a warm lap,,,and they are *clean*...that's about my speed, animal-wise.

We have a couple of finches, and they are borderline, for me, maintenance-wise, but I still allow them because they are pretty and chirpy and I really do like birds. I like dogs, but their maintenance level just pushes them over the acceptability line for me.

Oh, there's all the usual puppy stuff. Housebreaking has been really difficult because of the record snowfall. He's not getting enough exercise, again, because of the snowfall, and so he's eaten Maria's sketcher sandals, a pair of my shoes, and numerous toys, Tessie's hat, the cable cord that hooks up to our modem, and a wooden shelf I had propped up against a wall waiting to be hung. He ate my favorite Christmas picture book. Oh, and I almost forgot until just now when he woke up Henry...he loves to climb on top of napping children, causing you to lug him behind the baby gate in the laundry room until naptime is over. And I do mean *lug*. He's no small puppy anymore and must weigh a good 40 pounds already.

All of this would be forgivable and mostly puppy-related stuff if not for one, very disturbing, very stomach-turning issue. He eats pooey diapers. Actually, "eats" is an understatement. He attacks, shreds, and devours dirty diapers. He rips them open and buries his face in there and snorts around like he's a doggie-addict that has discovered someone's doggie-cocaine stash. And when you find (smell) what's going on, and you holler at him in your best no-no-bad-dog voice, and you crawl around on all fours picking up pooey diaper shreds and suppressing your gag reflex, he jumps all over you and then LICKS YOU IN THE FACE WITH HIS POOEY, STINKY MOUTH AND YOU COULD JUST DIE FROM THE GROSSNESS OF IT ALL!

I just don't think I could like an animal like this. I'm a nurse. I am not a squeamish person. I've cleaned up every bodily fluid there is, I've seen terrible, rotting-flesh, bone-deep bedsores that would, I guarantee, nauseate most dog lovers. But even I have my limits. For example, never once, not ever, did one of those bedsores jump up and lick me in the face.

And, you know, before we got the dog, we watched this documentary about dogs, how they had evolved with human beings for so long that they can read human emotion and expressions better even than most people. So how does my retching and gagging and screaming, "NO, NO, FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THAT IS HOLY, DEAR GOD NO" encourage this animal to come love all over me?

And also, how can an animal with a digestive system so delicate that they get horrifying diarrhea when you change their brand of dog food eat actual human excrement with no ill effect whatsoever?

Don't worry, the dog isn't going anywhere. My husband loves him. The little kids adore him, especially Tess. He and Tess are best buds, which shouldn't be surprising since they are both toddlers. I think the big kids still love him, although they've had to clean up enough of his messes that the bloom is definitely off the rose. Spring is coming, and he will spend more (much more) time outdoors, and we will all learn to throw dirty diapers away IMMEDIATELY and to keep our shoes out of his way. And our toys. And our books. And our furniture, rugs, and decorative items. I guess I'll just hang everything from the ceiling.

Anyway. I know my post is a controversial one, and I'm sure I'll hear back from you dog-lovers. I might even get a nasty e-mail flame or two. I realize that this is just how dogs are, that he is not trying to be a bad dog, but is just in fact being a DOG, but that's my point, really. I don't think I'm a dog person.


Anonymous said...

Mel~I feel your pain : ) We have a huge Dogo/Pit mix and we have been fostering puppies for the last 10 months and finally took a much needed break...I am drained. I have gone through bleach and paper towels like there is no tomorrow! My dog drives me utterly insane but state of mind does not help most days. Somehow, we have to struggle to remain calm despite chaos or they won't respect they can teach us a powerful lesson LOL! We love him despite his neurosis but there are days I wish we were *dogless*...don't feel bad. Have you read any of Cesar Millan's books?

scmom (Barbara) said...

I feel the same way about dogs. I could never be the mother that says "no" because they are inconvenient and I'll have to do all the work, but I'm kind of a killjoy. It helps to fake it and be nice to the dog -- I can sort of convince my self that she's nice. But she better not lick me -- any where -- and it's got to be an ongoing act or it doesn't work. Puppies are HARD, but this too shall pass.

PS I think it depends on the breed in terms of brightness and being able to "read you." We have an Aussie and they are not so smart and she definitely does not read people.

Angela Messenger said...

We had a dog like this when my kids were little. This post brought it all back especially about the diapers. We eventually had to put the dog down.

Angela Messenger said...

I've heard that when dogs eat feces (human or other) that they feel that person or animal is the alpha being. They eat it so that they can be and/or smell like that superior being.

I have to tell you - I nearly lost my breakfast this morning reading your post and it took a long time for my stomach to settle down. I am not usually sensitive to these things but holy cow - your words brought me back 26 years to that woeful lab we had.

I've recovered now - but maybe put up a warning next time LOL!

Angela the CAT person!

Anonymous said...

Oh my gosh, Mel, I laughed so hard!!! I had to read most of the post to my entirely internet-deprived kids who think they want a dog more than anything! It was not to dissuade them, and I'm sure it undermined my effort to discourage potty humor, but it was so darn funny that I couldn't help myself. (So that's what Mom reads on the computer all day...?! Hmmm...) --J.C.

Erin said...

Yeah, I am not a dog person either! And I have actually heard somebody else say that their dog ate their kid's poopy diapers too, so apparently he's not the only one...
Cats all the way!

Barb said...

Hysterical post! I haven't read your blog in ages and ages, enjoying myself and love all thepics of your family growing up. I on the other hand have issues. Care-taking issues I think. I have all these kids, plus 4 dogs, 3 cats (one is preggers) plus all my farm animals, horses, goats, chickens, turkeys, rabbits and two recently deceased lizards LOL We are all so different, it's okay too.