Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Sit! Good Mommy.

I didn’t want a dog. At least not this year. Maybe next year or even the year after; when we’ve moved and the kids are bigger. Just not now.  Now is a terrible time for us to get one. Especially a puppy.

And I loved my Woody dog, who died a year ago. But if I’m being totally honest, as much as I miss his woofy presence, I do not miss the work. And the mess. And the cost. Because make no mistake, I've had dogs my whole life and they take attention and focus and money and time and love. I don’t really have any of those things to spare at the moment. I’m so overwhelmed on most days by the responsibilities that I already have, that I feel like I can’t take on one more thing or I will lose my mind.

But my husband and children wanted a puppy. And nothing like reason, logic or consequences was going to dissuade them. So basically, I was overruled.

This is Brady.
And that’s how I got my fourth kid. This dog that I did not want. His name is Brady. And now that he’s here I love him so much that it’s embarrassing. Within an hour of his showing up at my house I went from “How could you bring this creature here when I specifically said I did not want a dog?!” to staring into his dark brown eyes and holding his baby, furry self and falling in love.

An hour after that, I was standing on the front porch like Rafiki in The Lion King, holding him up to the neighborhood and proclaiming his awesomeness. I still tell my husband that I’m not sure we should keep him, but that’s just because I have no desire to be the one who takes him out for his 6am whiz.

So these are some of the very valid reasons I did not want a dog, and why I think now that maybe, possibly, I was a tiny, little bit wrong.

I do not need one more critter who lacks basic bladder and bowel control to live in my house.
I’m currently potty training my two year old. It’s a pretty disgusting process (Mini eats a lot of fiber). Though I am dedicated and consistent, I am also up against someone who is extremely strong-willed and defiant. Puppies are comparatively easy to potty train. And when they have an accident, they at least feel bad about it.

But there’s the added unexpected benefit that Mini is now helping me to train the dog. He shoots a deuce and she praises him and gives him his freeze-dried liver. Then she goes inside and does the same and gets a Hershey’s Kiss. Then Brady praises her by jumping all over the bathroom in a wild puppy rumpus of enthusiasm for her accomplishment and kisses her face. See? Positive reinforcement. This dog is actually going to train the kid for me. Epic win.

Puppies create gigantic messes and you have even seen our house?
This puppy will eat anything; Lego mini-figs, staples, corn cobs, yarn, plastic sandwich bags. It doesn’t even have to be edible, he will eat it. Thank goodness he appears to be part goat because in spite of my fears of imminent death or the need for costly canine GI surgery, everything has passed exactly as it should. Which is both deeply horrifying and a huge relief.

Here’s the upside to owning an 11 week old Labragoat. You are forced to become obsessively tidy or risk finding some pretty interesting things on the front lawn. Also, this may be the one thing that has ever motivated my kids to consistently pick up their toys. It’s like magic.

The dog will be totally wild and uncivilized.
The dog responds well to training. He already knows several commands. The children, however? Unrepentant howler monkeys who only occasionally remember their good manners.  Also, last week, Mini Me caused major property damage because I took my eyes off her for three seconds.  So far the only thing the dog has damaged is a Lego Mini-fig and technically, that still could have been used if I were a different sort of person.

I will be the one taking total responsibility for this animal because the kids are too young and you are always at work.
Yes, I am the primary care giver to this dog. But the rest of the family is actually pulling their weight where puppy care in concerned, because this was all their idea and so they have to. But honestly, the kids are helpful with minimal nagging and my husband realizes that once he gets home, he is on duty. Also with minimal nudging. At least for now. But I swear before all that is holy, that I will not let them off the hook.

My friend Laura recently told me she had only ever used 50% of her considerable arsenal of YNS (Yenta Nagging Skillz). She was like, “You do NOT want me to see me use 100%. No one needs to see that.” I may not have Yenta skillz but I have Shiksa skillz, specifically Irish Catholic, guilt-inducing nagging skills. And I am not afraid to use them. To use the Spinal Tap Maternal Nagging Scale*, where this puppy is concerned – I have only had to go to 3 or 4. I prepared to go to 11.

*The scale exists. You can see it here.

I told you. Don't EVEN mess around.
 Have you even thought about the cat? What about his feelings?
Bandit is 14 years old and sort of a dick. He has the personality of Kim Jong Il (and sort of looks like him, too). He is not amused by the addition of a dog to our household. Do you think it’s wise to provoke a North Korean dictator? Even if he is a cat?

But then, it turns out that they sort of like each other. They like to sleep in the same room, on their backs with their bellies in the air and their paws flapping around. And of course, watching the cat trying to dominate the puppy is perhaps the funniest thing in the entire world.

So I guess all this is to say that I was totally wrong. We needed a dog. And even though I sometimes pretend to my kids and my husband that I'm ambivalent about Brady, if I could I would put him in the Baby Bjorn and bring him with me wherever I go. So I guess I could handle one more thing, after all. And I guess I did have room in my heart for another little critter that poops in my house.

Oh no. Did I just really write that? Maybe this puppy is a gateway drug for other things. Like new humans.


(c)Herding Turtles, Inc. 2009 - 2011


  1. New Human! New Human! New Human!!!

  2. oh my gosh, labragoat!!! I LOVE that! I think that is one of the funniest words I have ever heard coined.

  3. Do it! Have another baby! What's one more, right?? :)

  4. I laughed so hard about your dickhead cat being a N Korean are an incredible writer and please excuse me now, I have to go get a tissue as my entire sinus passageway is missing a layer of skin from laughing. You'd think I'd know by now...DON"T drink while reading mommyland.

  5. Karen in BrooklynJuly 13, 2011 at 7:24 AM

    Pooped-out minifig + dishwasher = all good. Congrats on your new furbaby!

  6. How could you NOT fall in love with those eyes??? What a cutie!! Excuse me while I type in an adorable snooshy puppy face voice...

    Oh! What a cwutie widdle puppy wuppy you are!!! I wan tto smoosh you and cover you wif widdle kisses all over your nose!!!

  7. Labragoat, Best. Word. EVER! This comes from a 16 year veteran of the puppy wars :)

  8. Yeah, warn a girl. I took a sip of my hot tea just before reading the word "labragoat". Now I have to figure out how to clean hubby's computer. Coining the term "labragoat" = EPIC WIN! (I got close to that when my daughter yanked the laptop off the table by tripping over the cord with her massive feet TWICE and I started calling her a "labraKatie".)

  9. Brady looks just like our Ginger. After two dog free years, and fur free carpet, we took the puppy plunge again. Now we have fur in our breakfast cereal and teeth marks in our furniture again. Labragoat is the best possible description.

  10. Oh no, I have been anti-dog for almost a year now against my husband and son. After reading this (and cracking up) I feel a slight tug for a dog. I hope they don't bring it up today or else I might cave!!!

  11. Labragoat!! ROFL! My sister had a Labragoat-wanna-be. He ate everything, but the dishtowels were too much for his tummy and he had to have surgery more than once. I never heard of doggy-insurance until then.

    Congrats on the new member of your family!

  12. Kim Jong Il!! LOL! Ok I can barely breathe, that picture is the funniest thing EVER!!!

  13. My kids are older now, in their late teens. So I have 3 fur-babies as some kind of substitute for actual mommy-ness. My three little fur-babies are a 7 year old Pug/Boston Terror (err, Terrier) mix that weighs about 25 pounds; a 6 year old Chihuahua/?? mix that weighs in at a whooping 11 pounds, and a 2 year old Pomeranian that tops out the scales at 8 pounds and he's truly a FUR-baby. They're spoiled and everybody, including them, knows it.

    So a couple weekends ago, there is no nice way to phrase this ... hubby was being a D-bag. To the point that I ended up crying, and he was all confused because he didn't think he'd done anything wrong. After going a little bit Chernobyl all over everyone and everything, he left in his semi-truck for the week.

    He comes rolling in this last weekend and he brings me his first ever "make-up" gift that he bought all by himself while out there on the road ... a little tiny hair-ball of a puppy that may or may not be at least partially Pomeranian. He claims the ad he saw said "Pom", but it doesn't really look 100% like my other Pom.

    GAH! A puppy!?!? Just when I thought I was done potty-training fur-babies, here's another one ... and I can't even figure out what to name this one, so I'm still calling him "Puppy" ... 5 days later. But he's soooo CUTE!

    I need help. lol

  14. Way to see the silver lining! I talked my husband into a puppy when we thought we were done having babies... Then we had one more human. Now I'm thinking pup needs a friend. I think it's a scary cycle that could go on until you wind up with a show on tlc!

  15. My 19-m-o constantly yells DOGGIE on the street and loses her schmidt each time a dog licks her face. She wants a dog more than my pregnant ass wants chocolate cake with white icing. I still have to stand strong though, because a cat, toddler, husband, puppy and new baby are just more than my pea-sized brain can handle right now. That is, unless an English bully got dropped off on my porch and her name was Beatrice. Then all bets are off.


  16. HAHAHAHAHA I love it! Labragoat, that's AMAZING. I'm glad your puppy is working out, now I'm going to make my husband read this because I've been working on convincing him to let me get another dog... LOL

  17. I have a 3 year old labragoat and his favorite food is butter. At Christmas, when I was baking, I put a pound of butter, still in the box, on my counter to soften. He ate the whole thing, box and all. He has a beautifully shiny coat, though.

    And you better stop with the 'another human' thing, in my house the thought itself is almost enough to cause the pregnancy.

  18. You know what's better than getting a dog? Nearby Grandma and Grandpa having dogs! Now we can get our dog fix whenever we want and those cute puppies are not my problem...! We get fun time with no chewed stuff, constant feeding, poop, pee, or vomit.

    I guess that's how they feel about my kids, huh.

  19. Labragoat-trained humans = AWESOME and I laughed out loud. All by myself in a house with no other people in it. LOUD.

  20. Babies.... you want more baaaabiieeeees........

  21. I can relate to this post sooo much! I am a mom of two kids (10 and 5) and run a daycare out of my home with kids ranging from 5 months to 11 years. Like I need a furkin' DOG?! My kids and hubby bullied me into an 8 wk old puppy last week-- I love your descriptions of puppy-ownerdom: the 6 am whiz *spot on* the lego mini-figs *ayup!* cats sooooo NOT happy with the new addition, but concede to sleep in the same room *so cute* the kids learning to pick their stuff up off the floor or risk never seeing it again *polly pocket hasn't seen the floor in a week* falling butt crazy in love with the little fur ball despite not wanting one *head over heels* <3 thanks for sharing. Glad I'm not in puppyville alone!

  22. Maybe I should get my fiance to read this. We have a baby (4 months but oddly well behaved thank Maude)and have been circling around adopting a dog. Hmm...

  23. This is the first time I have officially and uncontrollably snorted in laughter. It was a long snort, too. I'm so not a dog person, but you might have even convinced me they're okay (if I wasn't allergic - our only pets are outdoor cats, because they eat the voles).

  24. 3 days after our eldest dog passed on, my husband text messages me a video of our daughter (27 months) asking for a puppy.
    That night, we had a puppy.
    I too was in the midst of potty learning with my tot and now I had to deal with a pup so I feel for you.

  25. Hysterically funny. We have had a puppy two weeks and I will swear to all in the household who claim to love him that I "like him" but just aren't there yet. Of course that's because I have cleaned poop of the carpets and been up every morning since his arrival by 7 when the kids could easily sleep until 10!




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