Wednesday, May 13, 2015

On My Kid and Dogs

My mom and stepdad are thinking about taking custody of my youngest brother’s new puppy.

Why does brother M not want to retain custody of said puppy? Because, according to my mom, puppy is too mellow.


M wants a dog that will play, will be a bit growly and maybe even aggressive. Sure, M wants a dog who recognized that M is the head of the pack but he likes his dogs to show spunk, if you will. He wants them smart enough to learn manners but also tough enough to push the boundaries of those manners.

I guess the new puppy just wants to love and be loved.

Have I mentioned at any point in my many years of oversharing that Olivia doesn’t like dogs? I have? Oh, good. Let me say it again. She doesn’t like dogs. She doesn’t like cats either and any other creature with fur or feather or fins can go suck it as far as she’s concerned. She doesn’t like animals because they’re unpredictable. They sniff and they jump and they lick and they bark (or tweet or meow) and she’s afraid of that unpredictability.

One thing (of many, of course) that I love about my oldest stepson is that even though he had three big dogs living in his house he always puts them out in the barn when we come visit. He doesn’t assure Olivia, “They’re nice dogs, they won’t hurt you, don’t be scared.”

No, he just puts them away because he gets that his little sister is scared of them and he doesn’t expect to be able to logic her out of that fear. He respects her fear and just puts his dogs where she doesn’t have to see or hear them while she’s there. I can’t tell you how much that endears me to my stepson. My husband has great kids (all five of them.) I’ve always known this but the way J respects O’s fears and doesn’t try to ‘fix’ them by forcing her to face his dogs is just so sweet and show an amazing amount of kindness.

Back to my mom and my brother’s dog…my stepdad is the one who really wants M’s dog. He swears that if they do take the dog, he’ll (the dog, not my stepdad) will be put into another room whenever O visits.

Okay. Well, I appreciate that they’re going to be as considerate as J is but then I’m reminded that we go to J’s house maybe twice a year. Not a big deal to put your dogs in the barn twice a year for your little sister.

We go to my mom’s house at least once a week. Is it fair to the dog to be locked up each time we visit?

I suppose it’s not that big a deal. Olivia loves my mom’s sunroom, if we’re out there, their dog could have free run of the rest of the house, so…yeah, it’ll be okay.

And I’m not suggesting that my mom and stepdad base their decision to get a pet on my or my daughter’s wishes. If the dog is as mellow as they say, he will probably just lay around and ignore Olivia anyway, which is what their cat does and O’s perfectly happy with that.

And for the record, there will be no dogs entering our house anytime in the near or far future. Even if Olivia weren’t terrified of them, I find dogs to be way too much work to ever invite one into my family. Again, that’s just me. I’m glad there are people out there with the patience and energy to care for them. I just know my limits and our cat and his litter box (which lives in the barn) is at the top of my limit for commitment of time and energy to someone who is not human.

Some days the fish even feels like too much of a time suck, what with the three seconds it takes to feed him every single day and the fifteen minutes every two weeks it takes to clean his bowl.

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