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the 4 scariest words in the english language

07 March 2011

Depending where you sit in the world, some words are scarier than others. Here are a few that some of your neighbors may find terrifying:

  • Ozone hole
  • Prostate exam
  • Gas $5 a gallon
  • The IRS just called
  • President Sarah Palin
  • Governor Gavin Newsom
  • I thought she was on the pill

One’s definition of “terrify” changes, though, when you’re sharing your house with a puppy.

Almost two full months into Life With Luna, the four scariest words in the English language are unquestionably “Where is the dog?”

Variations are “Have you seen Luna?” and “Where’s Luna?”

When Terror Resides in Your Home

If you’ve raised a child from infancy to at least t-ball, you’re familiar with the fear that instantly materializes if you’re outside, say, shopping at a mall, and you lose sight of your kid. It’s End of the World terror. The Day After meets Independence Day with a little John Cusack screaming in 2012.

This describes the urgency that materializes if we’re in the home office or watching a movie in the living room and realize that Luna has gone adventuring.

Edvard Munch: The Scream (1893)

the feeling after discovering that your puppy is somewhere alone in your house

Adventure Means Mischief

Adventure to our young dog means finding stuff and putting it in her mouth or wrapping her paws around it. The stuff can be stationary or mobile, doesn’t matter.

Whether it’s nailed, screwed down, propping open a door, even airborne, Luna tries to give it a molar massage. Country of manufacturing origin doesn’t matter, either. She’s equal opportunity, whether the item was produced in Shenzhen, China; Providence, RI; Cork, Ireland; or Quito, Ecuador.

When Luna goes missing, bad stuff usually happens. Unless we find her before it starts. She will find parts of our house, or she will find objects within. Given enough time, she will try to disassemble, crush or swallow them. That’s why prevention is critical.

Ounces and Ounces of Prevention

The price of freedom is eternal vigilance.”

Often attributed to Thomas Jefferson and Irish politician John Philpot Curran, this phrase essentially means that if you go through life sufficiently paranoid, you can ensure good things continue or prevent bad things from occurring. Definitely worthwhile if you’ve got a puppy.

Replace “freedom” with “a clean house” and it sums up life with a young dog.

This is how we prevent the preventable so we can keep our flooring mostly unmarked, walls unscratched, table legs unscathed, and maintain whatever equity we have in this place.

The Price of a Clean House

We watch Luna closely. We close doors. We install a plastic temp gate every morning at the bottom of the stairs. We empty waste baskets every day. We put shoes away. We keep pretty much keep everything of value behind closed door or way, way up in the air.

You should, too, if you want to live without the fear generated by wondering where your wandering puppy may be, and what he/she is getting into. But you have to be willing to take from Mssrs. Jefferson and Curran. Repeat after me:

The price of a clean house is eternal vigilance.”

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