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the back story

“We’re dog people.”

Some people are truckers, MMA fans and La Traviata lovers. Others are quilters, Bonsai growers, Dallas Cowboy fans and Jersey Shore enthusiasts. We’re none of those.

No, according to my wife (MW), we’re dog people. All evidence since the Clinton Presidency to the contrary, of course. Here is that evidence. (I think it would stand up to even aggressive cross examination in court).

11 Years and Counting

Our great dane Miss Stitches died at the age of 11 in May 1999. It is now early 2011. We finally donated her feeding stand two years to the local Humane Shelter. Her toys, leashes and other possessions have similarly disappeared from the garage. They’ve never been replaced. We haven’t owned a dog of any kind since 1999.

Since then, we’ve not purchased any kind of dog memorabilia. No statues of awkwardly posed retrievers or coffee mugs with a one color Irish wolfhound image. Nothing. Every December, we ignore photos of terriers and shelties when selecting a calendar for the coming New Year. MW usually picks something with flowers. She insists we’re dog people.

Dog Free and Lovin’ It

Despite this insistence on (what freely independent observers might concur) is a shaky and unsubstantiated identity as dog people, we’ve spent the past decade raising our daughter (OD) in a dog-free home.

  • Was there something missing during those years?
  • Did I miss getting up 20 minutes after I fell asleep each night to let Miss Stitches out for potty?
  • Did I miss picking up four month-old, thawing poop in March as another winter faded into history?
  • Did I miss paying the veterinary chiropractic bills as she fought aging and physical decline? Not really.
  • Did I miss her after her GI track burst and she went from an apparently healthy old dog to a still fawn-colored mass in five hours? Absolutely – more than you can imagine.

Yet, we moved on, never once buying a onesie or tshirt for OD with a german shepherd posed on the front? Not once.

Dog Free and Carefree

We raised OD and took her to sporting events that became further and further away as she played at ever more competitive levels. I enjoyed the freedom of not having to promptly return home to a dog with an uncomfortably stretched bladder. Sure, we visited the local dog park. It is a corner of one of the largest parks in our city so you always come across dogs there. Lots of them. All shapes and sizes and fashion sense (both the animals and their owners).

We’ve happily lived beside people with dogs. Of the five houses on our side of the street, ours is the only one bereft of a dog. We pet our four-legged neighbors whenever we see them. We’ve had intermittent communication with various rescue organizations. Our family unit, though, has remained a party of three.

A Brazen Conspiracy

Our lives could have most assuredly continued sans dog. But something happened. A serious disturbance in the Force, as it were. In the last year, MW realized that she could no longer continue describing us as dog people unless we acquired one. She enlisted accomplices. They conspired. They acted.

We attended the local dog show in November. I fought back with thoughtful and well-reasoned arguments. The pressure rose. We visited a local breeder. Books with ominous titles like “Puppy’s First Steps“ were leant and remained for weeks on our kitchen table. The pressure mounted. Grandparents and friends who call you on Sunday mornings were recruited.

Global Coercion

I countered in vain with ever more thoughtful reasoning. Phone calls were received from foreign countries. The dike broke. I caved. We visited another breeder. We ordered a puppy. Puppy arrives in a week.

This is our future. A story of not inconsiderable (and previously avoidable) expense, muddy paws, potty accidents, headless teddy bears, broken lamps, and a replacement sofa likely in 2013. Perhaps some Girl Dogs in Obedience Training Gone Wild tales, too.

No Longer Dog Free

This is our present; a 15lb bundle with floppy ears arrives next week. When she arrives, MW will finally have the chance to finally show the world that we are dog people who are actually dog owners.

Bring it on.


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