Our hypothetical children are polite and well spoken. In public, they are quiet; keep their hands to themselves and are only amusing on purpose. They never cry or beg for toys or junk food. They never ever whine, scream or throw temper tantrums. If our perfect hypothetical children did any of those awful things, one evil eye look would be enough to stop their behavior. We never take them to parties unless they are specifically invited. And when they are invited, all the people at the party make a point to tell us how lovely our children are. At home, they stay in their rooms and read quietly by themselves or play together in cute ways that inspire funny stories we could tell at work. They pick up all their toys without us having to ask and do chores around the house with a smile. And our dear hypothetical children are always clean and smell delicious. They never ever have that funky dank smell of dirt and unquestionable bathroom habits because our hypothetical children are perfect.
But we don’t have children, hypothetical or otherwise.
We have a dog. And our 80lbs dog, Tigger the Dog, has blown our hypothetical parenting out the window.
TTD is whiny and rude. She is messy and clumsy. She likes to rub against my leg when I’m wearing black pants leaving a trail of her blonde hairs. Or she sticks her nose in my crotch, usually when there’s company I’m trying to impress. She never cleans up after herself. There are toys all over the house and stray balls all over the yard. She can clear a low table with her tail and a room with her gas and she doesn’t care one bit when we jump and yell about it. Our evil eye look doesn’t work on her; she just gives us the droopy sad eye and then rolls over for a tummy rub.
She’s super annoying with her need to go out at midnight and again at six am and need us to watch her outside while she pees in the dark cold rain. When she's back inside, her muddy footprints all over the room, the only thanks we get from opening the door and keeping her company is a loud whiny demand for a treat. And, as I'd mentioned before, not once has she used the nice gravel floor bathroom I set up for her. Apparently, that is because she likes to lie in the grass and roll herself about in the sections she’s peed and pooped in. It contributes to her very special scent, eau de s**t - a literal eau de toilette.
To add to that image, our dear TTD likes to lick herself - very loudly - usually when we’re trying to go to sleep. There is nothing less soothing than the slurping and lapping of a dog’s tongue to send you off into a funky dreamland. TTD also has the uncanny ability to start squeaking her ‘babies’ right at the climax of any TV show we're watching. For all we know, most murder mysteries end like this, “The murderer is …squeaky squeaky squeak.”
All of this would be fine – irritating, exasperating, frustrating, annoying but fine – if it weren’t for the following me around.
I go to the kitchen, and she’s right behind me. I go the bedroom, and she’s right behind me. I go to the bathroom, and she’s right there waiting on the other side of the door. Sometimes I try messing with her, moving in one direction and quickly stopping and heading in another. But she’s quick. She follows, bumping her nose into my crotch for good measure. If I get frustrated and yell at her to stop following me, she doesn’t. She’ll just add pacing to her following and do steps in double time. It’s very stressful – for us both.
When she adds her awful high pitch whining to her lovely habit of following, I start wishing for a hypothetical dog. A small quiet one that just sits and watches me but never makes a sound.
But that would make her a cat.