The children have been asking for a dog.
I get it. I always wanted a dog as a kid, but we never had one. Instead, we had a large affectionless cat—Sweetie. Sweetie was not particularly sweet, but we loved him dearly in spite of it. My mom said Sweetie was aloof because my dad didn’t like him, but I think he was that way because, you know, cats. Also, when Sweetie died at age 14, my dad handcrafted a tiny cat casket and buried him in our backyard, so. He might have liked the cat a little bit.
It wasn’t until my younger brother and I moved out that my parents finally got a dog. They’re now on their second black lab mix, and they’re 100 percent dog people, the kind who take their dog to the drive through for a hamburger. Their dog is easygoing, lazes around and doesn’t jump on people. She used to eat shoes and carpet, and at one time she would jump over the fence and sprint toward the highway, but she’s outgrown those habits. See, piece of cake. We should get a dog, but not until our youngest is potty-trained, and not until we move into a larger house, I said, unable to imagine a future where either of those things happened.
They did happen, though.
“Can we get a dog? Can we get a dog? Luke goes in the potty now! Can we get a dog!” The kids want to know. They want a fun pet they can love, one that doesn’t run from them and hide in the closet all the livelong day, like our 13-year-old cat does. (Poor cat is still upset about the children arriving.)
So we applied to some local rescue organizations, and we’ve had a couple home visits. Now we’re waiting. Our preference is for a big, lazy dog who doesn’t chew things or run off and is already potty trained, and not too old because it’s sad when pets die. Also, no yappy dogs or weird terrier dogs with beards. Must be cat-friendly, and lastly, no dog that requires a sweater. Just, no. Bonus points for a working dog, and by working, I mean a dog that can nanny small children.
If anyone knows of such a dog…? That would be great. And look, we’re reasonable, we’ll compromise on the nanny thing, just not on the beards.
(Betsy Swenson can be reached at email@example.com.)