... I'm OUT! Let me preface this by saying, even if I really didn't want children, I'm trapped into birthing or somehow acquiring at least one. Since my brother married first and declared very adamantly his plan to remain childless, I am left with the responsibility of providing my parents at least one grandchild to love, squeeze, spoil and load up on sugary treats before returning them to me. And as much as they love and adore all of their grandpuppies (5 total, plus the late Diesel - rest his soul), I've been informed this is no substitute for the actual human variety offspring. (Really, I don't see what the big deal is... Nugget has my eyes and Oscar... well, he's the red-headed stepchild, but we love him just the same).
First, I cannot imagine loving anything or anyone as much as I love my dogs. This is different, of course, from the way you love your parents or siblings or spouse or friends. It's a motherly love. I am elated when they learn new tricks; excited to see them every morning when I wake up and every evening after work. I tuck them in to bed. I laugh at the silly things they do. I cry when they are sick or hurt. I brag on them incessantly. I have more pictures of them on my desk than I have of B. Yes, it is true love... and a mostly rewarding relationship!
The delight of puppy parenting, however, does not come without its challenges. Let me paint it for you this way - I'll walk you through a typical day:
6am: Oscar is up - a full 90 minutes before we usually get up because he doesn't understand this "fall back" concept. In his mind, he's wondering why mom is sleeping so late! At 6am, it's COLD and dark. I have little patience for dilly-dallying when we're attending to morning "business". Look buddy, it's the same grass you've been going in for the last 10 months... nothing has changed, I promise!
6:15: I try to coax them into going back to sleep for even just 45 minutes. But Oscar insists it's breakfast time. Ok, I cave and they get their kibble early.
6:20: I'm trying to go back to sleep, but keep being rudely awoken by the sound of Nugget and Oscar romping in the next room. It's a sound I imagine is similar to what would be heard in the wild between two mountain lions fighting over a fresh, juicy carcass. Going back to sleep at this point is a lost cause. In fact, the entire county might be awake now since Nugget has the bark that can be "heard around the world".
7:30: I get out of the shower to see a fresh puddle of urine on the carpet in my bedroom. This is what happens when we get up, go potty, and eat breakfast too early. Granted, Oscar was a potty training nightmare. But until the time change, he had been accident-free for weeks! So I clean up the mess and he, of course, shows no remorse.
8:15: Everyone gets a treat, Oscar goes in his crate and I'm out the door for work.
1pm: I swing by over lunch to say hi and give them a quick potty break - even though the dog walker is coming by in 2 hours. We all play and give loves. Biscuits and water is distributed and I'm gone again.
5:15: I get home and the note from the dog walker says everyone did all their business on the walk. Perfect. Theoretically, no one should have to poo on the short, after work walk. So we make it quick and then everyone gets dinner.
5:30: Finally I get to start unwinding from my day. Except I emerge from my bathroom, into the kitchen in my bare feet, and step right onto something warm and squishy. On my BRAND NEW rug!! Smells like Oscar. Oscar is also eating it. Super. Now I'm thinking the dog walker coming in the middle of the day has really thrown off his schedule.
5:45 I'm just finishing scrubbing my NEW rug and sanitizing my own feet when I walk around the corner to find Oscar with his (previously VERY full) water bowl in his teeth. Water everywhere. This confirms my decision to buy stock in Bounty paper towels. I made the executive decision that it's time for a trip to Petco. These dogs clearly need something to entertain them... besides tipping water bowls and removing my towels from the kitchen repeatedly.
7pm: Back from Petco and everyone has a new bone. I don't hear another peep out of them for the rest of the night! Worked like a charm, except now I've began the downward spiral of "buying" good behavior. Is this the dog equivalent of sitting your children in front of a video game to shut them up for the night? Must be... because it worked.
10pm: Bedtime is another ordeal. Why is it such a surprise to everyone that when the lights go out, I expect you to lay down and be quiet? GO TO SLEEP! Or don't - that's your prerogative. But I want to sleep, so stare at the wall, tell yourself a story (quietly), but don't chew on your brother's ears or lick his face or bite his tail! (See morning commentary regarding mountain lion fight).
And at 6am, it starts all over again.
In reality, I know babies really are a whole lot more work. But eventually, they learn to communicate their needs, wants, feelings, etc in actual words. And they'll eventually learn to clean up after themselves. (Whether they chose to do it is another story). "Woof!" could be 3,726 different things!! And it never gets any clearer. No matter how many books I read them, these dogs still will not talk. Though at this point, I'd be very disappointed if they don't at least know how to read.
They sure keep my life interesting! And as soon as I walk in the door, it doesn't matter how awful or boring my day has been to that point, I can count on them to turn it around. Perhaps someday I'll get on board with the human baby thing, but I'm pretty content with my canine kids for now.