Recently I broke down and agreed to get the family a poopy, I mean puppy. She's a cute little thing that I actually got to name this time (Gabby), but I feel a little like Nostradamus because the things that made me not want to get a puppy in the first place are coming to pass. I realized that I had accurately predicted how all of this would go down while standing in the yard at 1:20 in the morning waiting for Gabby to do her business.
Puppies are poo factories; their waste to weight ratio is astounding and most days it seems like they poop in excess of their own body weight. Teaching them to poo where they're supposed to is not something that I have ever had on my bucket list, and cleaning up when they miss the target is no fun either.
I believe that if you get a pet though, or have one thrust upon you, you're obligated to take care of it like it's one of the family. I don't like to see people go get a dog only to chain it to a tree and never give it any attention. I want to take people like that and chain them to a tree to see how well they like it.
Someone once told me a story about a guy who chained their dog to a tree like that. When the dog came up pregnant and they were asked what they were going to do about the puppies the guy told him that he guessed he was going to have to plant more trees.
Perhaps the worst part of the new puppy experience, and I'm not sure that any degree of hell is better or worse than the other, is crate training them. I'm a guy who likes my sleep, and hearing a puppy screaming its head off all night isn't much fun. One night Gabby screamed for about 15 minutes and then stopped. "She's fallen asleep", I thought to myself, but of course that wasn't it, she was just taking a short break to catch her breath, and in short order the cacophony began anew. There is no sound as horrible as the screams of a puppy.
Having a puppy is like having my daughter's boyfriend over; I have to stay vigilant and can't let my guard down for even a moment. It really does wear a person out. The boyfriend is only here for a couple of hours, puppies are forever.
This summer I have a couple of sprained ankles to look forward to when I step in the holes that she will dig. I will dirty my shoes at least a dozen times, and there's no telling what I will find chewed to pieces; last time we had a dog it chewed the wood around our deck.
I guess I'm really not a pet kind of guy; I like animals, but I like them when they belong to someone else. If there was such thing as a dog rental I might pick one up for a couple of hours occasionally to go hiking with, but beyond that I'm not really interested in having one of my own. Of course it's kind of like I have a rent-a-dog anyway; it's the family dog unless it's 1 AM and then it's my dog. I know a guy who takes care of his neighbors dog; he feeds it and even has a doghouse for it. To me that is the perfect arrangement.
My wife keeps telling me that I need to bond with Gabby, but if going out with her at 1 or 2 in the morning isn't bonding, I don't know what is. I'm sure that there will come a time when the annoyances start to decrease and I'll start to warm up to the idea of being a dog owner, but before that days comes there are a lot of things to be chewed, ankles to be sprained, and shoes to be washed. She is cute though.