What is it about having children that makes you hate your pet?
It’s so sad. And it is incredibly unfair.
But many days, I want to open the front door, hand my dog a bindle of bones and send her on her way.
Before the kids came along, Mona was loved like she was our child. We took walks every day. She was spoiled with toys and treats. She got so many belly rubs that her stomach had a bald spot.
We used to think her howling was cute. We used to tell her she was a brave dog when she chased after squirrels in the park. We used to pick up after her mess in the yard and feel like responsible dog owners. We used to celebrate her barking at strangers when they knocked at the door.
But now …
Now when she barks, I shush her so harshly her ears flop back.
Now when the dog gets belly rubs – which is rarely – I roll my eyes because the hair flies off her and clogs our vents, gets ingrained in the carpet and seriously creates a puppy-hair rug on our hardwood floors.
Now when she goes to the bathroom, I curse as I clean it up and think, “What, changing dirty diapers all day isn’t bad enough? I’m also cleaning up after a friggin’ animal?”
Now when she chases after squirrels, I drop her leash and part of me hopes she never comes back.
I know how all this sounds. I don’t mistreat the dog. I mean, I still feed her and pet her, and I don’t deny her the heartworm medicine or anything.
It’s just different now. In the past three years, she has fallen several pegs down the totem pole.
Pets become a part of your family, it’s true. I just feel that our dog is now the scapegoat, the black sheep, the Jan Brady.
When Mona met the new baby, she wagged her tail and kissed her, but I think it was all for show. Deep down, she knows another baby means one more mouth that gets fed before hers, one more creature around whom we tiptoe, one more belly we rub before hers.
So how is she handling the stress? Well, she ate part of the carpet in our loft. In the past, I’d get upset but ultimately feel bad for her and snuggle and console her. Yet when I discovered what she did this time, I told my husband to put her in the back of the car, because she and I were going for a ride.
As I look at her now, stretched out peacefully on the family room floor, not asking for anything but to be loved, my heart hurts for her. It’s not her fault we had kids. She has done her best to adjust to two new members of the pack.
I just … I just feel she could do better. Stop barking. Stop shedding the hair. Stop looking at me with sad puppy eyes. Stop being a dog and just become a human baby.
Then I could put her in diapers. Much better than scouring our yard looking for her droppings.
|She really is a good pup. Loves the kids. Loves us. But loves to drive me crazy.|