So, if your brain isn’t fried enough from constantly losing brain cells over your children’s shenanigans, if you aren’t stressed out enough about all you need to do or your children haven’t destroyed enough of your home, you could do what my husband and I did. Go get a dog! In fact, be a total moron and get two!
In our defense, we got our first dog when our oldest was two. You know, when we thought we were experts on the parenting thing and thought we could handle a dog. It was before the oldest experienced what we affectionately refer to as “the insanity years”, otherwise known as ages 3, 4 and 5. Basically, from the day he turned three to the day he turned six, he was a nightmare of temper tantrums and negativity. The dog went through the a similar period (albeit shorter) where she knocked over the garbage and peed on every soft surface imaginable including throw rugs and mattresses.
Both child and dog emerged from their toddler-hood rather quickly and we considered ourselves relatively unscathed. After all, we only went through, uh, three, four rugs at the most. And a mattress. And a few gray hairs. Both dog and child looked absolutely adorable curled up on the couch together so we looked at each other and sighed, thinking sure, we could handle this again. We are so friggin’ naive.
When the second child was so, so, so much more difficult and headstrong than the first, that should have been the tip off…a second dog is NOT a good idea. STOP when you are ahead. But, we must be brain damaged because we never learn from our mistakes. We have amnesia about the misery we experience in the past. We got another damn dog.
However, we are not totally to blame because the second dog wasn’t actually our idea. It was the kids’ idea. Yeah, yeah, if the kids wanted us to jump off a bridge, would we do it? Maybe…depends on how much they pissed us off that day.
The bid for the puppy started when their bedtimes got closer together. If that doesn’t make sense, allow me to explain.
Dog #1 would always accompany the littlest one to bed and when she fell asleep, Dog would head on up to the older one’s bed. That worked for quite a few years until their bedtimes were only a half hour apart. The little one would procrastinate so much that her bedtime would overlap the older one’s. Crying, screaming and general fur flying would usually result. The kids would literally wrestle on the stairs for possession of the dog. The dog got very nervous about the upset to her routine and the possibility of someone getting hurt, so she would cower in the corner whimpering when the 8:00 hour arrived.
After a few months of this, it got really old. That’s when the kids introduced the idea of a second dog. Their logic was, two kids, two dogs. one for each.
At first, the hubby swore up and down that we would get a second dog over his dead body ( he’s still alive and breathing by the way). But the little buggers were persistent and they could see he was getting beaten down by the nightly antics.
We started swinging by the pet stores, “just to check things out”. Yeah, I know there’s pets in shelters and all that, but we were very vulnerable. Our kids were mauling each other every evening and our dog needed anti-depressants and therapy. Cut me some slack, ok?
And that’s where we found the adorable, emaciated black German Shepherd puppy later to be known as Dog #2. With his pathetic chocolate brown puppy dog eyes, he weaseled his way into our hearts the same way he would weasel his way into our couch, bed, chair or anything else we wanted to sit, recline or sleep on.
At first, he was very timid. He was scared of his own shadow and petrified of the other dog who was, for the only point in time, bigger than him. (Thanks to Purina and a steady diet of table scraps he has managed to quadruple her weight).
The stairs terrified him and I ended up carrying a trembling, bony puppy up and down to do his business at least fifty times a day. That’s not to say he never pooped or peed inside. He did that MOST of the time. The outdoors was just a change of scenery and a chance to eat grass. For three months, even after he mastered the evil steps, he pretty much just let loose anywhere in the house. I was on my hands and knees more than Cinderella.
Oh, and guess what? He had no interest in sleeping on the bed or in the rooms of either child. He only wanted to be up Mommy’s butt. He followed me night and day, nose up my rear end, tripping me when I walked, lying on me while I slept. Making my comforter furry and smelling like wet dog.
Now I had crying children AND a new “baby”. The dog that was supposed to afford me some sanity and relief was actually making more work for me and not doing his job. The scared puppy bullshit was obviously a ruse.
So we took him to obedience school. And lo and behold, he stopped peeing in every square inch of grout on the kitchen tile. He stopped crapping next to the food dish and on the living rug. For a brief moment, we were ecstatic, high-fiving each other for surviving his puppy toddler-hood and on to better days.
For about three days. To celebrate his “graduation” as valedictorian from his puppy class, I purchased him his very own bed, hoping he would sleep in that instead of cutting off the circulation to my lower extremities every night. His trainer was on line behind me at the store and she said, “oh I hope he doesn’t chew that!”. I laughed at her. “Him? He doesn’t chew!”
Famous. Last. Words.
In two days he had eaten the entire pet bed. I woke up to a rainstorm of foam flying through the air. Less than a week later, he moved on to the couch. He ate holes so large in the couch cushions, my 250 lb husband could comfortably rest his butt in them. The dog constantly pooped out the foam the cushions were made of, causing the children to go on strike from doggie poop cleaning duty. (Permanently, I might add).
Next, the precious pup moved on to comforters and blankets. He found he had an affinity for NEW comforters as opposed to older, 10 year old comforters. The same with pillows. He ate shoes, preferring female shoes to male shoes, but would munch on my husband’s shoes in a pinch. He ate socks and tee shirts. He strategically removed the stuffing from my daughter’s Build a Bear collection with the skill of a surgeon. You never even knew the stuffing was gone until you picked up the limp rag of a bear.
We started locking him out of the house and trying to get him to spend time in the backyard, thinking he could expend energy and maybe be too tired to eat our furniture.
Nope. He showed us up by eating the siding off our house. Yes. He ATE the siding. That was after he ate the deck. I think that’s when we threw our hands up in the air and gave up.
At this point, he is well over two years old and the chewing has not stopped. It hasn’t even halted. The sprays didn’t work, the crate didn’t work. In fact, if you blink, he’ll chew something of yours. We are at our wits end with our “third child”…the one WE didn’t even want to begin with.
But yet, he stays…all because despite his destruction and mayhem, he melts my heart with his puppy dog eyes…the ones that won us over in the first place. And because we know deep down, he is so dumb he can’t help it.