I recently watched a television program called The Secret Life of the Dog that described dogs as parasites to the human race. At first, I laughed. Then I began to wonder.
My dogs are time consuming. They can be a hindrance and an annoyance. At times, they are out right disgusting. Earlier this evening, one of my cats came out into the kitchen and barfed. Without waiting for him to finish, three dogs raced over to see who could reach it first.
Before I could shriek “Leave-it,” the still steaming pile had vanished.
One of my companions considers dog poop a delicacy. Another of them has an infatuation with dead earthworms. All three of them pine for the ‘discoveries’ that can be made inside the cats’ litter box.
Rain, sleet, or snow – we’re outside with them at least four times per day, either taking them for walks, waiting for them to relieve themselves, training them, or exercising them through play. One of them needs to be on a leash at all times because any loud sound might cause her to scramble over our six foot fence. Another one of them sometimes needs to be leashed because he thinks it’s fun to ignore us when it’s time to come in, often dancing just out of our reach, with a lolling tongue, wagging tail, and a wide grin upon his face. However, if we take this same dog outside just before mealtimes, he returns to the door before the others even finish their tinkles.
The meals themselves are even more exhausting.
First we must feed the cats in our office, shooing the dogs out and then securing the door with a coat hanger contraption over the knob. The dogs always check to see if we forgot. Next we usher the dogs to their respective meal spots and instruct them to “Stay.” One of them needs to be reminded several times. Since each of them is on various medications and supplements, the preparation is akin to a science experiment. Finally, after everything is set up and the dogs are sitting in their spots, drooling, we serenade them with a firework desensitization CD. Thanks to this, one of us needs to watch over them while they eat, remote control in hand, gauging the results which we will later log – the goal being “No reaction.”
Added to the amount of time invested in them each day, they require weekly grooming sessions, periodic vet care, and each of them is taken to training classes as often as possible. Once everyone is walked, exercised, schooled, and fed, and we humans long to just sit and relax, at any moment one of them might spring to their feet, barking, causing the rest of the pack to join in. Often, we never determine the trigger, and sometimes wonder if they do it for their own amusement, or possibly to intentionally aggravate us.
“Ha! Ha! We got the people to look away from their book, computer, or television screen.”
Thanks to our dogs, we can’t leave the house for more than eight hours at a clip, preferably no more than six. Currently, we are attempting to schedule a vacation this fall. Why the early planning? Along with choosing a date that works for both of our jobs, it needs to work for the three separate places we are leaving the dogs, and the cat sitter too.
So if dogs are so much trouble, and possibly parasites, what is it about them that entices us to spend small fortunes on food, toys, beds, training, and health care? Why do we allow them to share our homes, and worm their way into our hearts?
I haven’t a clue. However, whenever one of ours is causing us grief, Nick is often heard saying, “You’re lucky you’re cute.” Maybe he’s on to something. After all, would one dote so much on a less endearing creature, let’s say an Aye-aye? I think not.